It was movie night with the family and we were torn between Ender’s Game, Captain Phillips, and Gravity. Due to my mother’s chronic inability to be on time for anything (she will find a way to be late for her own funeral, mark my words), it had to be Gravity, or a 45 minute wait. I love the credits, but not THAT much. So we sat, popcorn and soda in hand, for what everyone has been claiming is the movie of the year.
Firstly, let me mention that we saw it in 3D, which was probably a good choice as far as 3D goes. The feeling of being in space with Sandra Bullock, who plays Mission Specialist Ryan Stone, was incredible, and certainly added to the experience. So while I normally am not a fan of 3D, this film is one of the exceptions and I would recommend donning the stupid looking glasses. For an even more incredible experience, I bet IMAX would kick ass. That said, the movie itself had some definite pros and cons. The directing and cinematography were insanely good, but then that’s Alfonso Cuaron for you. Bullock was incredible and just keeps proving her talents go far beyond the RomComs she became known for. I can guarantee you she’ll be on the shortlist for an Oscar come February. She showed strength and vulnerability, sometimes simultaneously, and reacted like I think most of us would if we were untethered and alone in space. George Clooney, although his role was incredibly small in comparison to Bullock, pretty much played himself—a charming loon.
But then there are the cons. I don’t know if it was the script or what, but the movie dragged. And it’s only 91 minutes long! It’s definitely tricky to do the solo actor thing (ask Tom Hanks, of Castaway fame). We as humans, and especially as Americans are used to the stimulus that comes from multiple actors, crazy sets, explosions, etc. In this case, there was pretty much just Sandra Bullock for most of the film (SPOILER ALERT!!!! Do not read anymore unless you want it ruined!). She was good, but I wish there was a little more Clooney. He could have been her Wilson, and talking to someone else could have given the opportunity for more of a backstory. I wouldn’t have minded some flashbacks, either. Essentially, other than the fact that Ryan Stone is a crazy smart doctor of some sort, who had a family tragedy a number of years ago, we know nothing. A little more history would explain her reactions and what she has to fight so hard to live for. Plus it would break up the monotony somewhat. Yes, I realize the monotony is the point. Alone in the terrifying majesty of space, with no human contact and utter and complete silence. Just the thought of that makes me shiver. But as a movie goer, I need something to hold my attention, too, and the beautiful blue and green ball only worked for the first 30 minutes.
It’s rare to find that perfect movie that I don’t have any complaints about. Gravity was not the perfect movie. It was very good, and undeniably beautiful. Bullock gave an Oscar-worthy performance. But in the end, it felt overlong, even though by current length standards it was a little short. I’m glad I watched it, however, since it is definitely one of those films, like Avatar, that are better on the big screen.