Gravity Review: You Don't Have to be High, But It Would Help

Long since passed are what I call my “college years” and with it passed my interest in mind altering chemicals. However I can feel the slightest pang of jealousy for the stoner in line for the new Sandra Bullock, George Clooney film Gravity, which opened last week, because seeing this movie high MUST BE AWESOME! It will surely join the ranks of Pink Floyd’s The Wall, The Wizard of Oz, and Fantasia on every burnout’s DVD shelf. That being said, only a drug addled mind would be completely satisfied by this movie.

For the sober among us the movie will be a thrill ride, and little more. One hell of an amazing ride, but ultimately (like a roller coaster) I wound up exactly where I began. I was not on a journey, I was on a track. Safe, predictable, breathtakingly exciting. When the combat high of the viewing wore off, I was left a little empty and perhaps slightly woozy.

gravity-debris

The masterful camera work by director Alfonso Cuarón (who has given us the best Harry Potter film and Children of Men) is nothing short of virtuosity. Seriously. I can not stress enough that (visually speaking), this film has raised the bar in every conceivable way. It will stand among Star Wars, The Matrix and (dare I say it) Avatar as a film we can point to and say “that’s when it all started to change”. However, unlike those films it did nothing but under-deliver on the story section of it’s report card.

The casting choices were just about as safe as humanly possible. George Clooney as Astronaut Matt Kowalski, has all the calm confidence of … well… George Clooney. Aside from wearing a space suit and having a paper thin back story, he could just be playing himself up there or perhaps his character from Up in the Air finally getting those final airline miles he so desperately sought. Sandra Bullock on the other hand, as the central Dr. Ryan Stone is given a slightly more fleshed out back story involving the loss of a child (which was the only point I found unbelievable on an otherwise meticulously researched film: surely Astronauts are subject to psychological background tests… wouldn’t this disqualify her for space? I digress), which was THE ONLY anchor to some sort of humanity that the film had, other than the will to survive. Bullock is good in this film. She acts well, and she looks great. I believed her as a Astronaut (aside from the aforementioned missed psychological testing). Good. Not great. I will feel robbed come Oscar time if she, or Clooney are even nominated. These performances just don’t have enough to chew on. They are scared, and weightless, and sure that must be a difficult environment to act in, but really… there is NO character here whatsoever. I can’t say exactly what would have fixed this problem, and perhaps the goals of the film were met triumphantly. Either way, we can’t exactly call it a character study, can we?

What do hippies say when they run out of pot? … Damn this music sucks. The score was very annoying in it’s predictability and plain vanilla employment, and was highly distracting to me during Bullocks prayer scene. I could almost picture the editor saying “Cue the orchestra!” and a sweaty conductor slicking back his wild hair while frantically gesticulating that this was the part of the film when his musicians should “build the swell”. Score = cliche. However, I must commend the sound design, which used silence and sound like a paintbrush that added to every second of the film!

Despite these shortcomings I DO highly recommend this film. I believe it IS Oscar worthy for its special effects, and for that reason alone. It seems that for every thing that was amazing, there were lazy shortcuts, and perhaps when making a film of this ambition, shortcuts are a necessary evil.

Matt K’s Grade: 3 Jaws out of 4. – Go see it, and swing by your college buddies pad first.

Gravity

SPOILERS AHEAD… YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

Note: One last bit that I haven’t seen in any other reviews. Set aside the question “Why does the poster say ‘Don’t Let Go’, when the whole movie is about Ryan Stone letting go of her past and moving on?” Set that aside.

There is a moment in the film where, not so subtly, Bullock’s character collapses in the airlock and curls up into a fetal position complete with space suit umbilical cord. As I mentioned this is NOT subtle. Some have seemed to take this as a nod to 2001: A Space Odyssey, and perhaps it was. OR, perhaps there are more clues throughout the film that point to a deeper meaning to this shot. I submit that the whole film may have a theme of rebirth. There is the womb shot, rough reentry into Earths atmosphere is child birth, there is the “breaking water” when she opens the hatch of her pod in the ocean, she then crawls before she walks….. Whoah dude… I just like, blew my own mind. 🙂

 

Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Thanks for checking out CinemaJaw’s blog!
Feel free to drop us an email if you would like to get in touch for any reason at MattAndRy@cinemajaw.com

‘Til then…Keep on Jawin’ About the Movies!

Matt K. on Twitter
Ry The Movie Guy on Twitter
Eliaz Rodriguez on Twitter
CinemaJaw on Twitter

Filed under: Reviews

Tags: Bullock, CinemaJaw, Clooney, Gravity, Reviews

Leave a comment