I totally understand why some people may be a little skeptical about Life. Despite the excellent cast, the basic premise is enough to make you wonder if the film is nothing more than a cheap knock-off of some of its high-profile predecessors. Part of that is the challenge of working within an established genre, I guess. If you’re going to tell a story about dangerous confinement and uneasy alliances, you’re bound to bump up against at least a few movie cliches. That’s not to say that Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence won’t do a good job in the movie, only to suggest that both men are…

Oh, crap, I did it again: confused the 2017 space thriller Life with the 1999 prison comedy of the same name. Whew, it’s kind of surprising how well those two lined up, huh?

The latest Life featurette includes interviews with two space experts  —  one of whom even has the title ‘Space and Emergency Medicine Expert,’ which is both the coolest title of all time and a sad indicator that he would die first in any Alien sequel  —  both of whom discuss the scientific curiosity surrounding Mars and the possibility that it was once teeming with lifeforms. The best science fiction always has one foot solidly placed in reality, so irregardless of whether Life booms or busts, it’s tapped into an anxiety that could be realized sooner rather than later.

Because I’m a sucker for horror films, it’s also nice to hear Ryan Reynolds make a crack about Re-Animator in the clip, the classic 1985 horror movie where a college student perfects an elixir that can bring the dead back to life. Life seems to realize that the best thing a horror movie can do is acknowledge  —  if not openly admire  —  other films in the genre. Fingers crossed it manages to revitalize the dormant genre of big-budget science fiction horror films (Phantoms, Mimic) we used to see in the 1990s.

Here’s the full plot synopsis for Life:

Life is a terrifying sci-fi thriller about a team of scientists aboard the International Space Station whose mission of discovery turns to one of primal fear when they find a rapidly evolving life form that caused extinction on Mars, and now threatens the crew and all life on Earth.

In addition to Reynolds Life will also star Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Ariyon Bakare and hit theaters on March 24, 2017.


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