I’ve heard bad reviews about this film, and a few likes, but I’ve always been the type of person that had to see the film for themselves. I’ve learned over time that films are like fine wine. While I don’t enjoy the full bodied reds, I do enjoy the Zinfandels and Pinot Noirs. My daughter and I headed to the Deptford Eight on Sunday to see the science fiction horror film directed by Daniel Espinosa. Did I enjoy Life? Find out after the jump.
Before I do this review, I need to confess that I have been sending NASA and the International Space Station resumes for my entrance into the Space Program. Am I trained to handle the rigors of space? Not exactly, and in fact, I find it near impossible to walk and chew gum at the same time, but what the heck! One can dream, and besides, what alien would dare mess with the astronauts if an Italian grandmother was there to whack them silly with her heavy purse.
“Life” stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, and Olga Dihovichnaya and the action takes place on the International Space Station. The crew is waiting for a space probe that is returning from Mars with a soil sample. The crew consists of professionally trained scientists who will study the sample under strictest containment protocols. What could go wrong…right? Earth is too far away from the station for any cross contamination to occur, and it is with childlike glee and excitement that the crew gets its first peek at a real extraterrestrial entity; a single cell extracted from the Martian soil. Exobiology expert, Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare), coaxes the cell out of hibernation by making atmospheric adjustments and giving the cell sugared water.
The crew is excited to learn that this single cell which is now growing into a multi-celled organism is a myocyte, neuron and photoreceptor all at the same time. In layman’s terms this means the entity is all muscle, brain and eye. The organism is even given a name by American schoolchildren; Calvin. While the world below the station celebrates the discovery of life outside of Twitter and Facebook, there is an accident in the lab which causes Calvin to become dormant. The Quarantine Officer, Dr. Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson) has the power to keep the organism from reaching Earth if there is ever a need to do this…but I’m pretty sure she never expected events to get so freaking out of hand so quickly.
When Derry attempts to revive Calvin using mild electric shocks, the formally cute and friendly organism becomes a freaking hostile killing machine that not only crushes Derry’s hand into mush, but then proceeds to eat a lab rat before digesting the pilot, Rory (Ryan Reynolds), from the inside out. This organism, which learns quickly how to cut off communications to Earth, keeps growing. Calvin resembles an octopus with anger issues.
We don’t know what types of extraterrestrial lifeforms our astronauts will encounter as they explore other planets, but extraterrestrial life is definitely out there, and to think otherwise is naïve on our part. I am sure that NASA has enough safety protocols in place to make sure that we keep whatever extraterrestrial specimens that we do find, confined and unable to eat us…but best laid plans of mice and men…. you get what I mean. Did you know that the International Space Station does have a real life organism up there? It’s not Calvin, but it’s just as interesting; slime mold.
Slime mold is a fungus type creature that is both one-celled and multicellular. Slime mold might not have a brain, but it is capable of learning. Imagine that! Could that mold on your bathroom wall be planning your early demise? You might want to read Creation by Adam Rutherford to see how science is reinventing life in the laboratory.
When Calvin takes over the space station, the job of keeping the nasty little extraterrestrial from heading to Earth is left to Dr. Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), Systems Engineer, Sho (Hiroyuki Sanada), and Miranda.
My daughter and I truly enjoyed the film. I especially enjoyed watching how the astronauts dealt with the weightless environment while fighting Calvin. ReRe and I both agreed that Life was just as scary as Ridley Scott’s Alien Franchise.
Just so you know…I’ve got a security camera aimed at the mold growing between the cracks of my bathroom tile. You can never be too prepared for an alien takeover. Go see the film. I give it an A+