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REVIEW — “Life” Blu-ray

Much like The Sixth Sense, much hype has centered around the ultimate twist ending of Life, a taut sci-fi thriller from director Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool). In Life, a team of scientists (Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, and Rebecca Ferguson) aboard the International Space Station discover a rapidly evolving life form that threatens the crew — and all life on Earth. Life is as comparable to Alien as it is to the sci-fi classic’s iconic tagline — “In space, no one can hear you scream” — with the cosmic suspense thriller emphasizing the near-hopeless situation of a likable crew trapped in the isolated reaches of space as something inhuman is unleashed.

Life is a serviceable thriller, if not a totally memorable one: it’s an enjoyable 102 minutes, albeit one that won’t go down in celluloid history alongside it’s inspirations (namely Alien). Light on worthwhile characterization but heavy on cool special effects, Life doesn’t bring enough newness to the table for it to be a standout in the genre — it’s worth watching at least once and definitely worth revisiting (even with the often-talked about twist ending losing its surprise after an initial viewing), but some may find its sameness disappointing while others look to the familiarity as a warm blanket, choosing to ignore the tropes and cliches, snuggling up and enjoying Life for the ride it is.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents Life in the good-looking 1080p Blu-ray format (Life is also available on 4K UHD).  Academy Award nominee Seamus McGarvey’s (Atonement, Anna Karenina) sleek cinematography presents a very much intended cold and bleak look, one that sucks the life out of its scenes (ironic, of course, given the title). It makes for a drab-looking film, though its a look accurate to the drab, sterile environment that is a space station. This can make for a glossy look that, again, doesn’t lend much life to Life‘s picture, though it’s technically spot on. Overall, the 4K UHD will definitely be the better-looking of the two discs (the standard Blu-ray is the subject of this review), but Blu-ray buyers will find Life to be another quality release from Sony, whose new release Blu-ray offerings are always a treat. Where Life really shines is its DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack, which Blu-ray and home theater enthusiasts will use to test and show off their systems for years to come. When Life turns on the screams, you’ll have to resist turning down the volume.

Life includes deleted scenes, three behind-the-scenes featurettes (“Claustrophobic Terror: Creating a Thriller in Space,” “Life: In Zero G,” and “Creating Life: The Art and Reality of Calvin”) and the never before seen “Astronaut Diaries.” Rated R, Life is available on 4K UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD on June 20th.

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