The movie Gravity 2013, at the time of writing, has grossed over $700 million world wide. It stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, and directed by Alfonso Cuaron. Also, at the time of writing, it has collected up more awards than you can shake a stick at. Gravity won seven awards at the 86th Academy Awards, the most for the ceremony, including Best Directorfor Cuarón and Best Original Score, BAFTA Awards, including Outstanding British Film and Best Director, the Golden Globe Award for Best Director, and seven Critics Choice Awards, which I will at this stage pass over in silence.
Gravity is a disaster movie. Gravity is a space chase movie where the main actors are escaping orbiting space debris travelling at speed. A triumph over adversity movie. A movie about new life. A movie about the overview effect: that cognitive shift of awareness where one sees the whole of the earth before one and one experiences a kind of spiritual awareness.
In this movie the brilliant medical scientist (Bullock) and veteran astronaut (Clooney) are disconnected from mission Control, separated from their crew and blown into space due to debris flying faster than 20 thousand miles per hour. This all happens during Bullock’s first mission aboard a fictitious space shuttle mission. The shuttle is destroyed by space debris and with oxygen running low the Principals move from one derelict space station to the next till eventually Bullock lands on Earth having experienced a new lust for life and inner rebirth and gotten past the trauma of losing her daughter (despite the fact that everyone else is dead except her) –this is including her co-star.
The acting in this movie is matched only by the story I have just outlined. Even the catch phrases ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this mission’ is stolen from the brilliant movie ‘Aliens’ (1987) when Frost talks about getting a bad feeling just as the ship goes into orbital drop of LV 426.
Frost: Man, I’m telling you, I got a bad feeling about this drop.
Crowe: You always say that, Frost. You always say, “I got a bad feeling about this drop.”
Frost: Okay, okay. When we get back without you, I’ll call your folks.
Aliens is a brilliant thrilling beautifully paced action movie with a great plot and equally wonderful effects. Gravity on the other hand is an appallingly acted, appallingly scripted, poorly paced, badly written movie. It looks simply spectacular but looks in this movie are truly deceiving. One gets beautiful sweeping views of the earth, fantastically accurate shots of interiors and exteriors of space stations, lingering shots of Sandra Bullocks buttocks and gym toned body (irritating and sexist). One also gets a truly two dimensional performance from the usually excellent Clooney, who reminds one more of Buzz Lightyear than a grizzled witty thoughtful veteran Astronaut. There were so many times through the movie one longed for the demise of the principals : Burned up on re entry or blown to pieces by space debris, drowned in water or suffocated by oxygen deprivation, lost forever in space or burned alive – at least one limb cut off by debris. Thankfully Clooney suffers a merciful release, and in a truly ridiculous twist to the story. But Bullock had to survive – with nothing more than a beautifully crafted scratch on her perfectly made up face. Why? because its part of a story arc. Despite the fact she had been smashed around several space stations and flung through space and bounced off countless bulkheads, there she stands heroically on the beach: unburned, unbruised, and not a hair missing on her head.
Gravity is just so lightweight. Its a movie filled not with real emotion but sentiment, not with a powerful script but hackneyed phrases, not with acting but re acting. And the worst part was, it won all those awards.