Movie Review: Gravity (2013)

Gravityby Brad Nelson   3/25/14
“I had that sinking feeling.” “I couldn’t weight for it to end.” I was thinking up all kinds of gravity puns while waiting for this highly over-rated turkey to end. No need to read this review. It will just be one long “WTF?”

But, of course, I need to tell you why it sucked. And similar to the counseling they do for victims of trauma, I also need to talk myself down a little as well. I went into this film expecting to like it. Oh, I knew full well that it wasn’t the second coming of 2001: A Space Odyssey. But it sounded like a good, brainless popcorn flick. A chance for an afternoon of harmless fun.

But all it had was brainless. Remember when Renée Zellweger in Jerry Maguire said, “You had me at ‘hello'” to Tom Cruise? Well, this movie lost me at “Why the hell couldn’t Sandra Bullock hold onto George Clooney at the end of the tether in a completely weightless environment?”

Later, as the mission specialist (aka, not a friggin’ astronaut or pilot), Bullock is able to pilot a Russian spacecraft, and later a Chinese one. And all by playing “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” with the buttons on the control panel with labels written in a language she can’t read. And that’s only scratching the surface of the torrent of implausible things in this film.

This is a movie you have to watch on the level of a baby who is lying on his back in a crib looking up and marveling at all the brightly-colored shiny things that are somehow suspended magically in the air above him and that keep moving, moving, moving — what we call a Fisher-Price mobile. In order to watch Gravity, you don’t just have to suspend disbelief. You have to totally leave your brain at the door. You have to be enamored by little more than shiny things moving, moving, moving on the screen in front of you.

And you need to keep all of your brain at the door, even that part that you normally keep in reserve for shallow (but watchable) popcorn movies. This movie fails on every conceivable level. The acting is poor. The dialogue is horrible. The inane banter between the astronauts makes you want to reach for the valve to open your suit in the vacuum of space. (Now I know why Clooney got out of this film early.) The only good thing you can say for this movie (typical of today’s mindless bobbles) is the special effects. The one truly notable scene is watching the International Space Station get ripped apart by space debris. Cool.

Other than that, collect all the original prints of this and flush them down the toilet. There is nothing worth saving. And yet, incredibly, this movie made a gob of money and was generally highly praised by my friends (and, no, I haven’t moved on to other friends, but we need some sort of an intervention to set things straight again).

Gravity is the kind of movie that is reassuring in the sense that is reassures me that my tastes are still intact and that those of the West, in general, are going to hell in a hand-basket (although the hand-basket is gloriously animated in 3D with all kinds of sparkly effects).

Okay, I feel as if I’ve purged enough. If you saw this movie and enjoyed it, well, I’m sure there’s ten-step program for you somewhere. But if you haven’t seen it, don’t waste precious moments of your life watching Hollywood churn out another pseudo-movie that is heartless, brainless, and just plain implausibly stupid. If you want to laugh at discombobulation, go see The Three Stooges. • (2552 views)

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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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17 Responses to Movie Review: Gravity (2013)

  1. Rosalys says:

    I approach most movies with my “willing suspension of disbelief” in full gear and so I thoroughly enjoyed “Gravity.” Was it because of the acting of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney? Nope. Was it the (very basic) plot line? Nope. Was it the attention to scientific detail? Nope. It was simply the 3-D, computer generated graphics. Beautifully done. And this was one movie that really had to be seen in 3-D to be fully appreciated. Done twenty years ago with the technology available then it would not have been very good.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      That’s my brother’s opinion, that it was probably better on the big screen. I’m not so sure. Is Shakespeare better in a bigger font?

      But I appreciate your honest opinion. I thought “Dallas Buyer’s Club” was a much better movie compared to this. It had a story at least, even if infected with a lot of PC stuff. But “Gravity” was bereft of any kind of story higher than the level of a comic book.

      And the ending…truly a boring ending suited to this movie. My brother quickly re-wrote the ending and envisioned Bullock at the funeral of Clooney, perhaps reflecting on the dearness of life.

  2. Glenn Fairman says:

    The suspension of disbelief is critical in an action film such as this, but this qualified for the “monkey’s flying out of my ass” epithet. Absolutely zero chance that this chick would have made it through the 1st 10 minutes of trouble, let alone crawl up on a beach fully intact. But it was a stunningly made film, and would have been even better had I shelled out the extra for the 3 D…..which I didn’t because I am cheap…

    Want to see a better film that is as equally unlikely?……..Riddick

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      In my opinion, Glenn, this wasn’t a movie as much as it was simply the cinematic equivalent of riding a roller coaster. Even then, the twists and turns were all pretty stupid and implausible. I lost my lunch early in this one. That’s why I brought in the Fisher-Price analogy. If one is enamored with lots of shiny things moving on the screen, then this movie does have that.

