OUTTAKES REPORT CARD
MOVIE: GRAVITY 10/01/2013
How often do you see a film with only two actors? “Gravity” manages to successfully complete the mission, but this film is more about cinematography than plot. Shot in 3D, with innovative camera and lighting techniques, this film without the bells and whistles of the SFX would fall into the category of mundane.
The plot is simple: The Russians, on the verge of having one of their satellites discovered as a military weapon, opt to destroy the evidence. The resulting detonation causes space debris which endangers the lives of Explorer astronauts seeking to install new medical software on a space station. The impact of the debris leaves the astronauts floating in space with only the slimmest of hopes for recovery. The story was written by Director Alfonson Cuaron and his brother Jonas.
The star of the film is Sandra Bullock as medical astronaut Ryan Stone (her father wanted a son). Bullock is a stalwart in Tinseltown, and though her performance here is sometimes maudlin, she carries the film. George Clooney is Matt Kowalski, her flight commander and technical guru. Clooney’s sole purpose is to provide comic relief for a tense scenario and to act as a voice of Christian values combined with psychology. Ed Harris provides the voice of Mission Control in Houston.
This film is about two people, and they are not the actors. Steven Price has penned one of this year’s most outstanding scores. It alone is worth the price of admission. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki presents space with the concept of bringing virtual reality to the screen. The shots in space are impressive, down to the reflections in the helmet visors. I especially like the fetal sequence, complete with umbilical chords. Without the 3D on a large screen, with Dolby sound, this film loses its entire luster.
This film was originally scheduled as a Universal production with Angelina Jolie. It ended up on a back burner and Warner Bros. scooped it up, casting Bullock and Robert Downey, Jr. When he bailed, Clooney replaced him. Warner Bros. opted for Bullock because the film was too expensive with Jolie attached. It cost $80 million to make. The movie has earned the BFCA’s Outstanding Film recognition.
“Gravity” is essentially “The Perils of Pauline” in space. It is Murphy’s Law on steroids. When the film reached the water scene, I looked to fellow critic John Mowad (KDKA) and said: “If I see a shark fin, I’m leaving”. We both laughed. This film is essentially a cinematographer’s wet dream and will be appreciated by the celluloid techno-geeks. Beyond that, it doesn’t have much to offer.
FINAL GRADE: C