LIFE? of a Martian?

Director :- Daniel Espinosa

Cast :- Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, Rebecca Ferguson, Hiroyuki Sanada

So, this weekend my friend and i were stuck in a dilemma. We had a tiring week and needed to relax, movies are the preferred choice of mental relaxation for me since always. Power Rangers was the first choice but for some strange reason it was not showing anywhere, hence we switched to the second best option – Life. And boy was that a disaster.

Sony pictures studio has yet come out with another disaster of a multi million dollar movie budget. I convinced my pals to watch the movie and they agreed by seeing the star studded cast. You have Ryan Reynolds , Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and others who have been appreciated as being distinguished actors but sadly the script was so bad that even their presence wasn’t able to solve the transparency of the film.

So, giving my initial vent of catastrophe let’s begin analysis of the film – piece by piece.

I am going to talk about the film in a spoiler – ish kind of way. So, if you want to still see it turn away! However, if you ask my personal opinion you can still read it and hardly miss a thing.

___________________Spoiler Alert____________________________________

So, let’s begin with the plot – the movie focuses on a time a little ahead in the future (judging by the presence of the holograms) maybe like 2020 or something. There is the Mars pilgrim mission being carried where a remote probe has been sent to collect soil samples off of the “Red Planet” for analysis. The team of scientists on-board the International Space Station’s Tranquility Lab are analyzing the soil samples when they find a species of single cellular organisms present in the soil and start conducting experiments on it in a firewall enforced labs on the ISS as a precaution to any hostility by the organism. The world applauds this new discovery and is overjoyed. They welcome it and name it “Calvin”. But the creature turns violent shortly after and goes on a killing spree. Killing everyone on-board and makes his way to earth through a mishap of events.

So, that is pretty much it. It falls in the genre of the stereotypical alien horror films. It’s a textbook plot and has nothing new to offer except maybe the fact that this is another alien form you should avoid.

Let’s move on to the cast. Ryan Reynolds has over his career learned that his humor is probably his greatest gift and this movie was no different. After Deadpool he has continued his condescending humorous jokes and we have to thank him for it, for he was the comic relief to a mind-numbing / cringing plot. He couldn’t perform much in the film as he dies in probably the first hour or maybe less. You kind of sit in your seat and hope the Deadpool in him could heal but sadly wrong universe! I am glad he has moved on from his “Safe-House” paranoid persona (His movie with Denzel Washington).

16 steps to fix a shower? I’m an astronaut not a gym teacher. – Rory Adams

The rest of the cast – Rebecca Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hiroyuki Sanada and others all gave sub-optimal acts. It isn’t their fault because the script and the plot were designed in that way. They dealt with death in emotional ways and how traumatic it is being earth’s last line of defense but other than that it was pretty much a dull performance for the cast that have individually accomplished great feats in different films. There were other casts too but there wasn’t much focus put on them and hence i cannot comment on their performance.

Now, let’s get to what was wrong with the film. The movie had nothing new to offer. You watched the trailer and understood what the 2 hr film was actually going to portray. The only thing you anticipate is how the creature “Calvin” is going to kill each of the astronauts.

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Calvin in the lab

Once Ryan Reynolds character – Rory Adams dies, the movie starts descending in a downward spiral of filth, death and gross spectacles of alien feeding habits on human flesh. I have a thing against tentacles and this movie very promptly uses only tentacles to sneak up on the poor cast and horrifyingly kills them. And for some strange reason “Calvin” has god-like survival capabilities, he just can’t be killed! They try flushing him out of the ISS and suffocate him without air in space (literally vacuum)  but still it hardly matters to him, even though they assume he can hold oxygen to survive but how much? Fire, doesn’t seem to kill him and straving him doesn’t matter either. In the initial experiments when they try reanimating him from the soil samples, they mention he needs Mars like conditions but somehow he grows into a god and doesn’t need anything to survive. And boy was “Calvin” smart! He knew exactly how to get around the ISS by just detecting airflow everywhere around. They gave an alien , god – like abilities without any reasonable explanation. The scientists could have tried so many other things to kill the creature but somehow the script had to be dumbed down to such an extent that it kept their hands tied.

The movie had very few things to be appreciated about but had so nevertheless. The director took special pains to simulate zero gravity and did not forget to replicate in any situation no matter the tempo of the scene, the floating of water or blood particles or how the astronauts continue to levitate or how zero gravity can make you slow etc. The Space Station and the view were all programmed perfectly. They also explored the traumatic experiences of space travel with the Overview Effect that doused their sense was astounding. The beauty of the life of the astronauts was seen in Jake Gyllenhaal’s 473 days stay in space where he prefers not to go back to ground because he likes the silence and does not like the crowd but they also show how space affects the human physique and slowly kills a man piece by piece.

All in all, it was not a good movie and i would recommend that you pick this disappointment of a movie only if there is no other option absolutely. And hope the forthcoming Alien : Covenant which promises a better plot doesn’t disappoint the way this one did. The ending hints to a sequel which i hope they opt against making because after this catastrophe I do not wish to be a part of this franchise anymore.

My Rating :- Crippling Screenplay

  • temporal nomad
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