Viewed – 15 August 2017 online rental
Science-fiction has become one of my favourite genres, with such gems as The Martian and Interstellar impressing me. There seems to have been a bit of a resurgence in such movies, albeit stepping away from the flights of fantasy we’ve seen and instead focusing on a more semi-realistic tone. The same can be said for this latest space-set thriller starring amongst others, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds.
A team of astronauts orbiting the earth reprieve a probe that has been on it’s way back from Mars, and discover a life form within it’s gathered soil samples. Nurturing said life form in an incubator, the astronauts try to figure out how it responds and whether it’s harmless or deadly. I’m guessing you probably know the answer to that one, huh?
I got a serious Alien vibe from this but stripped down to actual realistic space travel and science rather than H R Giger inspired horror aesthetics. The creature, nicknamed Calvin is initially cute but eventually shudder creepy-crawly, and as the scientists attempt to contain it, this set into action some seriously well done thrills. It’s not a subject that breathes new life into a tired genre but it’s done well, has some genuinely heart-in-mouth moments and is topped off by decent effects work (but for the occasional obvious CGI monster) and great set design that transported me right there … and I didn’t want to be there. Gyllenhaal, considering his usual brilliance is a little side-lined and the star of this turns out to be Rebecca Ferguson who is very good. Ryan Reynolds seems like he’s just playing Ryan Reynolds, but the rest of the cast do a decent job. It’s also a movie, despite it’s familiarity that still managed to keep me gripped and wondering how it might end, and in this day and age that has to be commended.
Verdict: 4 /5