Life, a super efficient survival but lacking in originality [critique]

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Life Jake Gyllenhaal
Sony

In space no one will hear you plagiarize.

This Sunday, after Ad Astra, France 2 offers you to stay in space with another sci-fi film, Life: Origin unknown. At your peril…

In these times when Hollywood multiplies the remakes, reboots and other prequel to the overdose, Life: Origin unknown had everything to excite us. An sci-fi movie based on an original script, with a pretty cool cast (Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds) is what the people are asking for, right?

Then, from the first trailer, it was a cold shower. Despite the clever use of JFK’s great speech on the conquest of space, it was realized in a few shots that the film would look more like a sub Alien sprinkled with The Thing than a masterpiece of SF with philosophical significance.

Fact, Life is a bit of an anti-First contact. In Denis Villeneuve’s film, we had, rare thing, to deal with benevolent extraterrestrials. Their ships were massive and creepy as in Independence Day except that they had not crossed the universe to destroy us, but to communicate with us.

Images of Spider-Man 3 in the new Life trailer

In Life, therefore, it is the Man who will look for the alien. A sleeping alien, brought back from Mars in samples to be examined, as a precaution, on the International Space Station. He is only a cellular being at first, but once awakened and fed, he comes back to life, grows at full speed and quickly reveals his incredible properties: Calvin (because yes he is baptized with a cool name) is made up of cells. multi-purpose, which can also serve as neurons or muscles. And no, that’s not a good sign.

Gone are the scriptwriting disappointment (and the dismay at seeing the scientist, as in Prometheus, find this threatening alien too cute), what is Life as a cinema experience? Let’s be honest, the film is a model of space survival, with a very effective production. After the exhibition, we dive for 1h30 of stress and, clinging to our seat, we almost forget that this story has already been told to us ten times.

We must also salute the work of Daniel Espinosa, a promising ex-director who assumes his status as commissioned filmmaker. Without reaching the grace of a Gravity, Life is technically clever, and the characters, filmed in the studio with cables, really seem to evolve in zero gravity.

Finally, the real innovation of the film is not to transpose us light years from Earth into an improbable future, but a few hundred kilometers above our heads and into the present, by offering us a hyper scenario. scientifically credible since a collection of samples of Martian soil is scheduled for 2020 by NASA. Suffice to say that we are no longer in the anticipation of pure SF.

Failing to invent or revolutionize the genre, Life has the merit of being an effective entertainment, as forgettable as it is thrilling. A nice little canvas that it is not forbidden to appreciate… nor to ignore.

No, Life – Origin Unknown is not a prequel to Venom

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