Life – Review by FattyCatOn March 24, 2017 by HungryOwl
Life, the Sci Fi film about an alien life-form that was found on Mars, and promptly terrorizes the crew of the International Space Station is…. dead on arrival! This film is basically ‘Alien’ and if you have seen this film (if not, why not, it is amazing) then you can give Life a miss. The plot is almost identical. I appreciate that there isn’t much you can do with the ‘alien life on a ship’ sub-genre, but Life is a pale comparison.
The story is limited at best. ISS find a organism from Mars and bring it aboard to study. (OK…so far so good) After a while it seems to wake up and show incredible intelligence and development. (Good good… this is a plot device…. it has promise…) And then it ‘dies’. (What?) Yes, the organism they bring back from Mars seems to die. It is only after attempts to revive it with a cattle prod that it comes back to life, and takes the probing as hostile. It leaps and crushes the biologists hand and proceeds to break free of the chamber and wreak havoc.
After this it is your standard ‘monster/bogeyman/demon’ delete as applicable affair knocking off cast members one by one. I know this is standard for the genre, but it has been done so much better. John Carpenters, ‘The Thing’ is a classic example. The difference between Carpenter’s movie and Life, is that the Thing was scary because the alien could be anything, or anyone. Added to which, the claustrophobic nature of the location (the Antarctic) worked because it was so isolated. The International Space Station, surrounded by cutting edge technology isn’t half as bad.
Plus on a nostalgic note, the effects were all rubber suits and miniatures. It was what I refer to as the golden age of horror filmmaking. Now, effects are all too easily done in a computer and it shows.
The alien itself is lame. A gelatinous blob, that looks more at home in a tissue after someone has blown their nose, isn’t scary, or terrifying, or anything really. It slides and blobs around, growing more and more evolved, and consumes as much resource as it can. It reminds me a lot of someone I used to work with, they did nothing vaguely interesting or useful either, and just ate all the time, but I digress.
As for the crew these too are very ‘alien’ like. A team of scientists and technicians who are there simply to be cannon fodder for “Calvin” the alien, oh did I mention the alien is called Calvin? Really? It is hardly a terrifying name. Something like X467 would have been far more appealing, and mysterious.
The end comes with the plan for escape and to blast Calvin into deep space, which of course fails and Calvin ends up on Earth instead. I think the most scary part of this idea is that there will be a sequel, which means the terror of another two hours of my life will be wasted.
Do yourself a favor, re-watch the original Alien series with a takeaway, or wait for Alien Covenant. Even if Alien Covenant sucks (which I sincerely hope it doesn’t) a blank screen for two hours would be more exciting than Life.