Friday, December 23, 2016

Sci Fi Top 100, #59: "Gravity" (2013)

Movie Stats:
Released 2013 (Italy)
American & British, in English (several instances of non-translated foreign languages)
Director - Alfonso Cuaron
Stars - Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

Plot Summary:
After an accident leaves newbie astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) stranded in space, and cut off from contact with her superiors, she must find a way to return to Earth. Clooney co-stars as fellow astronaut Matt Kowalski.

Violence; minor gore; blue language.

Bad Stuff:
I think I’m in the extreme minority with this opinion, but I find this movie pretty dull. I feel like it’s mostly just an hour and a half of listening to Sandra Bullock breathe frantically, scream, and groan.

Some of the imagery is really overbearing/pretentious. My particular beef is with the “womb scene,” which made me roll my eyes SO HARD the first time I saw it. The frog in the water is pretty silly too.

It rides the thin edge of “I believe that character would actually be able to do that.” A few times, it crosses that line. If it wasn’t well established that Dr. Stone is very inexperienced, I would find it more believable.

Good Stuff:
Finally, a sci fi movie with a female lead! I have to admit I’ve been getting pretty sick of typing up my summaries and having to list the only females in the film as either the male lead’s love interest or the male lead’s assistant.

It does a great job of creating atmosphere. For example, the panic that Dr. Stone feels throughout much of the film is palpable. You feel it along with her. [SPOILER-ish] I was also moved by the scene where she gives up and accepts that she’s going to die. I’ve never come that close to death, but I’ve read a lot of stories from people who have and this scene rang very true. [SPOILER]

I really liked the soundtrack.

The Verdict:
Everyone but me seems to love this film. I certainly don’t think it’s bad. I’m just not enamored by it the way a lot of people seem to be. To me, it’s a fairly standard sci fi thriller. Low on character development, low on plot, high on the “if it can go wrong, it will go wrong” scale. I think where it excels is in the creation of atmosphere. You feel like you’re there right along with Dr. Stone.

I’ve heard people say that you can’t get the full impact of “Gravity” without seeing it on the big screen (I never did). To me, a great film should be able to transcend the method of delivery. I shouldn’t have to go to a theater to connect with a movie. So I don’t really like that argument, and it certainly doesn’t sway me to the “this is great” side. For me, it’s on the lower end of the “good” side.

I give it 3.25 stars.


Patricia said...

I do make a point to see some films on the big screen because I think they have their best impact there. I saw Gravity this way and it was engrossing. I felt like I barely breathed for the entire run of the movie. I can see if I watched it at home, in a well-lighted room, with a list of chores to do and the cats wanting attention, it might not have quite the pull. I've also heard the 3-D version is worth watching, but I haven't seen that one.

I liked that this was a problem-to-be-solved movie and a woman was doing the problem solving. I totally agree with you about the rebirth scene. Too much! Dial it back, Cuaron! Dial it back!

balyien said...

I have to admit that I hate 3D and am pleased that the trend seems to be dying.