Click here to return to the main site.

Blu-ray Review

DVD cover



Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare and Olga Dihovichnaya
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 31 July 2017

An international space station comprising a crew of two British, two Americans, a Dutch woman and a Japanese man collect a mineral sample from a satellite which has been to Mars. They find a single cell lifeform which contains all the ingredients for growth and evolution. When it begins to react to stimulation the news is a relayed to an excited Earth. However, precautions are taken by placing the lab in quarantine and, when the lifeform appears to die, an electric shock causes it to react with violence. Despite protocols it manages to escape the lab, where it grows and shows adaptability and natural predatory survival skills. Suddenly, it is not only the remaining crewmembers who are in danger but the very existence of life on Earth...

This is very much Alien for the new generation, and boy does it work! When Ridley Scott’s first Alien film emerged to an unsuspecting public, aided immensely by H. R. Giger’s design, nothing like it had been seen before. In a science fiction environment it offered an example of what could happen when man ventures out on to other planets. Life explores an even more potentially realistic scenario. What really brings it home is that this could happen right now. We have a space station, we have exploratory satellites taking photos and samples. Furthermore, an edge-of-the-seat atmosphere is created very early by having a nondescript alien organism (dubbed Calvin). The greatest fear in life is fear of the unknown, and at no time do we learn what it is capable of, what it can survive, or how it might adapt and evolve in any situation. There are some serious scares, so rare in films these days.

A variation on the Wish Fulfillment saying is: Be careful what you look for, you might just find it. In a sense, this gives credence to those dissenters of certain social networking who opine about opening a can of worms. This is pushing that scenario to the limit. After all, renowned science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once said that if we ever came across extraterrestrial life it would be so different that we wouldn’t even recognise it for what it was.

Directed by an enthusiastic Daniel Espinosa, Life is very much a joint effort, with actors such as Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada and Ariyon Bakare working well and naturally together. It’s a nice touch to have the Japanese astronaut’s wife having their baby on a video link so, in effect, he can be there. This creates an important link between the astronauts and the Earth, and an even more important one for the viewer to realise the situation is critical not just to the space station but the entire planet. The weightlessness is handled extremely well, so that rather than the slow weighted shoes of other films they zip around with some speed in this one, heightening the pace and sense of constant peril. This tightly-shot base under siege-type film is well worth a look.

Extras include: Astronaut Diaries (characters shooting video sequences for the public back home); Creating Life (The Art and Reality of Calvin); Life in Zero G (about filming the movement of the characters); and Claustrophobic Terror: Creating a Thriller in Space (documentary).


Ty Power

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.