The new sci-fi/thriller film “Life” is not only a quality suspense movie, but the film describes a scientifically probable scenario of finding life in space and the expectations of a new organism.
While many alien movies are about a horrific scene where innocent people are eaten, or abducted, “Life” shows the scientific process these astronauts have utilized in order to study a microscopic organism.
During the first 30 minutes of the film, the audience comes to fully grasp what new life may mean. They have named this discovery Calvin as a means of personal effect, but they aren’t sure whether or not their latest experiment is benign or destructive.
As the viewers follow Calvin’s path of life, we can’t help but feel sympathy for Calvin. Its natural curiosity and the discovery of its own surroundings inspires the wonder inside us. He moves with Dr. Hugh Derry’s finger and reaches out to touch him, reminding me of the famous painting, “The Creation of Adam,” by Michelangelo, where man and God are just a short space away.
As a creature solely comprised of muscle and brain cells, the audience watches as Calvin quickly develops in mind, matter and muscle as it consumes more substance. What’s terrifying, though, is Calvin’s carnivorous nature and its ability to physically and mentally adapt to its environment.
Calvin is different than life on Earth. It is able to think and uses its surroundings as a means to an end. It almost seems to follow Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, beginning from essentials to self-actualization, a dangerous path for a creature with as much potential as Calvin.
Director Daniel Espinosa puts a spin to his message though. He wants the audience to understand Calvin’s need to survive. From the few shots we see, the director wants viewers to understand Calvin’s threat simply as a form of dependence to his environment.
In one scene, when the ship has been significantly cooled to bait Calvin from hiding, the alien follows the sources of heat and clings to it with every desperation of a helpless animal. Seeing this, the audience can’t help but appreciate the beauty of life and the struggle to survive.
Dr. Derry describes Calvin’s threat as an attempt at survival, as a basic structure to any life’s core. He describes Calvin as not a defined evil, but as something that merely needs to live.
The underscoring theme of life’s struggle and the emotions the characters carry with them has made this film more appealing than I initially thought. There is an understanding between the astronauts and the alien, but the end result will dictate their fates. The need to survive is simply a race, and neither teams are willing to lose. In “Life,” the determination to live suddenly becomes the survival of the fittest.
Ten out of 10 would recommend this film to anyone interested in the realistic prospects of life, the means of growth, and the philosophical fundamentals of beauty in “Life.”