The format is familiar.
Rory is the cheeky, heroic astronaut from the
International Space Station or ISS who’ll happily step out to meet a damaged
space capsule hurtling back from Mars. Or be the first to step in and help
scientist Hugh Derry. The team aboard the ISS must get the sample that the
capsule has brought back from Mars and test it to discover if life does exist
outside our planet.
Leading them is Dr Miranda North who has sworn that if
the sample from Mars turns out to have life and is hostile, she’ll ensure it
never enters our atmosphere. It is a mission fraught with danger. Dr David
Jordan is the veteran who’d rather stay in space for ever than come down to
earth with its disgusting US-Syrian brand of politics. A mandatory sprinkling
of a Russian, a black and a Japanese also float around the ISS, adding an
international touch to the mission. One of them watches his wife deliver their
baby girl on earth and can’t wait to see the infant.
So guess who gets to go home from this team of
dedicated professionals? No spoilers except that the discovery of “incontrovertible
proof” of life beyond the earth whips up huge excitement down there in America.
One school even gets to name the alien. The amoeba-like substance that moves and
grows menacingly is christened Calvin.
It’s when Calvin the cute turns into Calvin the killer
that the ISS team has to do what it’s never rehearsed for.
Between director Daniel Espinosa and writers Rhett
Reese and Paul Wernick, they turn catching Calvin into a thriller that moves
for 102 minutes. So, although it’s a routine sci-fi story, there are anxious
moments that keep you interested. The end was something I guessed but hey, it
Jake Gyllenhaal as David, Rebecca Ferguson as Miranda and
Ryan Reynolds as Rory Adams have their moments in their space suits.
For a much-seen story of earthlings grappling with an
alien up in space but told interestingly, Life
gets a 2.5* rating.
Journalist & Author