Gravity: movie review (spoiler free)

gravitySide story: as I kid I remember the joy of stumbling on a movie on TV where I had no idea what it was and loving it in part because I had no idea what was going to happen. That almost never happens anymore. We are such proficient consumers now that we know far too much about films before we see them, and most reviews and previews are effectively Cliff’s notes versions of the stories. I need more film serendipity so I can have more film pleasure. Gratefully I didn’t know much about Gravity other than the trailer.

My theory of movie reviews is to share why people should see, or not see, a film without ruining it. Never tell the plot. Never give away anything. Good critics can do this.

Review: Gravity is good. The film Gravity is very good too (ha ha). You should see it. You probably saw a preview or a post and know it’s about space. This is true. I recommend the film for three reasons:

  1. It is a patient film. Any time a filmmaker doesn’t feel the need to jam every second with action, explosion or wisecracks it shows they have respect for the audience’s intelligence, and confidence in what images they’ve put on the screen. Gravity is beautiful and has many amazingly good looking scenes that will wow you in between moments when you are holding on to your seat, or sometimes while you are holding on to your seat.
  2.  It is about space. I like space. I bet you do too. Most space films are very noisy even though, as we learned from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, space is very quiet. Gravity gets some of that realism about space right and uses a movie theater to transport you into what space probably feels like. There are some sequences that will make your jaw drop. This is what movies, in the grand sense, should do.
  3. Sandra Bullock. She is given a chance to give an authentic performance unlike most films you associate her with.

As with all movies about space I’m sure there are entire newsgroups dedicated to comparing the space physics in Gravity with real physics but I assume you go to see films with your suspension of disbelief filter set to on.

Definitely see Gravity it in the theater. I saw in in 2D since 3D is stupid (you know it is).

11 Responses to “Gravity: movie review (spoiler free)”

  1. Justin Martenstein

    I’ve seen a LOT of movies in 3D. Gravity is only the second movie that I’m genuinely glad I saw in 3D. Well worth the extra cost.

    The first movie? “Day & Night”, which was the Pixar short that ran before Toy Story 3.

    1. Scott

      I didn’t mind that Avatar was in 3D, but then again I was drunk at the time so I wouldn’t have minded much of anything.

      I almost always avoid 3D. It has clearly ruined far more movies than it redeemed. I liked Gravity enough that I’d see it again and it 3D. Thanks for the clear recommendation.

      1. Stephen Lead

        I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder in 3D about 20 years ago. It’s a great film anyway, but the 3D effects were actually pretty good, and the dorky glasses added to the whole kitsch appeal.

        But otherwise, yeah, 3D films are mostly pretty shit.

  2. Janice Giffin

    Okay, I’ll go see it because of one phrase in your review: “respect for the audience’s intelligence”.

  3. Tisha

    I’m so glad to see someone else with this opinion of 3D vs 2D. I saw Avatar in 3D on the extremely strong recommendation of a friend, and really was only able to see the effects in one part; there must be something with my eyes that just does not compute 3D. I can’t see the “magic” images in the Sunday comics either. I saw Avatar again on bluray when it came out and guess what? It’s still a fantastic movie without 3D effects.

  4. Arena

    Fantastic movie review! I really appreciate your effort to write this because it was outstanding! Well done :)

  5. mel wahl

    You mean it was in 3D? It could have been in 5D and it still would have sucked. The only good parts were the 30 sec when she climbed out of her space suit.

    Dialogue. How long did it take to write that drivel? Reality of the whole matter is that they both should have died at the beginning of the show. Lost me after that. Longest coffee break for an actor I have ever seen. Do you know how much money he got paid and for what?? What color are m eyes?? Deep space thriller and he is asking a stupid ass question like that. Were all of you people paid by the film co. for your + reviews?

  6. manuel

    good actors but its a waste! dumb script and really how dumb do they think we are? I know it is science fiction but please!! I like sc f movies but this is just a waste.

  7. Suzan Webb

    I saw Gravity in 3D last night, and I was SO disappointed. George Clooney is always adorably George Clooney in whatever he is in, so he was as expected, adorable, though not enough screen time in my opinion. Mainly because Sandra Bullock, who I normally love in everything too, was SO terrible. Her opportunity in this film to show that she can play something serious other than the girl next door was not even remotely taken advantage of. Is it possible that she really is a one trick pony? I didn’t want to believe it, but last night’s viewing seems to be making that statement in the strongest terms. Her character was very poorly developed from a writing standpoint – I mean, is she this weak little flower that they have to look after like they were doing in the first few frames, checking her vitals and asking if she needed to go back to the ship, then having to be rescued repeatedly as the movie progresses, and how does she suddenly become Sigourney Weaver in Aliens kicking everything’s butt in her path without any change in character that we get to see. That is, of course, after we see her give up and decide to kill herself. What??!! The deal breaker was in the last few minutes after a carbon dioxide hallucination (or were they actually trying to say she had a visitation?) when she has the most contrived “conversation” with George’s now dead character about things she wants him to tell her dead daughter. Really? That was laughable. The writers and directors seem to have been trying to make several different kinds of movies at once, and in my opinion, failed at all. Overall the move was visually quite interesting, but far from the gotta-see or gotta-tell-people-to-see that I was anticipating. Definitely not a movie that I will ever want to watch again, and that is, in the end, the most telling point.

  8. Sean Crawford

    I just saw the movie yesterday; (Nov 3) luckily before I read the Susan Webb comment above. (Note for web administrators everywhere: Knowledge wants to be free, AND sometimes it’s OK to delete comments)

    I saw it in 3D, I will see it again, and next time I’ll fork out for imax. Normally, I don’t give a care about 3D. But to see this in 2D would be comparable to seeing Apocalypse Now on a TV set… and without the dolby (3D) sound.

    I am reminded of when Apocalypse Now came out: Half the viewers really liked it, and half really hated it. My college English teacher, who’s “publish or perish” schtick was writing about movies, told me such a ratio was normal for a future classic.

    All but one of the negative comments (on Roger Ebert’s site) at most merely irritated me, but I felt lonely at a commenter not understanding the simple dialogue while the heroes are tethered. Some people have led such nicer lives than me… When people have been wounded or in an accident, questions are a means of handling pain. (A good trick to know!) When people’s mental circuit breakers have tripped, easy questions can be a reset, allowing people to get grounded and breath again. I do this at work with my disabled clients. Next summer, 2014, there is supposed to be a Tom Cruise movie coming out (I don’t know the English title) based on a Japanese sf war novel. In that one, on a battlefield, a question and conversational comment about green tea by an older American is used to “reset” the young hero. While I expect Hollywood to massively change the novel, I think that question will be retained.

    I have an idea why some commenters thought the show was boring for going on and on. They might have been subconsciously trained by TV to expect commercial breaks. They wanted a nap scene, or flashback or dream or some comic relief. College kids with nice lives can escape into the bar during the pressure of midterms and then ask their professor for a term paper extension. But the cold equations of survival don’t allow such luxuries.

    I am reminded of the Nam vet who refused to pander to his readers by having nice chapter breaks. His tour was one long misery and that’s how he wrote it.

    Scott, I’m glad you reviewed this. I liked it too.


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