When it comes to alien sci-fi films, there isn’t much that hasn’t already been done. This is especially true after 1979 when Ridley Scott completely turned alien films on their head when he expertly mixed horror and aliens in one movie. Everything since then has had elements of Scott’s Alien in it.
The key to telling one of these stories is coming at it with a fresh outlook or, making it appear fresh. It’s very rare that a movie like last year’s Arrival comes along and does something completely new with the story of alien discovery. The movies all seem to be a cheap knockoff of Alien or E.T.
Earlier this year Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds starred in Life which kind of came and went with a whimper in the theaters and wasn’t built up as much of anything of substance for the two stars. It is the story of a space exploration crew who has found a living organism on Mars and is bringing it back to earth. This is the first alien ever discovered, so their return is eagerly awaited. Things go seriously wrong when the single cell organism rapidly begins to grow by destroying the nearest living thing around it. The crew is soon held hostage while attempting to either contain or destroy the life form.
As I stated before many alien or extraterrestrial films are just a retold and regurgitated version of the 1979 classic. Life is no different despite its many attempts to be its own film it follows very similar plot lines. The one difference I noticed is that the crew is in a constant state of zero gravity which gives it a more realistic feel. The development of the creature from microscopic to full fledged being and a deadly monster is also a bit of a deviation. With all of this said, it’s not a bad film by any means. But there is nothing new or groundbreaking here either; the film is just an entertainment piece for those that enjoy this genre. A positive to be taken away is that it isn’t a long film, so it doesn’t give itself time to trip over itself. It moves quickly and smoothly which makes it an enjoyable experience, but if you are a stickler for originality and a massive Alien franchise fan, it may be best to steer clear of this one.