But then people – well, critics – started talking about it. Praising it would be closer to the truth. It was a film that you really had to see in 3D, a technical and emotional masterpiece. Even my local cinema manager warned me after coming out of Captain Phillips and about to head straight into Gravity, that she was worried that I might have a heart attack, going from seeing the second most intense film of the year and straight away going to see the most intense film of the year.
She needn’t have worried.
Whilst Gravity might be a technical marvel, when it comes down to it, it’s just a Michael Bay film, set in space, directed by a much more capable director. As for the 3D, it’s business as usual, in other words a waste of time. Though in some scenes it was effective, in others it was ignored. Rather than having loose cheese pieces float towards you in 3D, Alfonso Cuarón utalises traditional film making techniques and lets them go out of focus. So what was the point of filming in 3D again?
But onto the film, if you’ve seen the trailer, you know it’s a disaster film on an epic scale. And just like the film, where there is so much space debris that it’s bound to hit something, this review is bound to have a spoiler or two in it. You have been warned.
The film starts with Dr Ryan Stone (Bullock) trying to fix a software issue on the Hubble. She’s a little clumsy because it’s her first time in space. She’s a doctor not an astronaut. Retirement bound Matt (Clooney) however is an astronaut, and is enjoying his time floating above earth, secretly hoping that Stone takes as long as possible, so he can beat the world record for the longest space walk. Don’t worry Matt, you’ll soon get your wish.
Cocky and self assured as ever (and in typical Clooney style) Matt is to say the least, a little annoying. But not as annoying as Dr Stone, who is set up from the outset to be a helpless little woman.
So when the shit hits the fan, it’s Matt rescuing Stone. And when it hits again, it’s Stone being clumsy, slow or any other “the time is ticking down” technique to try and stir your heart rate.
Now there are some truly tense moments, but these are all but destroyed by the stupidity of Stones actions, her lack of appreciation for what is happening, and the total suspension of belief required to get through the films entirety. The only moment of satisfaction in the whole film is when Matt decides to sacrifice himself so that ditsy Stone has a chance at making it back alive.
Cue Stone’s re-birth. Both as a visual metaphor and in her character. She’s still really stupid and needs Matt’s help, but at least she now has a notion of getting the job done, so to speak.
The thing that Gravity excels at boils down to this – you never get tired of looking at stunning images of earth from space, from seeing the sun rise. It is a visual feast. The explosions might be a technical achievement – maybe there will be an Oscar for the most pieces of flying shrapnel on screen at one time – but when it comes down to it, we’ve all seen it before in a hundred other Hollywood blockbusters.
Sure, Cuarón’s handle on how zero gravity works is nice. At times the film seems almost authentic and believable. The issue is, when you take away the nice visuals and heart pumping explosions, you’ll left with two characters than you have zero emotional attachment with. Sure, Stone plays the “my kid died” card, but if you have to play that, you’ve already lost. And Matt plays his Roger Murtaugh role well, but you don’t shed a single tear for him. Stone does, but you wont.
So Gravity essentially is an emotionally bankrupt, Sunday drive of a film. Sure you’ll see some nice scenery, but you’ll have to endure your grandmothers driving.
Rating: M Offensive language and content that may disturb.