“In space, no one can hear your plot retreads.”
Clever concept which settles for treading into very familiar territory. Which is too bad. This could have been a cult-classic a’la ‘Event Horizon’. Although, the payoff at the end is pretty awesome 😀
‘Life’ is a sci-fi horror movie that reminds us that some things are best left undiscovered. Like with the original Jurassic Park – splicing extinct genes with modern animal DNA and recreating Stegosaurus’ sounds like a wonderful idea! –unnntil the dinosaurs start eating people.
And as such, ‘Life’ starts off innocent enough. The opening shot is a beautiful 5-minute space montage reminiscent of (the far superior movie) ‘Gravity‘. We are introduced to the characters and the labyrinthine space station. And we learn that the members aboard the ISS are rescuing a probe carrying soil samples from Mars. Then we quickly learn that those samples contain LIFE – life found outside of Earth! – Martian life!
Annnnd, they proceed to bring it aboard the station. Everything starts off innocent enough and, damn if the little Martian bugger isn’t kinda cute – with its foreboding jellyfish flagella flapping around all curiously! Awwww! 🙂 😛 …
The crew announce its arrival via worldwide broadcast on social media, with much fanfare. Hell – they even name the alien ‘Calvin’.
Of course, from there, really bad shit happens.
Clearly, none of the crew has seen movies like Alien, the sequel Aliens, The Blob, The Thing, Prometheus, Jurassic Park, Gravity, or [pick a sci-fi horror’thriller]- and yet, early on, one crew member makes a nerd reference to the movie ‘The Re-animator’. Which lends itself to thinking ‘they DO exist in the world of what NOT to do in these situations‘.
If only they stuck with that train of thought…
But, this wouldn’t be much of a horror movie without checking off the List of Dumb Shit to Do in times of crisis. In fact, From watching so many horror movies with similar circumstances, I kinda knew how this would unfold.
BUT I will say this; Life starts off pretty unique. The first 30 minutes feel like something original and different. It is entirely possible that Life exists in the same ‘universe’ as Gravity. Maybe a later mission takes them back to space, and Sandra Bullock is the Ripley of the crew? I wanted to like this movie.
Unfortunately, the 2nd half of the movie nosedives into routine horror trope – and by the time the cuddly space spore grows full-sized, it becomes Alien meets Jaws.
Within days, the cute little E.T. goes from precocious alien to monstrous space demon – and even grows what looks like a face. Really.
While horror movies anymore are rarely original (save, Cabin in the Woods – awesomeness!) we go in knowing that what we really want is to see different ways to watch people die, Mwuahahaha! >:)
And trust me, this crew goes out in some gruesome ways! But…It’s really hard to enjoy horror movies with the inescapable thought that MOST of the carnage could simply be avoided altogether by just exercising a touch of Common Sense.
And yet… we wouldn’t get any dead bodies, now would we? 😉
So tossing out common sense in the face of the Unknown, here is my special review of Life – which contains a list of Do’s and Do Nots to survive in horrible situations. 🙂
- Make a movie which basically combined ‘Alien’ with ‘Gravity’. Hollywood, how lazy are we getting? I mean, Smh….
- Exercise more caution dealing with an unknown alien life!
Hell, I am more careful walking around on 6th Street at night…here in Austin, TX! Surely these astronauts can be a LOT more careful handling an alien bio-hazard.
- Play with the dormant alien and thaw it out! MAYBE it is frozen in stasis for good reason?? (see: John Carpenter’s ‘THE THING’. classic)
- Become fascinated with an alien life that evolves within a matter of DAYS. Does nobody exercise caution or skepticism? Security officer? BioEngineer?
- Explain why on Earth that poor rat was sitting there clamped down and helpless in a ‘Saw’-like head contraption! Really…What the shit. As soon as I saw the rat I was thinking “…..WHY?” Cruel and unusual punishment! What purpose did that serve? Obviously, it soon became alien stew. OBVIOUSLY.
- Name an alien spore ‘Calvin’. As a matter of fact – don’t name alien spore anything! Just, don’t.
- Notify the ENTIRE crew beforehand of All. Three. Levels. – of safety protocols which involves everyone’s lives! Especially one that includes blasting you all into deep space! Why would you keep that a secret??
- Provoke fate by …prodding it with a shock tool??? That doesn’t work well on HUMANS. Why do that on an? …eh, never mind. 😐
in the history of Bad Ideas…
- Feel free to react in utter and sheer TERROR when tiny alien manages to effortlessly rip scientist hand apart. These guys are acting way too cool for school as their colleague is getting dismembered by a tiny space germ named ‘Calvin’ lol! Again…How does Safety Protocol 1, 2 and 3 NOT go into effect IMMEDIATELY? And this is when the alien still fits on a petri dish! In fact…
- jettison that fucker into DEEP COLD SPACE as soon as it EATS THE RAT. I mean….??
- Be smarter than the fledgling life form. Sure, it is intelligent life, but only comparatively smart…the same way a 5yr is smarter than a 1yr. But it shouldn’t be able to out-smart and out-maneuver a space station full of trained astronauts WHO LIVED THERE for years. Really??
- try to kill a space alien with fire….INSIDE OF A space station. 😀 lord lord…. If you had to thaw it out to bring it to life in the first place – why not simply re-freeze it??
- Wait so long to notify NASA/Houston that you ‘have a problem‘…in fact, a SERIOUS problem of epic f*ckin’ proportions! How do you go hours (days?) without communicating with Earth? Only to realize at the worst possible time, ‘Oh drat, our comms are down‘ –
- Sacrifice yourself AND kill the alien by cutting the tether and jumping out into space, thus saving all of humanity.
I know…it sounds like I am nitpicking here. Or maybe I got too caught up in my role of Black guy at Horror Movie lol 😛 – but there was a wealth of ‘WHY’-moments when I caught myself thinking out loud (“Don’t open that door!”)…
seriously, do NOT open that door.
…about the amount of inane decisions made, which ultimately led to the possible demise of all of humankind on Earth.
“…this sounds illogical, but I really hate that thing” – said one very distraught astronaut. Which was probably the MOST logical thing said, but too late.
All in all, it wasn’t an entire waste of time. It’s fun watching A-list actors die horrifically lol and I enjoyed the first 1/3rd of the movie. The final 10 minutes are absolutely riveting and worth the payoff.
Everything in between, we’ve seen before and seen better.
– 3 out of 5 stars.