Published on March 24th, 2017 | by Josh Aja0
A group of scientist aboard the International Space Station are waiting for a probe to return from Mars with the first collected samples retrieved from the Red Planet. The crew from all over the world have been chosen to study the material to determine if what they were seeing from the data sent back from rovers on Mars was accurate. After successfully catching the probe, they soon discover that the information beamed back was accurate and they have a single-celled organism, the first non-Earth based lifeform. There is excitement from everyone on Earth and on the station. The one exception being Dr. Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson) who is more concerned with making sure they are able to contain the discovery should things go bad.
The organism, now named Calvin, is growing fast and providing a glimpse into life beyond anything we know. The team’s excitement dwindles when unexplainably Calvin shuts down and goes into a deep hibernation. It is clearly still alive but completely immobile. Frustrated, the team decides to resort to unorthodox measures as they determine they should shock Calvin with mild electricity. Calvin springs to life. Everyone is relieved but that relief soon turns to terror as the main researcher Hugh Derry’s (Ariyon Bakare) hand is crushed and Calvin escapes his container. The rest of the crew stares in horror as Derry’s lifeless body floats in the locked down and fully contained lab capsule. But he is not dead because his vitals are still showing life. With Calvin distracted, devouring a lab rat, a hasty rescue attempt is made by engineer Roy Adams (Ryan Reynolds) and medial officer Dr. David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhall). Fortunately, this attempt is successful in retrieving Derry but unfortunately Calvin escapes into the station nowhere to be found. Now the crew rush to find the alien lifeform that is trying to kill them but it is very strong, extremely smart and quickly growing.
Director Daniel Espinosa (Safe House, Child 44) does a good job of keeping the audience in suspense during this film. There are several tense moments throughout the film, especially with Calvin lurking about. There are definitely some cringe worthy gory moments as well. The vast majority of the film is shot in the cramped space station. There are some cool looking 360 camera pans inside the station while its rotating that are very well done. The way they shot the actors as weightless in space was also well done. They seemed to take a lot of care in making sure like the characters being in space felt authentic. The shots of outer space itself were not as impressive but adequate. I really enjoyed that the movie was less about making me jump, with loud noises and things jumping on the screen, and more about intensity. I would say the dialog was okay but not great, pretty much what I expect from a Sci-Fi Horror film. I thought idea of the movie was good and had some original concepts but overall suffered from being predictable in the end.
2.5 out of 5
Second review by Ryan Guerra
A team of astronauts aboard the international space station are excited when they get to intercept and examine dirt samples from Mars. They are excited to finally proof that life exists in our universe. Only their excitement quickly fades as the rapidly evolving lifeform they name Calvin they becomes a threat to them and if able to make it off the space station, the earth.
Life is more suspense thriller than horror. People will try to make the comparison to Alien. The original horror movie in space. But those looking for Alien will be disappointed. Rather, Life attempts to be grounded in modern science. As a result, you cannot help but think that this film plays out more like a modern Pandora’s Box. A cautionary tale about trying interacting with a seemingly harmless organism that we cannot hope to understand. There is no malice in Calvin. It is just trying to survive, just as our cast of Astronauts are trying to do the same.
While this film headlines Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson, Life has more of an ensemble cast. Which is a good thing. No actor falls into the “untouchable hero” trope that films like this usually have. Each character feels and acts reasonable for the situation they find themselves in. As a result, every actor feels expendable which only helps to heighten the danger the crew for the crew.
Ultimately, while Life does not introduce new sci-fi goes elements, it is still an enjoyable and entertaining film. One that you find yourself thinking about after it is over. Life manages to maintain suspense throughout which in turn keeps you interested in the progression of his story and its characters.
4 out of 5 stars.