Archive for November, 2013

Gravity Review

Posted in Film Reviews And Conversations with tags , on November 14, 2013 by Adam Broome

I’ll start by saying: This is going to become one of those films that everyone raves about at the time of it’s release, but five years down the line, after the special effects in it are featured in every single blockbuster going, people look back on and say “Actually… it wasn’t that great really, was it?”

gravity-poster

The film is essentially a disaster flick. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock (both on good form) are astronaughts who are doing a little maintenance work on the ol’ Hubble Space telescope, when Houston Control warns them that they ‘have a problem’. The Russians destroy a spy satellite with a missile, but unfortunately due to the high satellite density in the immediate surrounding area, create a cloud of ‘space debris’ in the process. This debris starts to orbit the Earth at speeds faster than sniper bullets, and subsequently hits the Hubble Space Telescope, killing all but our two survivors, and leaving them without any satellites left to use to contact Earth (or for that matter, any shuttle to land back on Earth with).

The ninety minute run time is (pardon the pun) well-spaced out – the pacing is great, and the film rarely drags. A lot of people seem to have problems with knowing that Sandra Bullock carries at least half the film by herself, but to her credit, she does an amicable job in the shoes of a rookie space engineer who goes from ‘panicking newbie’ to ‘female Bear Grylls’ in the space of three hours. Whenever her character has the potential to annoy, the effects are there to back her up, and the two come together seamlessly, with ‘Gorgeous George’ around to keep everything on track.

gravity-end

Be under no illusion – never before have I seen such unity between real life film clips and digital animation. If the green screen tricks of The Great Gatsby blew you away, you will flip out when you watch this. I don’t think there was a single person in the audience who wasn’t full-on bricking it for the first thirty minutes. What people don’t seem to mention is the brilliant use of point-of-view shots, putting us inside Bullock’s suit and allowing us to see the disorientating effects of zero-gravity first hand as she lashes out to hold onto anything at all with her two flailing arms. You’ll find yourself quickly starting to panic along with her.

Overall, I enjoyed this film. It’s an almost painfully simple plot about the need to survive, and the films Open Water and 127 Hours came to mind. With all due fairness, if it’s characterization and a solid script you’re looking for, they’re the better films to watch. What you have here is a better sense of special effects, and cinema taking it’s first steps into next-generation digital trickery. 3D is definitely recommended, if only for the awe-inspiring sense of travelling miles above the Earth (and you can throw in a few ‘flinch’ moments too for good measure). Disaster movie enthusiasts will have all their boxes ticked, and it was also nice to see a 12A film that didn’t feature a copious amount of violence.

Ridley Scott made space a terrifying place to be in 1979 by adding an alien. This film creates one of the best white-knuckle film experiences I’ve seen in a long time by simply taking one thing away.

Gravity.

7/10