      But if you expect a story, one needs to look elsewhere. I guess “Casablanca” would have been improved if a few bombs had gone off, if “Nazi debris” had mangled a few stray cantinas, if, at the end, Ilsa, Rick, and Victor could have all just flapped their arms and flied away to Lisbon. But adding mere Fisher-Price kinetic elements in place of story and characters should be insulting to us, even for a so-called “popcorn” movie which is just another way of saying that we are drawing entertainment from stupidity or artless bad taste.

      That is, be careful what one becomes acclimated to. This movie is brainless. It tries to bring in a human element, but the banter between Clooney and Bullock is pretty dumb. In the end, there is no human element, they are just puppets to be bounced around at the end of the special-effects string. And that is literally what happened to them in this movie. They were constantly on a tether bouncing off of space stations and other debris. The perfect metaphor for the perfect brainless movie.

      I’ve seen “Riddick” and I don’t remember much about it.

  3. Timothy Lane says:

    A pity — the basic premise sounded worthwhile, but apparently was sacrificed to an idiot plot. And when the main thing a movie can be praised for is the special effects (or some other ancillary aspect, such as the sound track unless it’s a musical), then it inherently isn’t really worth watching.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      A pity — the basic premise sounded worthwhile, but apparently was sacrificed to an idiot plot.

      I find it difficult to add much depth to my review. Frankly, the subject matter isn’t amenable to pithy analysis. I can’t do much better than this one paragraph from a reviewer at IMDB.com:

      Dreadful script, no plot, one-dimensional characters, repetitive action, repetitive visuals. I couldn’t care less about what happened to either of the people. I estimate it took about one day of George’s time and four days for Sandra Bullock to get her hysterics right and her hot pants to fit correctly. Then off the the CGI studio, and hey, you have a movie! It might be the worst movie of all time, but then that’s Hollywood.

      There’s just no substance to this movie. You indeed don’t care about the characters. It’s like the cosmetic surgery of films. As the plastic surgeon said to Francis McDormand in the movie, “Burn After Reading”:

      We make a small incision and then pull the skin tight, like stretching the skin over a drum. Not too tight, though. We don’t want that “worked-on” look.

      This movie has that artificial “worked on” look. It’s reminiscent of liberals who try to make war movies and it all looks like what a liberal thinks war is from afar. It becomes a crude and somewhat laughable caricature.

      This film could not have been made by the same people who made “Apollo 13.” This movie was lacking realism and thus you couldn’t get emotionally engaged in it. The actors on the screen were mere puppets, and it showed. A thoughtless and artless film made by thoughtless and artless people — except for the talent that went in the CGI, of course, which has become quite typical of films. Artificial films for an artificial public.

      And if you haven’t seen “Burn After Reading,” please do so. It contain some great satire on just that theme of artificiality…and Clooney is very good in this one.

  4. Rosalys says:

    The plot was so minimal that I could ignore it. An example of two movies which, in my opinion, were beautifully filmed or computer generated, yet bad, were “Titanic” and “Avatar.” “Titanic’s” was annoying and “Avatar” was awful, just awful. I could not ignore the story lines – the plots/sub plots got in the way of what otherwise may have been an enjoying visual experience.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Well, we’ll agree on “Avatar.” One of the worst blockbuster movies ever made. But that it was a blockbuster is an indication of the general public’s sentiments (if not outright lack of good taste).

      I liked “Titanic.” I thought it had a good story. In many ways, it was the perfect movie. I had lots of “guy” stuff (bare breasts, special effects, titanic disasters) and lots of “girl” stuff (romance, broken hearts, cute guys). At least James Cameron put together a story, which cannot be said for “Avatar” which, for all practical purposes, was just PC-porn.

      Why you see anything in “Gravity,” well, to each his own. I’m glad you enjoyed it. But I just found absolutely no substance there.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I’ve never seen Titanic, which might seem odd given my interest in the topic. (I have seen A Night to Remember, more than once, as well as reading the book.) One thing I will mention is that I do have a book on the disaster that includes, among other things, the 1912 edition of The Wreck of the Titan by Morgan Robertson and a scene-by-scene analysis of historical errors (probably deliberate for dramatic purposes) in Cameron’s movie.

      • Rosalys says:

        It was the romantic subplot, culminating ridiculously in that fellow chasing after DiCaprio with a gun and murderous intent while the ship is sinking, which annoyed me.

        I liked “A Night to Remember.” (Is my placement of the period wrong?) Being made when it was, the technology wasn’t up to the challenge and some details had not yet been discovered, such as the Titanic breaking in two. The costuming (I’m an historical costume buff) was dreadful, but some of the cinematographic techniques were really quite nice.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          To answer your grammatical question: The period placement is correct according to standard punctuation rules, but isn’t the way I would do it because the movie title isn’t a sentence.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            You have a good point, Tim. The way around that is to go right to the best formatting:

            I liked A Night to Remember.

            If anyone needs help in doing the code for italic, let me know. It looks like this: [i]A Night to Remember[/i]. The only difference is, replace the left bracket with a left-pointing caret and the right bracket with the right-pointing caret.

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