|Avatar is another prime example of this sad phenomenon of wasting magnificent technological advances in film-making on mediocre and/or (as in this case) contrived scripts. But Avatar was far more enjoyable.|
But I did start that last paragraph with the intention of giving this film its due praise, so here it is. Visually, technologically, in the way it was filmed, Gravity is unlike anything I've seen before, and though I believe I would be more impressed if I knew exactly how hard and ground-breaking it was to film, that does not mean I am anything less than impressed by it. The cinematography was immaculate, almost to the point of being tedious; the digital effects made the desolate location astoundingly real, and combined with the filming style and directing, the silent, foreign threat of space was terrifying.
It was most terrifying and chilling in the more subtle moments though, where the threatening environment itself was slowly and realistically closing in for the kill. Once one ridiculously unlucky situation after another occurred, (each followed by a proportionally lucky escape) over and over and over again, the thrill and chill and terror quickly began to die away, as every tiring turn of luck felt continually more desperate to revive it.
|This is just making me dizzy...|
It seems silly to be disappointed that a film was exactly what its hype said it was. I knew and know that the main point here was to stun with wonder and fear of the wonderful, but I still expected more; I expected this film to be accurate to reality (because if it's not, what is the point of all the effort put into making it look accurate to reality?) and I expected a thoughtful plot with a heartfelt theme or two for all the wonder to enhance; something to humanize the foreign heights, but no, it remained aloof and cold through and through.
|Hang in there...|
My first expectation was destroyed in one fell swoop, and sadly was the main turning point of the film: (Spoiler!) When Ryan is attached to a satellite and Matt is attached to her; they're flying away from the satellite, and when they reach the end of the rope it pulls tight, and then... keeps pulling. Matt detaches himself because he's pulling too hard for Ryan to pull him in, sacrificing himself for her -- but why? There was no inertia to pulling him away, so he should have just bounced right back, making any need for him to make the sacrifice obsolete. (End spoiler.) The importance of the event just makes the flaw that much more disastrous. And they seemed all too happy to be realistic elsewhere -- as long as it enhanced the suspense, and didn't get in the way of the plot! In "realistic" movies (and especially in one entitled Gravity) the laws of gravity should be obeyed, no matter how convenient it would be to temporarily ignore them.
My other expectations slowly fizzled away, as the contrived suspense took the front seat. It seemed that most of the situations were either caused, or greatly enhanced by Ryan's incompetence, or simply not thinking on her toes, not knowing what she's doing, or being paralyzed by fear (except when it was just dumb luck). It seems very unlikely that someone so inept and unable to control themselves would be allowed in space. And it doesn't make for a very likable character worth cheering for either. Happily, in the climax she comes to her senses, finally achieves something of a heroine status, and makes the ending more worthwhile than I expected it'd be at around the hour mark.
|You can do it -- reach!|
This is hardly worth mentioning, but in zero gravity, tears do not drip off your face and float around the room; they just pool on your face around your eye -- not nearly as dramatic I know. But I guess that's exactly my point; this movie was just contrived to manipulate a more dramatic impact out of the visual splendor, and I could sense my emotions being prodded and coerced, and it only made me less and less interested in actually letting myself be involved. In the end the only thing Gravity had that made an impact was its beauty -- and I mean breath-taking, gorgeous, precisely crafted and performed beauty -- but, in the end, its beauty was the only impact that wasn't worth beans.