Review: ‘Life’ fails to feel alive
BY JACOB VAN HOUTAN, STAFF WRITER
“Life” is a science-fiction horror film directed by Daniel Espinosa. It follows six astronauts at the International Space Station who begin studying an alien lifeform that was retrieved from a probe returning from Mars. It stars Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Rebecca Ferguson as three of the six astronauts.
“Life” really takes inspiration from many films that have come before. Its story and idea are almost completely lifted from the 1979 classic “Alien.” However, it also copies cinematic language from quite recent space films like “Gravity,” “Interstellar” and “The Martian.” The film just lacks originality.
Regardless, it could make up for it by having interesting characters, but not one of the characters is written well. The performances are fine, but the material isn’t developed enough to give these actors much to do. One of the characters does have an interesting disability that is used to great effect with the zero gravity atmosphere, but I never found that they create a well-rounded character around that idea.The characters also make some really dumb decisions, which does not make any sense considering these are supposed to be really smart people who have been chosen for this mission. The film tries to play their struggles as situational stress, but since the characters aren’t developed I never believe that. If I do not care about the characters, I will not care if they die. These characters are here to have one purpose and that is to be killed off. They each have a role on the ship and that clash brings drama to only one scene in the entire film. Despite its flaws, the film does have great uses of zero gravity.
I found the special effects worked very well in this film. The film constantly kept me wondering how they filmed it considering that the characters constantly appear to be floating in the air. It also allows for some more creative kills and, at times, creepy moments.
“Life” is just a very hard film for me to feel like it is doing anything special. It does some interesting things with its visual effects and the act- ing and directing isn’t poorly done, but it takes so much from other films without truly understanding what made those films great. “Life” is just okay. It’s another space film that will not stay with you after the credits roll.This article first appeared in the Friday, March 31, 2017, Edition of The Echo.