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Life (2017) Poster

(I) (2017)

Goofs

Jump to: Continuity (3)  | Factual errors (16)  | Incorrectly regarded as goofs (2)  | Plot holes (8)  | Revealing mistakes (5)  | Spoilers (5)

Continuity 

When Sho is approaching the "rescue pod" and the breach happens Miranda and David are having a hard time not to get sucked out into outer space. Yet at the end of the scene they effortlessly float back into the main part of the space station.
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Right after Rory tells Hugh 'you are gonna be a father', Hugh leans back and his hands are NOT inside the gloves he is using to get Calvin to react.
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In early scenes, Sho's wedding band is very thin. When he is trapped in the sleeping pod, it is noticeably wider and thicker.
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Factual errors 

In the opening scene, the view of outer space from the International Space Station shows twinkling stars. Stars do not actually twinkle in the way we see them, but the twinkling is an optical illusion of the light from stars being refracted by the earth's atmosphere.
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As demonstrated by the fires on Apollo 1 and the Mir space stations, open flames are so dangerous they would NEVER be used inside the space station - for any reason.
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They state that Calvin was a carbon-based organism. That means that Calvin should have burned up when Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds) tried to use a 'flame thrower' on Calvin.
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At one point the space stations orbit is degrading and the thrusters are fired to put it back into a stable orbit. To accomplish this the thrusters seem to fire down or towards the earth, this is incorrect, to gain altitude they would need to orbit faster so the thrust would be from the back accelerating them into a higher more stable orbit.
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Some of the labels in Russian are incorrect. Miranda North's shield is literally translated into Russian as "Miranda Sever" (of course, in Cyrillic variant of this spelling). However surnames are not translated, and the shield in Russian should be either "Miranda Nors" or "Miranda Nort" (depending on the tradition of spelling English "th"). Also "Celsius" on temperature detectors was translated as "Celsiyu" (in Cyrillic; that means "by Celcius"); the real detector would be labeled as just "ºC".
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Much like in Gravity everything is moving around as if it had little or no mass. Navigating a human body in micro gravity is a difficult task and must be done with great care. In this movie (as in others) the astronauts are flitting around like squirrels, stopping their motion and changing direction effortlessly. In real life, moving at those speeds would cause serious injury. A few times they even stop without grabbing anything. A related annoyance is the way the doors manually open and close effortlessly in no time at all as if they are made from nothing. Still, they manage to keep the creature out.
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When they are attempting to revive Hugh, they get a pulse back and someone says, "we have a pulse. Sinus brady, 98bpm." Brady is short for bradycardia which always indicates a heart rate of <60bpm (beats per minute). So if his bpm is 98, it would not be sinus brady, it would be Normal sinus rhythm.
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The scene where Hugh is unconscious (after Calvin crushes his hand) and floats away from the containment box, his hand slumps down like in a normal gravity situation instead of floating just like the rest of his body.
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At the beginning of the film, sounds can be heard when the Pilgrim capsule is hit by debris, and other sounds can be heard in other scenes in the space vacuum. In the vacuum of space, there's no air and so sound waves cannot propagate.
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Early in the film, it is stated that the ISS has been in operation for 30 years or around that long. That would make the film set some time between 2028 and 2030. David later states that he remembers the Challenger explosion and that school was let out early because of it. That event occurred January 1986, meaning David would have to be somewhere around 45-50 years old for him to have been in school when that event happened. His appearance certainly doesn't show it, and the actor Jake Gyllenhaal was in fact born in 1980, was 5 years old when the Challenger disaster happened, and was 36 when the movie was released.
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At the beginning of the film, Ryan Reynolds goes outside to manually capture the probe returning from Mars. Given the actual speed of the probe is greater than the speed of the Space station, it would have been impossible for him to see let alone capture the probe.
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Capturing an object in space is a delicate, highly controlled, very precise set of maneuvers. At the beginning, the crew captures the "capsule" ejected from Mars at a velocity that would have easily destroyed the capture arm and anything connected to it.
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In the movie three countries, USA, Russia and China are credited with funding the $200 billion dollar International Space Station (ISS). In reality China never contributed to building ISS. In fact China has been barred from the ISS since 2011 when the US Congress passed a law prohibiting official American contact with the Chinese space program due to concerns about national security.
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The astronaut "North" has her name in Russian below her English name. It is shown translated as the Russian word "Sever" which means the direction North. A name would surely be translated phonetically into Cyrillic, not fully translated into its Russian equivalent. This would look more like "HOPO" (with a vertical line through the last "O" to give the character for "F" (closest to "th" in Cyrillic).
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Soyuz spacecraft take at least six hours to reach the International Space Station, rather the hour or so shown in the movie.
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When Calvin grabs Hugh's hand, a drop of sweat in his forehead is shown behaving as in normal gravity environment.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

