Life UltraHD Blu-ray Review

Summary: Life is an intense sci-fi thriller about a team of scientists aboard the International Space Station whose mission of discovery turns to one of primal fear when they find a rapidly evolving life-form that caused extinction on Mars, and now threatens the crew and all life on earth.

UltraHD Specs
Studio: Sony Pictures
Title: Life
Audio: Dolby Atmos
Negative Formats: ARRIRAW (3.4K), ALEXA 65
Digital Intermediate: 2K
Peak Brightness: 4000 nits
MPAA Rating: R
Length: 104 Minutes
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds
Review Date: June 21, 2017
Price: $24.99

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Movie Review: Life starts out fast, with the crew in a panic about the returning satellite from Mars having been damaged. After retrieving the satellite, they start to try to revive cells from the Martian soil. Of course, this goes horribly wrong, as the cells they bring back to life develop rapidly. The concept gets a little more lost there, as the life form seems to thrive in an Earth-like atmosphere, but it also seems to grow up almost instantly with no childhood or other developmental stages.

Life is similar to Alien, with a crew trapped on a ship and with someone on there trying to kill them. Doing a decent version of Alien makes for a decent film, and Life is a good film. I’m not a fan of films of the genre, I just don’t enjoy being scared for a couple straight hours, but I overall enjoyed Life more than I expected to.

Technical Review: The specs note that Life has a 3.2K digital intermediate, but that is misleading. The DI was done at 2398×1556 resolution, which people might note as 2.4K resolution, or perhaps 2.6K when we refer to 3840 pixels wide as 4K. Technicalities aside, Life looks very good on UHD Blu-ray. The film takes good advantage of HDR in outer space, giving us multiple scenes of the International Space Station against a sunrise. Various lights and buttons in the ISS are also brighter, with space fields looking wonderful on an OLED.

Close-ups reveal lots of detail compared to the Blu-ray version. When you see facial stubble you can see individual hairs, though a couple of times there appears to be a big of extra sharpening going on. WCG use is not as noticeable in the more pale, drab space station interiors but does get used with the sunrise and exteriors.

The Atmos soundtrack is just fantastic. It is quiet when it should be but explodes from the speakers when the film calls for it. The sense of dread it builds while you watch and putting those creepy sounds into the height channels only makes it worse. Movies in tight, confined spaces where something can be moving all around you are wonderful choices for Atmos soundtracks, and Life delivers.

Special Features: Deleted Scenes and three featurettes.

Review System: 65” Sony A1E OLED, Oppo UDP-203 UltraHD Blu-ray Player, KEF Ci5160RL-THX Fronts, Ci3160RL-THX Center, 2x Ci200RR-THX Surrounds, 4x CI200RR-THX Atmos Speakers, Anthem MRX 1120 Receiver.

Review Summary
Title: Life UltraHD Blu-ray
Reviewer:
Pros: Great use of HDR and WCG, wonderful soundtrack, good overall film.
Cons: Source resolution isn't 4K.
Summary: If you're after a film in the style of Alien, then Life does a good job of that while looking and sounding spectacular.
Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 5/5
Movie: 3.5/5

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