Language: English, Japanese
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Music: Jon Ekstrand
Cinematography: Seamus McGarvey
We need to talk about Calvin, the first evidence of extraterrestrial life, a single cell collected from Mars (named by one of earth children through space to earth live beaming), is retrieved by a six-member crew in the International Space Station in director Daniel Espinosa’s ALIEN + GRAVITY hybridization, LIFE, a by-the-number claustrophobic space-capsule horror, hits every blasé note in its story development, so much so that, the only twist crops up in its anti-climatic ending, but by that point, audience’s interest is virtually evaporated.
As a moderately budgeted Sci-Fi thriller (around $ 58 million), the film’s open gambit is its expansive space shots patterning after GRAVITY, but less awe-inspiring by default. The crew’s initially effusive atmosphere is soon dissipated when they find out that Calvin, a fast growing creature embodies a (unsurprising) tentacular form, evolving into an indestructible predator with high intelligence, where the high-minded crew members are being singled out one by one as its sustenance. When eventually it is down to our two protagonists Dr. David Jordan (Gyllenhaal), the American senior medical officer and Dr. Miranda North (Ferguson), the British Quarantine Officer (not that Japanese father, who has never met his newborn daughter; or the Russian captain, or the black biologist), to preclude Calvin from reaching our homeland, a bold plan is propounded with true grit and self-sacrifice, but when all bets are off, can lesser mortals truly outmaneuver Calvin, a shorthand of the universe’s oceanic profoundness, inscrutability and threat?
As mediocre as the final product is – the script is painfully by rote (although it is a fair surprise to kill off a name star as the first casualty, I guess the paycheck is not fat enough); all six characters are bland, stand-up guys who are more than willing to die for others when the crunch arrives, no personal complex is unearthed to compound their danger, thus, we have no one to blame but Calvin, a conglomeration of intelligence and primitivity (it can outguess its human rivals in every step but cannot stay put for a minute to fight against its predatory instinct); the score is plain pedestrian while its slithering cinematography being predominantly curbed by the set’s limited space. – time and again, LIFE does forewarn us in the face of unknown mystery, we shouldn’t get too psyched, as broken-easily as we are, we might just as well prepare ourselves fully for the worst scenario.