David Bowie once asked, “Is there life on Mars?” The new sci-fi movie Life provides an answer to that question. Sometimes a movie is just good even though it may have many shortcomings and themes that seem played out. You will eventually look past the fact it reminds you of another classic science fiction film in just about every way. Life will keep your attention and take you places that are very familiar and others you were not expecting. A crew on board the international space station captures a space probe returning from Mars. On this vessel they find the first evidence of extraterrestrial life. We are not alone. The crew begins to research their new find and things quickly get out of control. Yes, this a trapped in space with a monster film that borrows heavily from Alien, but the cast is excellent (Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson) and the action is intense so that kind of makes up for the one dimensional aspect you will feel wash over the film. What starts out as cute, with children on Earth via satellite naming the new being “Calvin,” rapidly develops into something sinister at light speed. You are having fun in space with Ryan Reynolds one moment and in the next you are cringing at a disturbing scene with Calvin, the alien from Mars, climbing into the lovable movie stars mouth.
I think you can figure out where the tale goes from this point. Life feels like an indie film that exceeds expectations and it just so happens to have some major league actors on board for the ride. I can see where audiences could be disappointed with this offering simply because of the familiar theme and it’s one dimensional tone. For me, it was enough of a good time to give it a positive review. Forget about all of the negatives and you will most likely find yourself thinking about the alien in the days that follow your trip to the theater.
Life is not groundbreaking but it is disturbing in a new way and very scary. Most people hope to one day find UFO’s and aliens just to know that there is life beyond Earth. Are we really alone in the universe? Life will leave you feeling like maybe it’s better that we don’t find out. Maybe we should just worry about what is happening on our own planet. What if the things we find are more intelligent and resilient than humans? That would not be good for us. The running time is on point and the ending is pretty awesome.
Bottom Line: Movie stars and alien monster scares out in space is nothing new, but Life is creepy enough to be worth your time and money if this is your kind of movie.
MovieMark Grade: B