Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
- Volt 10 Rear Surrounds
- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- Sony 85 inch X950H FALD TV
The first thing that you’re going to think of when you see the trailer for Life is “this looks a lot like Alien”. Well, that’s because it IS a lot like Alien in many ways. The theme of a big scary monster hunting the crew of a space ship in space is nothing new, even Alien borrowed it from other films, but most of us think back to that seminal film due to how insanely popular and influential Ridley Scott’s masterpiece has been on space cinema. I was initially rather turned off by Life due to the very obvious looking similarities. I didn’t want to “sully” my beloved Alien with a knockoff, but I LOVE my sci-fi, so there was no way around the fact that I WAS going to check it out. After watching the film a couple of times, I have to say that I actually really like it. There are some obvious clichés and sci-fi tropes that are re-used from a dozen other films, but it’s intense and rather creepy. Something that I didn’t think it would be after being so desensitized to horror and sci-fi films, but I can attribute much of the scares to the creators going back to the old-style use of horror (much like Alien) instead of your typical jump scares or blood n gore.
The international space station has just taken on a probe that has traveled all the way from Mars (everyone’s new “frontier” in the world of space travel due to the upcoming trip there in a few dozen years) with all sorts of samples to analyze, and the crew of the space station are MORE than eager to check it out. There’s the standard rock and mineral samples, but lo and behold, the crew actually finds life in the form of a microscopic entity. They and everyone on Earth are ecstatic, and while the champagne is being broken out back home, the crew are at work inspecting the little creature, dubbed Calvin. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this is going to turn south in a hurry, and south is exactly where it goes when Calvin starts replicating faster and faster, eventually causing a breach in their security.
Munching on the lead scientist (played by Ariyon Bakare), it starts to feed and grow, becoming more intelligent as it grows and more cunning in the way that it hunts down its prey. One by one the small crew is taken out, until there are only three left. CDC analyst Miranda North (the bewitching Rebecca Ferguson), Pilot David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), and Sho Murakami (the ever present Japanese Hiroyuki Sanada). With a monstrous being of incredible power and cunning closing in on them, the three remaining survivors have to figure out a way to keep Calvin contained in deep space before he finds a way to overpower them all and ride the descending space station down into a decaying orbit, right into an unsuspecting world.
Despite those flaws, I felt the movie was surprisingly well acted. Gyllenhaal, Ferguson and even Ryan Reynolds did a great job and the energy they exuded helped make the rather generic space thriller a lot more fun that it should have been. My only complaint besides characterization is the fact that EVERYONE knew that there would be a twist at end thanks to the front cover having it splashed all over. A bit annoying as you’re constantly trying to guess what it is, and by the time the ending scene comes up you’ve already figured it out. Not a huge deal with the film being as simple as it is, but something I wish would have been kept hidden better.
Rated R for language throughout, some sci-fi violence and terror
• Life: In Zero G
• Creating Life: The Art and Reality of Calvin
• Claustrophobic Terror: Creating a Thriller in Space
• Astronaut Diaries
Life may not be the perfect clone of Alien that we might have wanted, but I was rather entertained and though it was a much better film than other critics give it credit for. There were some stereotypical space/horror clichés that got overused, and the front of the cover unfortunately gives away that there will be an obvious twist ending (one that is pretty easy to see coming if you KNOW that there’s a twist ending), but it was a nice throwback to a style of film making that hasn’t really been seen since the late 90s. The video is solid, and the audio is nothing short of incredible, making it the perfect audio demo disc for 2017. Once more the real decision is "do I chose the 4K UHD or The Blu-ray?". My recommendation WILL go to the 4K disc once more. The video is a very noticeable upgrade over the 1080p disc and while the audio mix for the 7.1 DTS-HD MA and the Atmos are NOT dissimilar, the added overheads gives it an ever so slight lead in that department. Still recommended for a good watch.
Starring: Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal
Directed by: Daniel Espinosa
Written by: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), Czech, English, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish DD 5.1
Runtime: 104 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: June 20th, 2017
Recommendation: Good Watch