RATING: 3 out of 5
The movie “Life“ starts out much in the same way as every gasgas joke your uncle ever told you when you were a kid: may Amerikano, Russian, British tsaka Japanese na magkakasama. But in this instance, walang Pinoy na bida na uutakahan silang lahat. This group of 6 is actually inside the International Space Station working together to study a sample that a space probe got from the Martian surface, with each one of them being an expert in their own respective fields. Within the sample is a single-celled organism and as the name of the movie suggests, is the first evidence of extraterrestrial life in the universe. Alam niyo ba anong ibig sabihin nun? Tama yung lalaking sabog sabog at malangis ang buhok sa History Channel!
So the people of Earth naturally celebrate and decide to call it by the adorable name of “Calvin”. Cute di ba? But that’s when Calvin was just a single-celled organism. The biology guy inside the Space Station successfully reanimates Calvin from dormancy and it starts to grow exponentially. Si Calvin na nagsimula na parang amoeba, lumaki at naging starfish, hanggang sa naging transparent na pugita na pumapatay ng tao! Naturally, that’s where the fun starts.
It’s hard not to compare “Life” to the “Alien” series since they more or less follow the same plot and themes: scientists find a hostile alien life-form and everyone will die gruesome and painful deaths. But what “Life” has working for it is the fact that the setting is contemporary, making it more grounded in reality. Hindi ka magugulat if something like this actually happens in the next 5 to 10 years.
But being grounded in reality has its cons as well. What I didn’t like about the movie is that it didn’t really add anything new to the genre. Sure, as a sci-fi thriller it works, most especially in the earlier parts of the movie when the characters as well as the audience was still learning what kind of things Calvin was capable of doing. I won’t spoil it for you since it’s going to be fun to experience it for yourselves, but there were a lot of gruesome scenes early on that will make you wince and cringe.
However despite all that, you get the sense that the movie didn’t live up to its full potential. There’s no new spaceship, no exciting new technology, and no wiwi-inducing monster. It never takes you anywhere emotionally and you’re never fully invest in the fate of these characters. You’re just waiting to see who dies next and who would be the last one to survive; if there were going to be any survivors at all.
I think a huge chunk of where the movie falters is due to the fact that the “monster” in the movie doesn’t seem to be that monstrous at all. Kung maaalala niyo yung Xenomorph sa “Alien”, yung malaki na kulay itim na maraming ngipin tsaka puro uhog ang buong katawan, that was intimidating. Calvin, at the end of the day and now matter how they try to glorify him, is just a freakin’ octopus. Parang yung pugita sa “Finding Dory” kung naka-shabu yung pugita sa Finding Dory at nag simula siyang pumatay.
And the name “Calvin” doesn’t really incite fear in anyone. You would often here them say “I can’t find Calvin! Calvin just went inside the airlocks!” Parang Shih Tzu lang na nakawala si Calvin tapos di mo makita e. I actually think Calvin was more terrifying when he was the size of a small starfish than when he became a full-grown monster.
The casting in the movie was terrific with Ryan Reynolds as a cocky flight engineer, Jake Gyllenhaal as a troubled doctor, and Rebecca Ferguson as the threat assessment microbiologist leading the way. Reynolds plays this one exactly as you’d guess he would (as Deadpool) and provides the movie with its light and funny moments. Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson attempt to provide the movie with depth and emotion but the material doesn’t really give them much to work with.
“Life” (unlike that proverbial box of chocolates) is somewhat predictable and you’ll already know half-way through the movie exactly what you’re going to get. But it offers a lot of tense and thrilling moments which audiences who come to see these movies love to see from these movies. And honestly, that may be a good enough reason for you to see it.
Catch Life in cinemas everywhere starting March 24, 2017.
All images are courtesy of COLUMBIA PICTURES