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While watching LIFE, I was reminded again and again of Journey to the Center of the Earth. There was a similar sense of wonder and peril, and the score was similarly diabolical and foreboding.
Jon Ekstrand's score for LIFE is practically a character in itself, a huge, pulsing vortex of cosmic doom, a caricature of science fiction scores from a bygone era, applied with startling effect. The very first sequence, simple as it is, portends the End of Times, in no small part thanks to the music that attends it. And the nauseating throb of the final scenes is pure horror gold.
This film very much feels like one of those big effects pictures from the late 50's / early 60's. Everything is hyper real, bigger than life, and utterly doomed. Our film makers understand that the harp of your soul need only be played on a few strings. There's even optimism, at the start, but it's quickly dispensed with and never seen again. LIFE made no attempt to soothe me, it took me exactly where I wanted to go, deep in the dark with a thing I can't comprehend, and kept me there, mercilessly, to the very last frame. That is fearless film making.
The antagonist in LIFE is life itself, the protection of it as much as protection from it. The second things go spectacularly south, our astronauts are thrust into a whole new reality, having to master their panic as things devolve into surreal menace, and the sense of being left to fate with no escape is strong and consistent from then on. Like life itself can be. The calamities that befall our crew are at once logical and incomprehensible, and humanity's lack of readiness is as much a villain as the creature itself.
The creature is unnerving even as a cell. At the size of a hand it's not just incredibly dangerous but primally sadistic and full of surprises, brimming with personality. It's method of digestion is alarming in that nightmare way you always wish someone would depict on screen, but can never quite describe. I am sick to death of bad monsters and this thing, even as a toddler, is what I've been waiting for, well, since Alien. In fact, it has one up on the dreaded MORB, this beast is brand new, with the potential of being almost impossible to anticipate and the next level sample of what cgi can provide.
The comparisons being made are both easy and inevitable. Gravity captured weightlessness and orbital disaster with unheard of clarity and style, but at the end of the day there are only so many ways to depict such a thing with realism. But Gravity was a serious film, not a monster movie looking suspiciously like Alien, except that save for the unsentimental setting and the stakes it's not really like Alien, either. It has a monster on a spaceship. Oh snap, I hoped to never see that again! Oh wait...
I do wish some things had been done differently, but I believe this is a matter of taste, and not worth arguing here. We can save that for after EVERYONE HAS SEEN IT. LOL. Joking aside (I am not joking. Buy a ticket. I'm watching you), I do believe if you want well made R rated material, and specifically imaginative space horror, you must vote with your dollars. I mean it when I say we're very lucky LIFE exists. Like Peter Weyland, I want more.
I think this movie suffers for being released in close proximity to a venerable chapter in the saga that gave this stuff a chance to breathe in the first place. I'm in hog heaven for that, but would hate to see the Giger Alien aesthetic dominate to the expense all other ideas. I like astronauts trapped with monsters. I hope something comes along to out-do LIFE. There's more that could be done, but I can't quite describe what it is.
Nice Aorta! I really look forward to seeing this.
Maybe it was really panned for lack of things going BOOM!
dk- that's quite possible, and things that go rat a tat tat. But because of that, the sound design takes the fore. It's huge, like being inside a massive trash compactor made for humans. And there are incendiary visual effects, but they're spooky and poetic.
Aorta- This is how I feel about seeing life. Skip to 3:40
your lengthy message above related to the movie Life is, in my mind a wonderful opinion and I feel accurate breakdown of many of the high quality components of this great film.
i have seen your comments on other streams related to the movie Life , and also comments on things that are more Alien related..and I must say I appreciate the rational and thoughtful input. You seem to be like me and value substance over flashy things or shallow story telling, movie fans like us are, well we are a dying breed....cheers!!
Heard Calvin is terrifying when he's full grown. I also heard it's one heck of a cliffhanger
Just got back from seeing LIFE myself, and I can attest to both of those statements, A L I E N 4 2 6. Calvin is pretty nasty and the ending sets it up very nicely for a sequel. I quite enjoyed it.
Thanks for your thoughts and feelings on LIFE Noob!
It's rare for you to post a thread, but when you do I always relish digesting your input. I adore your thought processes and the wonderful eloquence and wit of your writing.
Always such a pleasure to hear from you friend!
"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger
I've just been to see it and I have to concede - LIFE is a thoroughly enjoyable movie, far better than I expected it to be. There were one or two passing similarities to Prometheus (creature wise), but it certainly doesn't deserve to be labeled as an Alien rip-off.
Very good, thoughtful review. I think you go to the heart (!) of the reason why this genre is so popular. My only criticism is the timing. I don't think it's any accident they release their movie right before A:C to steal some of their fire. Valid competition or rip-off? I think you could argue either way.
Diz- agreed. It looks as though there was originally a wider gap in release dates between the two, but then AC being moved up put LIFE in a bad spot.
My argument is that LIFE is too creative and well made to be written off as a cash grab. These guys made this movie because they wanted to. I just think someone should buy them a drink every day for the rest of their lives for having done so.
