Good news! (Or is it?) Alien aficionados won’t have to wait until May to watch crew members of a spaceship fight a fuming, freakish creature determined to kill anything that looks human, as Life, coming out this Friday, will unashamedly surf on the very same theme.
Directed by Daniel Espinosa (Easy Money, Safe House) and written by the men behind the script of Deadpool, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the sci-fi movie introduces Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rebecca Ferguson, Olga Dihovichnaya, and Ariyon Bakare as a team of scientists who discover a rapidly evolving life form that caused extinction on Mars and now threatens the crew and all life on Earth.
So, despite the obvious similarities between the movie and Ridley Scott’s franchise, is it really worth purchasing a cinema ticket? Here’s an overview of what most of the critics are saying…
A sci-fi production that lacks originality
While every review points out its clear resemblance with Alien – especially only 2 months before the release of the sequel of the prequel of 1979 Alien (still following?), Alien: Covenant – Life, as ambitious as it is, simply doesn’t manage to come out as powerful. One critic says: “Just like with the Xenomorph in the original Alien, seeing the creature grow and evolve throughout the film is one of Life’s more memorable pleasures.” But also adds: “[The movie] can’t help but fall into the same genre cliches that have damaged past films like it.“
A surprisingly very balanced cast
Although one might think the best lines will be given to the most famous members of the cast, Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal, it turns out that all the actors in the film have equally important roles. In fact, “Life is noticeably different from its supposed inspirations and genre predecessors because it doesn’t really have a lead character.” A very important aspect of the movie that prevents the audience from being certain of the fate of the heroes, as viewers will be unable to figure out “who is going to make it to the end of the film.”
Two-third of the movie is smart, but the final act disappoints
The “third-act conceit only succeeds in replacing a creeping sense of tiredness with sentimentality,” says Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian. A thought shared by fellow reviewers who confirm that “although it’s unusually intelligent for so much of its running time […] the lame-brained last act comes as a real disappointment.” So, despite the film being “mostly-smart“, you might want to lower your expectations if you are anticipating a brilliant grand finale.
The characters make dumb choices, but it serves the story well
By allowing its characters to make stupid choices along the way – something that could have been considered a weakness in the script – the film eventually successfully demonstrates that life is not only about biology, but also survival, which efficiently boosts the suspense of the production. One of the critics sums up this well when he says: “The movie is better served by bad decisions. “Life’s” a thrill when it’s smart, but it’s even more exciting when the characters are dumb — which is ultimately a paradox the film wears proudly, to the possible extinction of the human race.” And while the movie “could have used a few more cathartic laughs,” (the writers who came up with the Deadpool jokes are behind the screenplay, after all) it actually “benefits from a certain seriousness of tone.”.
The best quotes from the reviews:
“The crew itself is international and diverse: their mission’s sponsors are described as “American, Russian and Chinese” although that might just be a description of the film’s target market territories.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
“Dumb astronauts vs space squid.” – Matt Goldberg, Collider
“Watch as two of Hollywood’s gleaming-est stars get top billing in what are basically supporting roles.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone