It is hard to see a film that is so critically acclaimed, and then have a bunch of negative things to say about it. Such is the case with Gravity for me.
First off, it should be noted that I am a simple person who never saw this sci-fi film on the big screen, where it would have been a million times better than on my lackluster TV screen. Gravity is a massive film, and deserves to be seen on the screen. So I will not speak to the effects or grandeur of the film, since I never bore witness to it. Instead, I will focus on the film itself, instead of all the fancy effects and impressiveness of seeing everything on a massive screen in front of me.
For me, Gravity was a mixture of thrills, tedium, and preposterous situations. There were moments of this movie where you could feel yourself sliding to the edge of your seat, not entirely sure what was going to happen next. In the vast emptiness of space, it is easy to feel uneasy about being out there, all alone, with barely any hope to cling to. Yet that was balanced by a couple of characters (literally, two) that couldn’t really hold interest for too long. George Clooney, one of my favorite actors, was kind of annoying in this film, and his fate never seemed in doubt, even though there was no characterization or story as to why he would be such a heroic man. All we really know about his character is that he likes to talk and tell random stories, and he is obsessed with having the longest space walk record. Aside from that, nothing. We know nothing about his character as a man. And that plays as a huge flaw in the film.
The other star of the film, Sandra Bullock, received rave reviews and an Oscar nomination for her role as the scientist on board the doomed spacecraft. As with Clooney, we know next to nothing about her. The only revelation of her past is during the strange time when she and Clooney are shooting through space on the way to the International Space Station, when it is revealed that she had a daughter who died. It’s fine to create a fairly flat character, even in a lead role, but it made it more difficult to really care what happened to her in the end. When a film is based solely on two people carrying the movie, and hoping to enthrall the audience with emotions at their fates, they had better be characters that we really care about. In this sense, Gravity failed.
Sure, Bullock is good at demonstrating panic, and her fear comes across as very real. It is not a poor acting performance, by any stretch. In fact, she is very good with what she is given.
There is very little that I actually understand about science and space, but to me, so many of the things that transpired in the film seemed to be truly off-kilter. I’m sure there are plenty of space people who could say how realistic the film actually was, but to me, it came across as pretty far-fetched at points; especially around the ending of the film. This wasn’t a make-or-break thing for me, and I never mind suspending some disbelief, but I did feel like it took away from the film a little bit, since there were parts that I simply couldn’t believe, and get behind.
Gravity is a spectacle, and in the end, I quite enjoyed the film. But it is flawed, as a film on its own. I wish I could have seen it in the cinema, where I could have enjoyed the incredible visuals that garnered this film a good haul of technical Oscars.
But when it comes down to it, looking at Gravity simply as a story, it is just ok.