LIFE – Trouble in Space

2214

Life dvdcover

Life is a space horror that lacks just about everything. There’s no growing tension and not a single twist or turn. It skips over dramatic moments, the characters are wafer-thin and it sways from predictable to clichéd until it trundles to a cheese-y end. The storyline is compelling, as it was in the 1979 classic, Alien. Writing doesn’t get any lazier.

The ‘Mars Pilgrim’ spaceship is returning to earth manned by Dr. Derry (Ariyn Bakare), a scientist; Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds), an engineer; David Jordan (Jake Gylenhaal), a pilot, Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), a British medical officer, Ekaterina Golovkina (Olga Dihovichnaya), a Russian commander and Sho Murakami (Hiroyuki Sanada), a Japanese scientist. The six have completed their mission to collect soil samples from the Red Planet. When Dr. Derry analyzes the soil, he discovers the presence of a single-celled organism. This is the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on another planet. But within hours, this cell grows exponentially, breaks out of its housing and terrorizes the crew.

The film opens with a confusing voice over, followed by even more confusing dialogue. Extended conversations with technical jargon are hard to deliver, mainly because no-one cares.

After this inauspicious intro, Calvin, as Dr. Derry nicknames the cell, makes his first appearance. This is the inciting incident that’s supposed to hurl the story into action, but all the audience see is someone poking around in a specimen jar.

Even if this lack-luster set-up worked, the reaction of the crew does not. Calvin is the most sensational discovery since the Eagle Landed and will elevate the astronauts onto the world stage. But none of them even bother to get up to take a look. If they can’t get excited about it, why should we?

The missteps continue when Calvin shows the first signs of the monster he is to become. Reactions to this should be explosive, with at least one member of the crew wanting to toss the scoundrel overboard. But no such conflict occurs, and the battle between potential danger and the advance of science is never fought.

Once the first body has been gorily dispatched, the story runs in circles. The monster gets bigger, someone gets killed and the crew regroup. During these reruns, a particularly spectacular plot point is squandered when the astronauts learn they might never get back home. True to previous behavior, they barely react. By this time, they seem more like spectators than anything else, and probably only there so Calvin has enough people to eat.

RELEASE DATES

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