When human beings encounter alien lifeforms in movies, things tend to work out in one of two ways. Either the humans make peaceful contact with aliens, leading to some uplifting moment of communion between species, or humans find out the aliens are antagonistic and everything gets very ugly. The new sci-fi movie Life presents the second scenario, as the crew of a space station discover the first signs of life outside planet Earth, and soon learn to regret the discovery.
Movies have been made before about space crews encountering hostile alien life and finding themselves in a battle for survival, but Life is putting a new twist on this classic scenario by setting the story on a realistically-depicted space station, and dealing with the plot in terms of the real challenges a crew might face (in addition to having to deal with an alien that wants to eat them). The result looks like Alien meets Gravity, with a strong cast that includes Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Sony Pictures Entertainment has now a second U.S. trailer for Life that neatly summarizes its story, while also offering a thorough taste of the movie's pulse-pounding sci-fi thrills. Daily existence aboard the space station in the film appears to be all fun-and-games, but things take a turn for the worse after the station captures an incoming capsule from Mars that unexpectedly contains alien life. At first the life is just microscopic, but the astronauts quickly realize that they've captured something strange and potentially dangerous - not only to the station itself, but to all life on Earth.
Unlike the classic horror film Alien, Life is set in a present-day environment and sticks to the realities of existing technology. The action in the trailer is very reminiscent of the cascading-disaster scenario depicted in the Oscar-nominated Gravity, only this time there is also a slimy, quick-evolving extra-terrestrial life-form in the mix. The trailer makes it clear that more is at stake than just the lives of the astronauts on the station. This takes the story beyond other recent realistic sci-fi movies like Gravity or The Martian and puts it more in the realm of a true alien invasion scenario.
The producers of Life insist that audiences are "hungry" for this kind of original (as in not derived from a previously-existing book, movie or other property) science-fiction film. The box office returns for movies like The Martian, Gravity and last year's Arrival would certainly seem to bear this theory out. Life appears to have a lot going for it in terms of action, star-power and visual wow-factor, but it remains to be seen if it's as compelling on a story-level as Arrival or The Martian.
From a technical point-of-view, Life looks pretty impressive. Setting an alien-invasion scenario aboard a realistic present-day space station is a solid starting-point for a story, though the decision did lead to some pretty huge challenges for the actors. The realistic survival-sci-fi approach worked for Gravity and The Martian, and we'll see if it works for Life when the movie hits theaters.
Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment
- Life (2017) release date: Mar 24, 2017