Monday, October 21, 2013

Gravity Sucks

Saw Gravity on Saturday. My wife wanted to see it because it's getting such good reviews.

She changed he mind. I already knew that it was likely to be boring with little or no story, character development, or even plot, so I was not as disappointed as she.

This movie is a beautifully made hot mess.

Yes, the views are beautiful.

And ... we're done.

Spolier Alert ... but there is little to spoil.

There are two characters and one dies halfway through.  Makes dialog difficult.
There is more character development in Elton John's Rocket Man than in this movie...and a lot less time taken out of your life.

We are asked to believe there is the ISS, the Russian space station (Mir?) and a Chinese space station all in the same orbit, apparently ... and that Nasa resurrected the Shuttle ... with 1984 MMU's modified for speed or something. So we are in some alternate universe or timeline from the get go.

She's working on the Hubble Space Telescope ... which will be de-orbited soon and is not due for repair or's also in a different orbital inclination  from the ISS and about 90 miles higher. Why didn't they just call it a different kind of satellite? Maybe High Altitude Life Finder (HALF) or something, even?

The physics are very good ... momentum is conserved and things fly around and crash into other things believably at orbital speeds. But the cause, a Russian satellite 'shot down by the Russians, seems contrived. Not to mention orbitally inconceivable. We've had satellites blown up before and even had an Iridium struck by debris...nothing like this.

The 'action' scenes are so fast paced that you can't follow all the action. That may be realistic, but it's not pleasurable to watch.

She didn't think about loosing the parachute shroud lines before firing the rockets?

The parachute shroud lines can withstand the acceleration of an escape vehicle's rockets? (Actually, this could be accurate...I don't know how much it would take to pop those)? But Clooney's character lets go because he thinks they will pop from his and hers combined outward momentum? (Actually, I read that. My own take was that it was because he knew the lines were not very tight around her ankle and would slip free.)

There's something about a dead child? I read this somewhere, but I missed the line. One line to explain her entire character; see above re: Elton John.

I don't have a problem with her reading Russian or remembering the placement of the controls being that he tells her they are the same in the Chinese craft as they are in the Russian one...The Chinese bought Soyuz for their escape craft? That's quite believable.

The real issue I had was a lack of story. There is no real character development; she does 'grow' a bit, but we're not given a real epiphany moment. The conflict is between her, space, and her attitude...not that interesting. Like Castaway without the volleyball, or Robinson Crusoe without Friday.

Even if you don't want to have flashbacks, scene shifts to NASA, or anything to relieve the unrelenting character of space, She could have a bit more inner monologue, a happy moment recalled...hell, she had a dream about Clooney coming back, that could have been a recurring theme to help her grow out of herself.

A line or two of dialog would have gone a long way toward explaining some of the plot holes.  I read the produce/director/writer said it would take 26 pages of dialog to explain some things...I doubt it.

Aningaag, a Greenlandic Inuit ham radio operator doesn't know the term MayDay?

Some of the nit-picky things I've read don't bother me...tears floating free for instance. The debris coming in from the wrong direction is a biggy...they went to all the trouble of getting orbital timings right, just a couple more details would get the whole thing right.

And then there is the fire extinguisher scene. I will grant it some leeway given the homage to Wall-E, but come on!

It might be better without the dialog at all...a 21st century silent film about space...intriguing.

Although unrealistic, George Clooney's banter was the most enjoyable aspect.

She WHINES too much! ...She's still playing Angela Bennet or Annie Porter.

Gravity sucks! Thankfully, it was only 90 minutes long...imagine if it were 119 like a lot of $100 million movies.