Six astronauts are aboard the International Space Station when the damaged Pilgrim capsule arrives, carrying soil samples from Mars. The crew includes CDC quarantine officer Dr. Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson, The White Queen), senior medical officer Dr. David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals), flight engineer Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool), biologist Dr. Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, New Blood), ISS pilot Sho Murakami (Hiroyuki Sanada, Helix, The Last Ship) and and ISS commander Ekaterina Golovkina (Olga Dihovichnaya). As Dr. Hugh Derry tests the soil for evidence of extraterrestrial life, he discovers a dormant single-celled organism. Once he manages to revive it, the cells start rapidly growing and multiplying. This new multi-celled organism is incredibly strong and intelligent, and quickly adapts to its new environment. The folks at the ISS announce their discovery to the world, and allow a group of American schoolchildren name this new extraterrestrial creature Calvin.
While the astronauts take the highest precautions to keep Calvin contained to the ISS lab, the organism proves to be highly adaptable and much more clever than they ever could have imagined. Soon Calvin manages to break free and starts attacking the scientists, eliminating the crew one by one. As he feeds, Calvin grows larger and further adapts to his environment. The remaining crew must find a way to trap and eliminate Calvin before there’s no one left to stop him from making his way to Earth and threatening the world’s population.
Life is a masterful, tense, heart-pounding thriller that constantly keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s like Alien meets The Thing. The tight quarters of the ISS make for an intense setting that adds to the horror. The astronauts are trapped in this claustrophobic location with nowhere to run, and only so many places to hide. Meanwhile, this highly-intelligent creature is rapidly learning how to adapt and survive, making its movements unpredictable. The longer Calvin roams the ISS, the looming danger grows as he becomes bigger and smarter. The scientists are in a race to figure out how to use their limited resources to locate and stop this creature before it hunts them down and moves on to Earth to wipe out the world’s population.
There is never a lull in the action. Even when things seem to settle down, there is always this looming danger present. Whenever the astronauts come up with a new plan, you know there will be some unforeseen glitch, and that Calvin will find a way around any trap they set. It’s just a matter of who will become his next victim. This ultimately leads to a heart-pumping final act with some unexpected surprises.
The effects are really well done. The astronauts are constantly moving as they float around the space station, and this looks so natural on the screen. You totally forget that these actors are not actually in a zero-gravity environment! Calvin also appears incredibly lifelike—he feels like a real entity and a genuine threat to the crew.
The Blu-ray looks and sounds amazing. The video presentation is practically flawless, with a crisp, detailed picture and rich colors. The audio track is equally impressive, utilizing the surround and stereo channels to provide an immersive experience—whether it’s the sound of closing doors, proximity alert alarms, or Calvin whooshing by, you feel like you are on the ISS in the middle of this terrifying experience. Meanwhile, all of the dialogue is clear and easy to understand, and the film’s booming score helps to add to the tension and excitement.
As for bonus material, the disc includes three interesting 7-minute behind-the-scenes featurettes with the cast/crew, six deleted scenes, and three 1-minute character video diary segments.
The Blu-ray disc comes packed in standard keepcase with a slipcover, and contains an insert with a code to redeem for an UltraViolet digital HD copy of the film.
- 1080p / Widescreen 2.40:1
- Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, Cantonese, Chinese simplified, Chinese traditional, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai
- UltraViolet Digital HD copy redeemable via the Sony Pictures Store
Digital HD (Redemption deadline 12/31/2019):
- Deleted Scenes (5:49)
Collection of 6 deleted scenes. Many of these are extremely short with minimal or no dialogue. The final scene is the longest of them all, but a boom mic constantly appears in the shot (perhaps this is why it was cut). Play All or select from “Jordan Examines His Stamp Collection”, “Adams Mending His Helmet”, “The Tang Breakfast Scene”, “Derry in the Gym”, “Adams’ Body is Placed Inside His Pod” and “Sho and Jordan Talk”.
- Life: In Zero G (6:54)
Interesting behind-the-scenes look at recreating the weightlessness of space for the film. The cast and crew talk about the astronaut experience, working in “zero gravity”, wearing the space suits, and more. Includes lots of behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with director Daniel Espinosa, medical space specialist Dr. Kevin Fong, movement coach Alexandra Reynolds, stunt coordinator Franklin Henson, and actors Jake Gyllenhaal (“David Jordan”), Ryan Reynolds (“Rory Adams”), Rebecca Ferguson (“Miranda North”), Hiroyuki Sanada (“Sho Murakami”), Olga Dihovichnaya (“Ekaterina Golovkina”) & Ariyon Bakare (“Hugh Derry”).
- Creating Life: The Art and Reality of Calvin (7:07)
The films’s creators talk about life on Mars and designing the film’s creature. Includes concept art, rough animations, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with director Daniel Espinosa, medical space specialist Dr. Kevin Fong, producers David Ellison & Dana Goldberg, writers Paul Wernick & Rhett Reese, geneticist Dr. Adam Rutherford, co-visual effect supervisor Tom Debenham, and supervising art director Marc Homes.
- Claustrophobic Terror: Creating a Thriller in Space (7:28)
The cast and crew talk about the terror of the film and how it’s grounded in reality, and the tight quarters of the ISS. Includes concept art, behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with director Daniel Espinosa, writers Paul Wernick & Rhett Reese, producers David Ellison & Dana Goldberg, supervising art director Marc Homes, medical space specialist Dr. Kevin Fong, and actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Ariyon Bakare, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rebecca Ferguson & Ryan Reynolds.
- Astronaut Diaries (3:00)
Video diary segments from astronauts Rory Adams, Miranda North & Hugh Derry.
- Previews (14:11)
Trailers for “Passengers”, “Baby Driver”, “Rough Night”, “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter”, “T2 Trainspotting” and “Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars”.
I thoroughly enjoyed this heart-pounding sci-fi thriller which kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The film provides an exciting story that is very well executed. The effects are really well done, making the viewer forget that the actors aren’t actually floating around in outer space, and making this extraterrestrial creature feel like a realistic threat to the ISS crew. The Blu-ray presentation looks and sounds fantastic, and the disc also contains some interesting behind-the-scenes bonus material as well as a digital copy of the film. If you’re looking for an entertaining new thriller, this one comes highly recommended!