Still planing to watch it, and we need to remember a lot of people are not in general Sci-Fi fans and so the more casual viewer would not be able to judge the move on its Merits.
I bet if the casual viewers had seen Space 2001 for the first time and then Gravity and then Interstellar i bet they would but Gravity at being way better.
I could not watch it, it bored the S$%£ out of me and i think Sandra Bullock is Mediocre at best lol
Life had a lot going against it as it seems to be trying to mix a view different things together and so it will be broken down by some and compared to those elements individually.
Alien will always be remembered well because of how Ground Breaking it was... If Alien had never ever came out.... and it was now Ridley Scott had started the Franchise with modern effects.
So we get Prometheus, Alien Covenant, Alien Awakens, another movie and then a Modern Alien... I am pretty sure Alien would not be as well received too.
Or if AC was not a Alien movie, the company was changed, to some other company the robots different, the Ship (Juggernaught) was not related to Alien at all.
And the Aliens are different looking.... then again i am sure that movie would struggle to impress some... i think one thing that helps AC is that it is a Alien movie... but then with how Prometheus was received i think Alien Covenant has to pull off something Special or else it could really not bold well for the future of the Franchise..
The Bar for AC is raised High.
I find it not quite fair the critics have tried to measure Life based on the bar that ALIEN had set up.
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
Interesting movie scenes Alien style at the beginig, but it doesnt stand with any Scott film defintely, Spoiler: ending of the film (fanciful and childish) in my opinion, plot does not convince the viewer at all!
I give up on my local weekly hipster rag. The reviewed Life at 2/5 stars and thought they were being cute or clever how they panned it. Then they gave 4.5 stars to an animated kid movie with feel good social messages called........wait for it........My Life as a Zuchini.
What does the monster look like in its final form? I can't find videos or pictures of it.
Unable to copy/paste from current location. There are images and YT videos of the big headed bug eye goofy looking little f$%s in the official trailer.
It was a good film! Loved the ending
"Must be something we haven't seen yet.."__Bishop
...but a 4.5 to Life's 2?
exactly i feel out of 5 life was easily a 4.0, very well done, tense, realistic and beautifully created and shot film
dk- I've seen a lot of snark about this movie, I think there's a whole sub culture of embittered ciphers who make a point of not enjoying anything that might be 'beneath' them. I give it 4.5 just for the impact it had on me.
Neomorph- Im not going to describe Calvin to you, you must see it for yourself. In the theatre. Don't bother with the popcorn, you'll have no appetite.
The two most captivating space monsters I've seen in a very, very long time are the Hammerpede and Calvin, just for sheer Sci fi space organism outer-spaciness. Everything is so complicated looking anymore, it's the Giger influence, I hate to say. Spielberg's Martians were ridiculous looking for that very reason.
I will allow that Calvin also gets a bit design-y for my taste in the third act. I read one bad review that went so far as to accuse it of looking like a MORB, which it does not. What Calvin has throughout though is this vicious personality, this random sadism. It's hard to explain, because even though Calvin is very much a character, it's still a very alien character. It's just a really well realized creature, as much thought was put into its behavior as its appearance, it's better that almost anything in the last few decades. And I loved how even though it's a relatively small life form, the music always made it seem like it's 12 atom bombs about to blow. I must see this again.
Wow Aorta you really like this film lol
It was not until recently that I found out that the film has 3 swedes in it; no other then the director himself Daniel Espinosa, the composer Jon Ekstrand and also actress Rebecca Ferguson, so I can't help but feeling a little proud :)
Neo- I do like it a lot, I just appreciate this sort of thing and it's rare when it's so well done. I went similarly ballistic over Prometheus, but will admit that I like LIFE almost as much. More, in a couple of ways. No offense, Ridley!
Espinosa and Ekstrand are well suited to this material, and each other. This is my first time seeing Ferguson and she is fantastic. Her scream is quite primal. You should be proud.
With your sheer enthusiasm you've pretty much sold me on watching this film as I previously had no interest.
Good job :)
Took long enough
Good point about A:C being move up.
I think a story such as this raises a good point about how "life" may be transported, inter-galactically, as "space dust" and evolve on other planets. Maybe not by hitch-hiking on space-faring vehicles, but certainly on meteors or asteroids.
But it's kinda an amusing warning, to all those starry-eyed scientists we've watched all these years, who wax poetic about finding life, like it's some benign substance, waiting to be activated, like a packet of garden seeds.
In the same vision of Alien, be careful what you wish for.
@Neo You will enjoy it, neo. Just a good bit of thoughtful entertainment.
@Aorta Good job persuading Neo ;)
Diz- One of the genius moves I think, was keeping Calvin fairly small, but then expressing the sense that every time it enters the frame it's a huge disaster. Calvin has an odd charm and yet it's understood he's pretty much the end of civilization.
Starlogger- thank you. I'm a little worn out now.
oops double post sorry!