Friday, March 31, 2017
"Life" Review by Tim Hellman
'LIFE': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
The new sci-fi horror movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds. It was directed by Daniel Espinoza (who also worked with Reynolds on the 2012 action flick 'SAFE HOUSE'), and it was written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (who also co-wrote 'DEADPOOL', also starring Reynolds, and 'ZOMBIELAND'). It tells the story of a six member space crew, working on an International Space Station, that thinks it's discovered evidence of life on Mars, but they actually later learn that they've discovered something much more horrifying. The film has received mostly positive reviews from critics, but it's also underperformed at the Box Office (and gotten mostly mediocre reviews from audience members). I enjoyed it immensely.
The film begins with a space probe returning from Mars, that contains a soil sample from that planet. The crew of the International Space Station, containing six members, is able to catch the probe as it passes by them. A biologist among the crew, named Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare), studies the sample, and he's able to revive a dormant organism inside it. The crew is excited to learn that they've discovered the first evidence of extraterrestrial life, and so is everyone else back home on Earth; where the organism is named Calvin by school children. After further studying Calvin, the space crew soon learns that they've awaken something very hostile and deadly.
The movie is reminiscent of classic space set sci-fi horror flicks, like 'ALIEN' and 'ALIENS', and it's almost as good as those. It's very dark, gruesome, suspenseful and surprisingly well paced (compared to a lot of movies these days). The story is also really interesting, and the performances are all topnotch (you could hardly ask for a better cast). My only problem with the film is that the characters aren't quite developed well enough, and the alien isn't quite frightening or memorable enough either. Those two things aren't huge flaws though, as they're still done well, they're just not done well enough for the movie to be another 'ALIENS' type classic.