The movie shows "Calvin" being attracted to and consuming oxygen from the lures they used to get it to the lifeboat as well as stating many times that since it is carbon-based, it needs it the way humans do. "Calvin" is from Mars where the atmosphere is 98% carbon dioxide. While there wouldn't be enough oxygen on modern Mars for the survival of the creature, it's explained throughout the film that it had been hibernating for possibly millions of years, since a period in which Mars had higher oxygen levels.
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The crew attempts to kill Calvin by venting all oxygen to space. While the creature does survive for a few minutes outside the ship, it's explained that it needs oxygen for longer periods and would have eventually died outside the station.
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Plot holes 

Given the concern about firewalls, it's unlike the CO2 system would 1) have outlets that needed to be closed one at a time, and 2) be interconnected to the main space station.
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The pod in which the Calvin is entrapped has the oxygen vented from it so that it is a vacuum inside the module. Assuming Sho Murakami could even have opened the door, the explosive force of the oxygen entering the module should have blasted him across the room and either killed him or severely injured him when he struck the other end of the module.
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Officials back on earth are obviously very concerned about aliens returning to earth and would have procedures in place to destroy the lifeboats before they landed.
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Given the concerns about isolating the lab from the main space station, it's probable that they would have protocols in place that specifically required them to leave injured or "contaminated" astronauts in the lab in case of containment breaches.
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It would be elementary to have the 'quarantine lab' physically detached from the rest of the ISS. (Spoiling the plot, of course.)

For that matter, why not have an entirely separate laboratory? One not in danger of orbital decay.
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Venting oxygen would create thrust that would change the station's orbital trajectory.

The film has the astronauts screw up the trajectory while playing with the thrusters - but ignores the thrust created by the venting.
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The experiments done on the ISS could easily have been done by the Mars Lander that collected the samples. Experiments to find life on Mars were in fact done by Viking 1 in 1976, and viewed as negative.
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If the testing lab was really quarantined it's fireproof vents shouldn't be connected to the rest of the ship. The water/gas supply could've been stored in a tank in the same compartment.
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Revealing mistakes 

Rory tries to kill "Calvin" with a handheld flamethrower. In a micro-gravity environment such as the International Space Station, and without any sort of anchor or tether having been attached, each time he fires a burst, Rory should be thrust backward, directly opposite his weapon's aim.
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Despite moderate quantities of blood floating around following deaths, none of it splashes onto surfaces.
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Early in the film Dr. Jordan (Gyllenhaal) is depicted floating weightlessly through the space station carrying his electronic tablet/device in his hand. At one point, when he sets his tablet down on a nearby workstation, the way the corner of his tablet drops from his hand reveals that he is obviously in a gravity environment where the tablet actually has weight.
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When David takes manual control of the life boat to steer it towards deep space, the display already shows the trajectory for the override before he touches the joystick.
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When in the communal area (while Sho is watching his wife giving birth), various objects handled by the characters do not behave as though in a zero gravity environment - Ekaterina sets a photograph on the table, and the pages in David's book do not float.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Character error 

After Calvin crushes Dr. Derry's hand it just hangs limply to show that it has been severely broken. Since they are in a "zero G" environment his hand should actually float along like the rest of his body.
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Factual errors 

David's pod couldn't have survived re-entry on its own as earlier Miranda has disabled the David's pod automatic flight plan back to earth thus giving him manual control. Re-entry is a complex maneuver that requires computer assistance and control along with complex calculations and specific set of re-entry angle. Just using a joystick to control the pod wouldn't work on re-entry as slight deviations will cause the pod to breakup or simply bounce back up to space.
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Miscellaneous 

One of the contingency plans if the creature escapes is to send the space station in to "deep space". It's not clear what they mean by this as the term has no strict scientific meaning but it likely means an even higher orbit than the ISS's. A Soyuz capsule likely wouldn't be up to the job: it took the massive Saturn V launch vehicle to push the comparatively tiny Apollo vehicles in to this sort of orbit.
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Plot holes 

Even if the crew's plan to use the escape pod to send the creature into deep space had succeeded, the Space Station still contained the Martian samples which would have crashed to earth along with the station. The samples no doubt contain more of Calvin's "friends" in deep hibernation.
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When the fishermen open the capsule at the end, its surface should have been blistering hot, enough to prevent them from handling it and to cause serious injuries to anyone touching it.
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