Once again, I subjected myself to a space thriller as my love for sci-fi outweighed my fear of anything and everything outside of our atmosphere. Luckily, like Arrival, Life pleasantly terrified me. While you can expect some of the typical devices of films of this kind, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool), along with director Daniel Espinosa, made sure to add original and jarring events.
A crew aboard the International Space Station, in our current year, is responsible for retrieving a pod carrying specimens from Mars. As we all know from the trailer, this mission is one of success. For a brief moment. We finally obtain proof of life on Mars, a small organism we come to know as Calvin. Seemingly harmless, Calvin is subjected to pokes and prods, of which he is not a fan and we come to see his true colors; he does not play. Who disturbed his slumber?! Serves them right, right? It’s all about perspective, is he the protagonist or antagonist? At times we were even privy to Calvin’s point of view as he sets off on the path to freedom and revenge, ravaging anyone that intervened. And this is why you always follow protocol, especially if you’re a genius such as an astronaut. But hey, the movie wouldn’t be worth much if that had been the case.
Life boasts an impressive and diverse cast, as we are on the ISS, where every character is an essential component of the crew. While Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal lead the cast, overall the film is more of an ensemble piece. My favorite characters were Kat, the commander, played by Olga Dihovichnaya, and Miranda, played by Rebecca Ferguson. These women were the backbone of the mission, and it seemed that they were most capable of ensuring its success, or later the containment of Calvin no matter the sacrifice. The men really botched it all up, not to turn this review into a gender war or anything. Each character was admirable, not only in their brilliance but also in how they each battle Calvin and try to protect Earth.
Suspense was done well, the period of familiarization with the crew led to me being on edge since I knew it was going to get real at any given moment. The sequence of events was paced well, no prolonged and dragged out periods of waiting to be startled. For me, some thriller films take cheap shots and shortcuts to scare the audience, but Life did not go that route. Every frightening encounter with Calvin was unique and necessary to drive the story forward.
Vague spoilers warning. It was reminiscent of The Thing at times, so if you are a fan of that film I believe you’ll have a good time watching Life. I did expect Calvin to have even more capabilities, that was my only real let down, but he still managed to do some really gruesome damage. I will not make the same mistake and suggest my niece attend this like I did with Logan.
|Release Date:||March 24th, 2017|
|Author:||Roxy De La Rosa|