Review: “Life” Injects Adrenaline Into Galactic Movie Genre


Courtesy of Sony Pictures

David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal) in Columbia Pictures’ LIFE.

Rebecca Boyajian

Attempting to satisfy an audience addicted to the theoretical and fabricated exploration of the galaxies, Director Daniel Espinosa animates Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s screenplay “Life,” an extraterrestrial horror film. “Life” buzzes with suspense and breathes a chillingly frightful air; however, the could-be blockbuster is shrinking in the shadow of  March’s monstrous money makers “Power Rangers” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

When a crew of scientists, Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds), David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson) amongst them,  set out to study a sample of soil extracted from planet Mars, things go awry quickly. Scientist Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) extracts a single cell organism from the soil sample and revives it, only to find the organism begins to grow at an alarming rate. The creature, which later gains the name Calvin, is thriving on oxygen.

Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds) in Columbia Pictures’ LIFE.

The scientists’ main objective throughout most of the film is staying alive  so they can prevent the monster from wiping out Earth’s population. Unfortunately the mighty alien, who is essentially composed of all brain, eye and stomach,  kills and consumes its way through many of the astronauts and is growing all the while.

Action and suspense is plentiful throughout the entire two hour duration and the movie  leaves off on a thrilling open ended conclusion.

“Life” isn’t exactly flourishing in the box office; however, if the film had been released in a month with a smaller movie line-up, its success likely would have been heightened, as it already has a $50 million worldwide revenue gain. The film was originally set to be released in May, but due to “Alien: Covenant” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” being released in the same month, the date was changed in attempts to avoid the three  films competing against each other.

“Life” successfully avoided competing against other May releases, but is now fighting for any revenue left over from “Beauty and The Beast” ($876 million), “ Power Rangers” ($97.8 million) and “Boss Baby”($108 million).

With the release of this repetitive space movie, which is heavily based on Alien (1979),  it’s become apparent there is a fine line between audience’s love of revisitation and intolerance for lack of originality in stand alones. While watching, it’s easy to pick up similarities between “Life” and other intergalactic flicks like “Alien” or “Gravity;” nonetheless,  the overpopulated space genre is causing an increased difficulty for anyone attempting an original galactic screenplay and the appearance of copycatting is understandable.

Whether “Life” should be escalated to the top of your movie theatre agenda is debatable; however, moviegoers who can withstand a few gory scenes or anyone who can recognize their favorite actor amongst the familiar cast should look no further than this action-packed  “Alien” influenced film.