Curiosity has been the driving force behind the human race’s greatest innovations and discoveries. This small voice has encouraged mankind to step out of its comfort zone to ponder questions about our existence and place in the universe.
In his new film, “Life,” director Daniel Espinosa shows the audience that some questions are better left unanswered — if disturbed the consequences can be devastating.
Life centers on the story of six scientists that are stationed aboard the International Space Station. They have been tasked with analyzing samples of soil that were sent to them by a probe from Mars. While looking at the samples, they discover that one contains a single cell organism.
After conducting some tests, the scientists bring the organism back to life. Over time the organism grows and evolves rapidly into a creature that threatens the people onboard the station. The scientists fear for their lives and the lives back on Earth and begin working to find a way to kill the creature before it escapes and endangers the entire civilization.
Over the last few years, there have been some subpar science fiction films that lack clearstory and direction — such as “Interstellar” in 2014. "Life" does not have that problem.
The movie has a single focus, which is “how we are going to kill this creature,” and does stray from it and also puts the audience in the middle of the story from the very beginning.
The way the plot unfolds reminds me of how to bring water to boil. The water starts out cold. You then see bubbles start to form as the heat increases the temperature. Then it forms into a vapor. The plot of “Life” starts out slowly but over time it builds to its boiling point where storylines come together.
Life draws its audience in by using the fear of the unknown to its full advantage. Two films that are great examples of this are the 1978 film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and the 1986 film “Aliens.” This fear and anticipation of what was going to happen next really kept me hooked and engaged in the story unfolding on screen.
There are elements of those two movies in this film, but it is not overpowering. It is unfair to say that “Life” is a knockoff of other great science fiction films. I tend to disagree and believe that “Life” holds it’s own and works to engage its audience with every step.
Life is also one of those films where seeing it a second time won’t produce the same magic. The elements that hooked you and surprised you the first time won’t be as effective the second go around. One film that is like that is John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson flick “Basic” from 2003.
I give “Life four and half-mustaches out of five.
This movie is R for language throughout, some sci-fi violence and terror and runs 104 minutes.
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