Whether you choose to overlook the accusations of whitewashing levied against Paramount’s upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie is entirely up to you, but there are certainly some who are rooting for the film to open doors for other anime projects. Studios aren’t exactly hot-spots for innovative thinking; if Ghost in the Shell bombs next weekend, there will no-doubt be executives at Paramount who claim the only real lesson is that American audiences don’t like Anime. That would be a real blow to fans of the long-gestating adaptation of Akira, the seminal 1988 animated movie by Katsuhiro Otomo that has been an inspiration to countless science fiction movies and television shows that follow.
While Life may sometimes seem like a loving collaboration of used parts — a dash of Alien, a dollop of Gravity, a pinch of every ’90s monster movie your parents still have on VHS in their attic — there is one element of the movie that is Life and Life’s alone: that ending. If you haven’t seen the film yet, now would be a good time to stop reading, because we’re going to get into the nuts and bolts of what made that Life ending work.
After a daring and dangerous rescue mission, the crew of the International Space Station recovers soil samples that contain the first incontrovertible proof of that alien life exists. They nurture the sample, a single living cell, until it grows into an adorable amorphous blob. The whole world is obsessed with their discovery. A little girl names it Calvin during a worldwide live broadcast from Times Square. The crew is smitten with their new passenger.
In the annals of pop culture, encounters between humankind and our intergalactic neighbors have not gone well. Either the extraterrestrials arrive armed to the teeth and immediately get to work vaporizing everyone in sight — your War of the Worlds model — or homo sapiens play the aggressor and fly into a violent frenzy of premature retribution, only to discover too late that the aliens have come in peace — think The Day the Earth Stood Still. Today brings a first look at yet another film about what life forms await curious space explorers, and true to form, even the single-cell organisms know enough to try to exterminate humanity.
The root cause behind the relative longevity of the Mission: Impossible franchise is how each installment adds new delights to the familiar formula. Ethan Hunt and the IMF do pretty much the same thing in each of the five films in the series — recon, planning, Tom Cruise runs somewhere, sex scene, Tom Cruise drives a car off a cliff, Tom Cruise runs somewhere else except now he’s shirtless, you ge