Movie Review: LIFE [2017]

LIFE is a dark movie about death. Violent and inevitable death.

Oh, the joys of living on The International Space Station (ISS) with people on earth trying to micromanage your every move but, at the same time, couldn’t help you find your toothbrush.  These scientists are delighted to be living on the ISS answering the questions of elementary school children about where they shit.

Spoilers below.

In LIFE, the team has just successfully found signs and specimens of life on Mars. Yay! They find a microorganism that the elementary school children are given the privilege of naming. The children name the creature “Calvin 1” Such an adorable name. And, at first, the little organism was adorable too.

Little Calvin was given some glucose or something to help him grow (or mutate him depending on how you look at it). Hugh, the exobiologist, spends all day with Calvin. He plays with him and fantasizes about the magical way he can be used to cure all kinds of ailments. He doesn’t seem to notice that for a single-cell organism, Calvin is growing and changing super fast.

The team spent time talking about their elaborate quarantine protocols only to almost immediately fuck it up. The breach caused a pressure change or something (a lot of the “science” is very “or something”) and Calvin decides he’s rather be sleeping.

This is basically where the LIFE goes from Science to FICTION.

The Commander is super-pissed that the containment protocols were breached and notes that Calvin, being an unknown variable is a dangerous thing, like Anthrax.

Hugh, the exobiologist (a scientist who specifically studies extra-terrestrial life) says, “Don’t compare Calvin to Anthrax.” Oh, you sentimental fool! You, completely unscientific, sentimental fool.

Ryan Reynolds’ character is a quippy space mechanic who really wants to kill Calvin at every possible chance. What does he have to add to this exchange? “I miss my fucking dog.”

With all the back and forth about the containment situation The Commander says her job is to “Imagine the worst that could happen, then the worst after that, then the worst after that.”

Cut to Hugh trying wake Calvin up after he shuts down from whatever the breach did to him. Calvin took his ball and went home (to the best of his ability) now we’re going to harass him until he plays with us again.

“It’s a very low voltage. It won’t hurt him. I’m only hoping to wake him up.”

  • This is the bad plan that went back in time and gave birth to all other bad plans throughout history.

Well, Calvin wakes up… and, like most living things, he has strong feelings about being aggressively woken up after he just put himself into protective hibernation.

The rest of LIFE is best shared via my stream-of-consciousness notes:

  • Jake Gyllenhaal is a weird, anti-social, sad sack who is super scarred from being in the military and wants to stay in space forever.
  • You guys started this with the first hostil move.

“Permission to kill the fucking thing?”

“How do I kill it?”

  • If the monster is hiding in a closet, DON’T open the closet. Use this opportunity to run away.
  • It was definitely a good idea to keep this mission quarantined in space. But, remember, your whole mission is about containment. CONTAIN.
  • Teamwork to the death!
  • Don’t describe your anything as “impenetrable” or “completely secure”
  • How’d it get smart, tho?
  • Okay, but what doesn’t it eat?
  • Isn’t space freezing cold?
  • Could a normal person even figure out how to murder in these circumstances? This is some super complicated mayhem.
  • Calvin is basically a demon. A Clever demon.
  • Why are you so desperate to save someone with a killer alien ATTACHED to them?
  • Let a bitch take one for the team! She is, after all, the commander.
  • TERMINATOR: Space Squid
  • Why so violent?

“We can’t risk Calvin riding us into the atmosphere.”

“Would he survive?”2

  • Let’s all wallow and blame ourselves.
  • How long has that been there?
  • Why can’t Calvin relax?
  • Hangry?
  • What is your job3?
  • Would Calvin just grow forever or would he breed…?
  • Is this Calvin’s true form or did all that science mess him up?
  • Vampire?
  • Was it like this on Mars? Is this why there’s no life on Mars?
  • Firewalls: The box, The Lab, The Station.
  • Shouldn’t the crew know about the firewalls and the plan to space the space station in case of emergency?
  • Clever Monster… waiting.
  • Greedy Man.
  • Huddle for warmth?
  • Watch for space debris.
  • Someone needs to tell Earth about Calvin. Maybe leave a note? If you both die, you’re just postponing the apocalypse.
  • What a foreseeable twist.
  1. I think it’s important for me to note that Calvin is the name of my dog. He’s the most gentle, loving, cowardly, petite, mutt in the world.
  2. Unless the answer is 1000% “No,” it’s not worth the risk.
  3. oh! he’s the pilot.

tavia.

My parents let me watch and read way too much science fiction and fantasy when I was a child. Now that I'm grown, I'm bored and I can't wait for SkyNet to awaken or the super-virus to cull the human population. I'll be safe because I've learned to reason with robots from Data and the Terminator franchise... and I eat gummy vitamins by the fist-full.

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