Movie Review: Gravity (2013)

Posted: July 20, 2014 in Drama
Tags: ,


Russian space debris strikes the space shuttle and strands an astronaut named Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) and a medical engineer, Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) stranded in space.  The shuttle is destroyed, and both Kowalski and Stone are running out of oxygen and must get to the International Space station before they run out of oxygen, but what awaits them in the Space Station and beyond?  Does the pair make it back to Earth safely?

Gravity is a technical marvel, the question that arises is, how did director Alfonso Cuaron simulate the space sequences so spectacularly?  Movies are certainly a visual medium, and this movie has some eye-popping visuals, the view of earth from outer space, the debris hitting the Space Shuttle, the scenes in space on the whole are incredible.

But as visually arresting as Gravity is, the story is not credible, and worst of all predictable.  The characters, specifically Stone, goes from disaster to disaster, one step ahead of being blown to smithereens.  There is some thin backstory about Stone losing a child, and questioning her own desire to live, but overall, there is very little character development and plot development, and the question that occurred to me about the story was, doesn’t anybody maintain their space stations?  I’m not going to get into the space flight errors that were made in the story, because I don’t know enough about space vehicles to know better, but I read that there were errors.  In a movie as visual as this, those kind of errors should be kept to a minimum.  But I don’t need to be an astrophysicist to know when a movie is boring.

The acting is fair, but the actors aren’t given a lot to do, Bullock alternates between gasping for air, or screaming helplessly, or just floating there in space, doing summersaults.  Clooney regales Bullock with a series of stories, meant to be amusing but when delivered with Clooney’s trademark monotone, deadpan delivery, the stories turn boring.  The script tries to make light of Clooney’s pretty boy image, but fails. This movie stretches to get to its 90 minute running time, and the story is used as filler for the stunning visuals, and it’s not very entertaining filler.

When I think about the fact that there was a lot of buzz about Gravity winning a Best Picture Oscar that is galling.   Gravity is one-third of a good movie, it’s Cuaron’s visual playground, but the effects are not able to sustain a movie, with no story, and actors with very little to say.  12 Years A Slave on the other hand was based on a true story, had outstanding acting and its share of visual resonance. 12 Years a Slave was a complete film.

Gravity:  Don’t fall for it.


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