Critic’s Corner: Life

By: Dakotah Jones

Before you even get your hopes up that I’m reviewing the Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence classic, I’ll ease you down gently. . .no this is not that. It’s about Daniel Espinosa’s 2017 sci-fi horror, Life. This film is very interesting to me in that it wasn’t heavily advertised, granted I haven’t watched TV in close to two months but usually I still get my fair share through social media and internet pop-up adds; even through those mediums my exposure to it was very scarce prior to watching it. I’m not sure investing more marketing dollars would have yielded much better results in the box office, but it might have helped; needless to say it definitely hasn’t done so well in the month that it’s been in theaters. The plot begins with a team of future NASA astronauts, who have just found the first biological organism on Mars. It begins off as a seemingly harmless tissue like organism, but they realize quickly that it’s very advanced on a molecular scale. Soon after they make this discovery, their troubles begin. The reason why I mentioned earlier that I’m surprised it wasn’t advertised more is because of the cast. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds, along with some other noticeable faces including Japanese film star, Hiroyuki Sanada; one might think that pushing it to the masses would be a good idea. Then I thought, it most likely wasn’t in the budget. Life had high production value, the entire film was shot with the use of CGI which is extremely costly, very little actual set and prop use were used in the making of the film. It’s fairly well written, and it definitely allows for each star to express their unique talents as actors; for example, Ryan Reynolds’s quick, punchy remarks. The directing is definitely solid and all of the technical elements are strong: sound mixing, sound editing, visual effects, cinematography, etc.

All in all it’s a solid film but the reason why I didn’t feel like a fan after watching it is because of a lack of personality. This is NO different than any of the classic Ridley Scott Alien films, as a matter of fact, it really is an Alien film with no Sigourney Weaver and no long faced, saliva-acid dripping Alien. It’s also not nearly as fun as the Alien films because of the lack of on-set production value; that’s what truly made those films instant classics. Since the alien in Life is entirely in CGI it makes it harder to appreciate its “actuality” compared to Ridley Scott’s monster who was both made special through robotronics and costume design. Before I get too deep into a direct comparison between the two, let me just make it all clear with a verdict. The verdict: It’s good, but nothing special. To me, Life is nothing more than a direct to Netflix or (since Netflix has been bringing on some worthwhile recent hits to instant streaming lately) Free on Demand type of film. It just seemed to go through the motions, and it ended exactly how you’d expect it to end. There really weren’t any meaningful twists or turns. The best part of the film is when the alien first becomes hostile and it is clear how sophisticated it is, after that it’s not overly impressive. I give this film a 6/10. I just found it to be too much like the Ridley Scott classics, and just a lack of actual creativity to separate itself from the Alien films. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a decent sci-fi film or a generic horror.

Dakotah Jones, Opinions Editor, Junior 18’. From Brielle, New Jersey. Majoring in MOL W/ Marketing, Minor in English. Football Team, SAAC, Writing Center.

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