On a mission to retrieve samples from Mars, a group of astronauts comes across one of the greatest discoveries in space exploration – extraterrestrial life. Finding one single-cell organism, the astronauts, played by Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and others, attempt to interact with it on the International Space Station. In an abrupt sequence, the astronauts interact with a young girl who asks that they name the organism after her school, Calvin. Now that their new friend has a name, it’s just in time for “Life” to turn into a game of cat and mouse in space between extraterrestrial life and humans.
Hugh Derry, played by Ariyon Bakare, is an exobiologist that explains to the crew how the organism’s cells can perform every somatic function. It can simultaneously be all muscle, all brain and all eye. Underestimating the organism’s intelligence, it begins injuring and killing members of the crew at a fairly rapid pace. After releasing the organism into space, they are told to let it back on board so there is no chance of it surviving earth’s atmosphere and entering our planet. Through a drawn out battle of wit, Calvin evolves into a more complex organism, while the crew adapts to its tendencies.
“Life” has more of a horror feel to it than your typical science fiction film. Expecting a plot similar to “Arrival,” I was thrown off to find the movie resembling “Gravity” more. In “Arrival,” humans make contact with new life and end up learning from it, and the knowledge obtained arguably saves mankind.
However, in “Gravity,” astronauts are trapped in space, left to find their own way home. “Life” simply added another factor to plot of “Gravity” by trapping the cast in space and making them fight off an extraterrestrial life form.
Overall, the movie was bland. Containing typical science fiction elements, such as good visuals and interesting concepts, the film had potential. Due to average screen writing and poor acting, I didn’t feel that the cast captured the emotion of this high pressure situation, leaving intensely dramatic scenes feeling awkward and cheesy. If you’re into sci-fi films, then you might find “Life” interesting, but I doubt it becomes your new favorite film.