Gravity 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.