Nobody and I mean nobody drops better angry F-Bombs than Ryan Reynolds
In space no one can hear you scream, and in Life there was a boatload of screaming to be had. Space movies always remind me of one thing; space is scary as hell! Especially when you are trapped on the International Space Station with a newly discovered alien life form.
So aboard the International Space Station is a multinational six-member crew that is comprised of some of the brightest minds on Earth. They intercept an incoming space probe that is returning from a successful trip from Mars. They collect a soil sample, where the crew is tasked to study it, which could ultimately end up being the first evidence of life outside of Earth. The crew quickly discover that not only is this the first sign of life, but that it is “all muscle, all brain and all eye,” which sounds scary as shit if you ask me. After the organism evolves, it is given a name, Calvin, after a school in America. Calvin quickly becomes more evolved and smarter as the day’s pass, and the crew slowly begins to realize, that they might have bitten off more than they can chew. As they find themselves in a fight for their lives, they must work together to stop Calvin from reaching Earth. As they’re picked off one by one, Calvin not only evolves, it gets smarter and smarter, and the crew realizes that maybe they should have left this creature back on Mars, where it belongs.
The crew itself is comprised of an American senior medical officer, David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), who has been in space for the longest period of time in human history, with just over 430 days served in space. David mostly keeps to himself, remaining quite, but when push comes to shove we find him becoming a little more of a badass. Dr. Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), she serves as the British Quarantine Officer, and the captain of this mission. She is in charge of the “firewall protocols” which serve as the safety plans in case anything goes wrong onboard the space station. She knows more information than the crew does, and keeps a few secrets from them as well. Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds) the American pilot of the space station is the crews class clown, and leader of the group. Ryan Reynolds was probably the standout of the movie for me, providing us with the best scene of the movie that’s for sure. As usual, he’s a wise cracking, know-it-all something we have become accustom too in his movies. Not saying that’s a bad thing, I actually really liked his performance in Life, it was nice to see him branch out a little bit. The Japanese systems engineer Sho Murakami (Hiroyuki Sanada), the strong but silent type. Who just wants to get home so he can see his newly born daughter. The Russian commander of the mission, Katerina Golovkina (Olga Dihovichnaya) willing to step up and take charge when need be, a strong woman who’s not afraid of a little perseverance. Finally we have the crew’s biologist, a British man Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) who is the most excited about the specimen on board and wants nothing more than to study it and make the human population proud. Remember this is a movie that takes place in space with a alien, these people are going to be disposable, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t start to care for them, and root for them to win. People are going to die in a movie like this, it’s just the nature of films like this. Life borrows a lot of elements from the original Alien movie, the movie that redefined the genre of science-fiction. I’m a huge Gyllenhaal fan, and I thought that he didn’t really have a whole lot to do in this, I felt that he was very underused in the first 2/3 of Life which was kind of a let down. He’s a great actor and I wish the director would have given him more to do. It felt like they just didn’t know what to do with his character at times, and being the lead of the movie it felt out of place at times. Speaking of the director, it’s Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) and he was almost the star of the movie. This is on the edge of your seat kind of suspense, with great tense moments, along with some really scary situations. Daniel did a fantastic job bringing all this together and create one hell of a landscape for the movie. This movie has some really intense moments where I was even almost looking away (I’m a baby) but when a movie can do that, it’s doing its job. Taking place only on the space station, Daniel does a great job shooting the movie very confined and tight, which makes for an even more enjoyable movie watching experience.
Life is a slow-burn, which means it takes awhile to get going and it takes its time for things to come together, but in the end it usually pays off. My biggest gripe for the movie was I wasn’t a fan of the ending. As the movie was winding down, I knew it only had a few outcomes to showcase, and I just wasn’t a fan of how things wrapped up, and it was an ending that didn’t really answer all the questions. Leaving the audience with a lot of “what ifs” and seeing how I don’t think Life will be getting a sequel that can be very frustrating for the movie goer. I’m not saying I knew from the beginning how the movie was going to end, but you could see all the twists of the movie happening before they actually did. Nothing ever really shocked me in Life, so I just wish they maybe threw one more curve ball at us, or maybe just didn’t follow the exact cookie cutter formula that most of these space movies follow. That doesn’t mean this is a bad movie by any means, or that I liked it less, it just means that you know what’s going to happen next before it actually happens in the movie. You spend two hours investing your time into the movie and sometimes you just want to be rewarded at the end of it, and not left scratching your head about possible outcomes or what kind of message the filmmaker is trying to get across.
Life is not a game changer by any means for the genre, but it does some things really well. This a good science-fiction horror/thriller, that people should go out and see. If you’re a fan of these kinds of flicks, then you won’t be disappointed in the outcome. Like I said it has some good performances, enough scares, and tense moments to have you on the edge of your seat in certain moments, and I thought Calvin was a pretty cool alien. It was different to see something that wasn’t so terrifying looking, as say some other monster movies, but it didn’t need to look scary, to show the audience just how much damage it could possibly inflict on the human population. I just know if they keep making movies like this I will never find myself going on a space vacation in the year 2050.
Check ya later
Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Life = 70/100