So with the Oscars right around the corner and ten movies on the “Best Picture” list, I figured it was time to start checking some of these out. Granted I’ve waited long enough for all the hype to sink in, which is therefore going to mean that this post will probably piss off some people, but that’s why I write. “Gravity” was pretty good…but definitely not Oscar worthy in my mind.
Ok now that some of you are teeming with anger, let’s press on. The Academy loves to honor films that really push actor’s limits, whether physically or because they’re pretty much the only person on screen. The latter happens to be the case for “Gravity”, as we find ourselves joining Sandra Bullock for about 3/4 of the movie, and I’m pretty sure the soundtrack could’ve been recorded by the Williams’ sisters with all the grunting. Basic outline is this (if you couldn’t gather it from the trailer/poster): Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are two astronauts repairing the hubble space telescope when they are informed that some Russians blew up a defunct satellite which in turn creates a chain reaction of debris to get caught in Earth’s gravitational pull. What this means is that a bunch of sharp crap is going to be flying towards our heroes at Superman speeds. Naturally things go bad and Stone becomes untethered in space.
There’s your story.
So yeah, the plot is pretty good because it keeps you on edge. When it’s one-on-one like that you tend to feel like you’re right there experiencing the fear that the character is feeling. “Gravity” did a pretty good job with that, and there’s nothing wrong with it…it just felt empty. This is not meant to undermine Sandra Bullock’s acting in anyway, I just felt that by the end of the movie I could’ve guessed the whole thing without watching it. And George Clooney was in the film for maybe a minute so it makes you wonder if he was just attached to give it more traction. Again, not a bad movie by any means, just not something I would root for at the Oscars.
I’m sure I could do some deeper research into “Space movies that have won Academy Awards” to see how they’ve fared in the past, but I don’t get paid to do this. So instead I’ll focus on seeing it without the “Oscar” connotation. The action crops up pretty fast, and watching satellite debris tear through the telescope is pretty awesome. I’ve never been in space (duh) but I can’t say it’s at the top of my list when things like that can occur. After Stone is broken loose from her tether we get to listen to Kowalski calm her down with idle chit-chat about where they’re from. I’m pretty sure that if I were floating through space that it’d take a bit more than “So what’s Tulsa like this time of year?” to keep me from screaming to death. After awhile Kowalski finally catches up to Stone using thrusters and they make their way towards the International Space Station (which inconveniently blew up in “Armageddon”). But of course nothing in space is easy, so once they reach the ISS a new set of problems arise, such as the fact that the earlier debris is still caught in Earth’s pull, which means HEY! It’s coming back for round two. So essentially, the movie starts all over again and we are forced to watch as Sandra Bullock and George Clooney make it painfully obvious that space sucks.
There you have it, I know I tend to do “in a nutshell” reviews but this almost covered the entire film without giving away spoilers. It’s said that the Oscars are all politics anyway so who knows, but when the credits started to roll both my roommate and I looked at each other and said, “Well it was good…but it wasn’t Oscar good.”
DIRECTOR’S CUT: Great acting with awesome voice work by Ed Harris, and entertaining to say the least, but just leaves you a bit empty afterwards.
FLICKCHART RATING: 547/2071