Whilst watching Gravity I couldn’t help but feel a little like Sandra Bullock; pissed off, a pretty static actor when called upon and most importantly, alone; alone in the universe as seemingly the only person who doesn’t think this is the best thing since sliced bread.
Sandra Bullock stars as Ryan, part of a astronaut crew with George Clooney who are caught in a debris storm which destroys their ship and sends Ryan plummeting not only into outer space without communication, but into effectively 90 minutes of problem after problem after problem. After all, in space, no one can hear you scream.
Performances are okay, which may seem contradictory since I just implied Bullock was pretty static. I think she was meant to be since the whole thing was pretty somber with a eerily strange tone throughout. Some may find this true to space, like Buzz Aldrin who praised the movie, but others like me who, let’s face it, know better than Buzz, found it weird and shockingly boring at times.At others though, Bullock is sufficiently good at delivering the pain of being alone and feeling like she’s destined to die. Clooney is good, he’s probably the best part of this dimension of the movie playing the suave and super talented Kowalski… so himself then. And there we have pretty much the entire cast.
The visuals are stunning, I’m not one to dispute that. While I wouldn’t go as far to say they made me feel like I was in space, it was difficult to get around the fact the whole thing wasn’t filmed on location. The physics were apparently accurate, the 3D worked well to show the intricacies and emotions of the characters instead of being a cheap gimmick for party poppers and reaching out hands. Again, if you like a movie that is pretty held-back throughout, the visuals seriously compliment this feature and make the ‘experience of space’ a pretty unforgettable one here, so well done to Cuaran on this aspect. However, shining a piece of shit and decorating it with flowers doesn’t make me want to eat it.
The plot is completely forgettable. Near the start of the movie, Ryan sets her watch to 90 minutes, giving her a time limit to evacuate to ISS safely to avoid the next wave of debris that has slingshotted around the Earth. There we have the film, a 90 minute countdown of constant problems that reach serious levels of tediousness after about 40. If something could go wrong, it did, down to an open flame just happening to be burning in the kitchen area of one of the ships. I found myself sighing and wanting the whole thing to end. I’ve already seen a movie about things going repeatedly wrong in space that was better than this… Sunshine. Going into the film thinking it was ALL about Bullock being alone and examining her physiological downfall in isolation, the disappointment that she is reunited with people after about 5 minutes tainted my impression of the whole film.
But it’s not a bad movie, is it? After all it did win Oscars. The visuals alone are enough to drag it up from one star territory and when the plot does get good, mainly through the interaction of Clooney and Bullock with a few heartfelt and inspirational moments, I’m reminded that the movie isn’t badly written either. So maybe it’s just not my cup of tea… or box of disgusting astronaut stale ice-cream. Maybe the hype was far, far too overblown. But when Gravity ended and the credits started rolling, I checked the information guide to make sure I’d just watched the same film everyone had been talking about since it’s release.
However, maybe I’ll see more of it in the second viewing, if I ever give it one. I’m sure it has a lot more to say than what I heard.
Impressive visuals but a less than impressive story, Gravity suffers from it’s own praise. We may not be alone, but I seem to be.