Warning: this review contains spoilers
I was excited to see the movie Gravity starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney ever since I saw mention of it on Geek Tyrant. I knew little about the movie except that it took place in space and was a disaster survival film. I saw the first trailer before I saw Jobs and I thought it looked amazing.
Some of my friends saw it as a sneak preview or on opening night, and they were very positive. Another friend of mine remarked, “movie of the year. Maybe the decade.”
Sedagive? and I saw Gravity yesterday, and while I didn’t dislike the movie, it isn’t nearly as good as people make it out to be.
Written by father and son team Alfonso and Jonas Cuarón (who curiously has been mentioned less and less in the media as the film gets reviewed), Gravity is ostensibly about astronauts who fall victim to a storm of space debris. Bits of satellites rocket towards the astronauts’s space shuttle at the beginning of the film, and strikes again every 90 minutes.
What the film is really about, however, is Sandra Bullock’s character getting over the death of her daughter and learning to survive and be independent.
In order for her to get there, the Cuaróns subject her to every over-used cinematic trope to form a connection between her weak, wooden character and the audience. Let’s review:
- Sudden catastrophe
- Horrific death of other crew members
- Flirting / love interest with a handsome man
- Dead baby
- Last minute grab before falling off something high (or in this case, floating into space)
- Death by suffocation
- Death by fire
- Death by drowning
- Not enough gas to escape / disabled escape vehicle
- Ghostly advice / help from beyond
- Last minute religion
- Noble but unnecessary death by a male to save a female
- Being alone
I could probably type out a few more but I’m getting irritated with the film again and you get my point. Gravity is terribly unoriginal. I feel like the Cuaróns did not know how to take an awesome idea and turn it into a 91 minute film, so they threw every terrifying thing they could think of and hoped that it worked.
The special effects were very hit or miss. We saw it in standard definition 2D, and there were times that the computer generated effects were very noticeable. They tried to do a good job with Bullock and Clooney in space but at times their faces had that rubbery look found in mid-budget video game cut scenes. Then again, that could just be Bullock and Clooney’s typical acting style.
There’s a scene near the end of the movie when Bullock just wants to die. She turns off everything in her escape pod and starts venting the air from the module. From this point on I kept checking my watch, hoping that my 91 minutes were up so I could do something else. I laughed the third time her character had to grab the last scrap of space debris to keep from flying off into space. With so many reused tropes the movie became a joke to me, and I couldn’t wait for it to end.
As with most 3D movies, Gravity had several scenes that existed only to show off 3D effects. For example, Bullock’s character drops a bolt early in the film, and it floats towards the screen before being caught by Clooney. When investigating the devastated space shuttle a Marvin the Martian toy floats across the screen. Gratuitous, but hey if you’re already grasping for straws might as well throw in some 3D effects.
The space scenes looked really awesome, and Gravity gives you plenty of opportunity to take them in. This is the only part of the movie I wish I saw in higher definition. There are some shots of the International Space Station that looked awesome and I wish I saw them in IMAX or similar.
Gravity had some nail-biting moments and some of the space effects were fun. However, let’s not over-hype this movie and call a spade a spade: Gravity is a Lifetime movie set in space.