Alfonso Cuarón’s “Gravity” Review and Trailer

Gravity-Image-2two-stars1Gravity is visually spectacular, a great concept, and a complete failure at being anything other than a mindless popcorn flick. It’s a space movie produced by lifetime and directed by Michael Bay.

Let’s start with the good. The concept of the film is something I love like no other: Floating in space, completely isolated, trying to figure out how to survive. That’s all the foreplay I need. Ticket sold, let’s get started.

The visuals are stunning and this is the first film I’ve truly enjoyed watching in 3D. Watching space shrapnel zing by at super sonic speed is intense, but what makes the movie an experience is the way it transports you into a space setting that only a lucky few ever get to experience. Director Alfonso Cuarón is, without a doubt, a master of cinematic visuals.

Now the bad.

Right of the bat you have a huge casting mistake. George Clooney, whom I love, and Sandra Bullock, whom I hate, belong nowhere near this film. This should have been a film of unknowns. There is too much film baggage tied to them for them to pull these roles off. Maybe the idea was to use filmgoers already existent emotions towards them to instantly create a bond with the characters. What ever the idea behind it, it failed.

Now we get Clooney as Clooney-in-space and Bullock as a shallow in-over-her-head female who needs his help to keep cool and eventually find her inner strength. These characters are painfully bad and just ramble on through the course of the film. They don’t say anything remotely interesting or meaningful and completely fail to build the characters in any way. I would have had very little, if any, emotional response to them being torn apart by sizzling space junk.

Then we have the plot. It feels like you’re playing a low budget, NASA made, over-the-top space simulator intended for a ten-year-old. “Mission complete… but wait, a new unexpected problem has occurred!” Slow it down, we’re already happy just to be floating around in space, we don’t need an action objective based plot.

No matter how I look at this film I just don’t like it. If it’s an action film, why does it miserably attempt to develop its characters? If it’s a character study, why do we not study the characters? If it’s a visual exercise, why do we have characters at all? If it’s a drama, why does it use generic characters in an action style plot? If it’s some kind of genre bender, then why didn’t it bend genres? Any way I try to slice it the film comes up with a bad grade.

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Categories: Reviews

2 Comments on “Alfonso Cuarón’s “Gravity” Review and Trailer”

  1. Adam Cuttler
    October 16, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    I’m pleading with you, Nick. At least find it in your heart to bump this up to three stars, for the visuals alone, which you said you loved.

    Also, though I strongly disagree with you as far as ratings go (I gave it a 5), I have to admit you make a solid point as to why it didn’t work for you and I agree, it would have been better with non-familiar actors. Either that or Woody Allen in both Bullock’s and Clooney’s part.

  2. October 16, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    Good review. While I happen to disagree with your overall judgment, it’s well written. And it’s one of few critiques that point out the movie’s shortcomings. I respect that.

    Interesting comment about Bullock. There was actually a long list of A-listers considered before her (all of whom ultimately backed out). For a blockbuster like this one, though, I think she was a smart choice. General public opinion of her tends to be positive, and when you’ve got a movie like this that requires a likable lead to drive the plot, you also need someone familiar.

    Personally, I loved her in this. And I haven’t always in the past.

    As far as dialogue. I agree that it’s not particularly creative or compelling. BUT i think it’s perfectly functional. If we’re not hearing some scene-setting space jargon, we’re learning the essential details of the character’s past. What makes me root for Ms. Bullock is not what she says, it’s what she does. Down to the final minute, she pushes. I loved watching her fight.

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