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Life  : Aliens Again
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Friday, March 24, 2017
Daniel Espinosa
Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada

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 is unconventional.


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.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author


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