Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Gravity -- Movie Review

Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, and space. Sounds like a perfect mix? Right?

Well . . . not so much.

Gravity is a movie about space, trying to survive a series of disasters and return back to earth alive. That is the short story. Actually that is the long story, too.

The imagery and photography are spectacular--especially in 3D (which I highly recommend) and Sandra Bullock plays one of the best roles that I have seen her perform. George Clooney is adequate. Neither gives anything close to an Oscar worthy performance.That is the good news. 

The problem is with the script, the plot, and the science. Nothing that is depicted in space in the movie is accurate. That is sad because it highlights the lack of knowledge that most Americans have about space.

The plot is nonexistent. The movie is a plotless action movie set in space. The event which sets into motion the is loosely based on a historical event from a few years ago, but that is where any similarity to reality or the laws of physics ends. Added to that,  there is no character development--and by the end of the movie I really did not care if the main characters lived or died. And they really did not do anything to make me want to care about their outcome. 

The action scenes--and the movie is mostly action, are fun to watch and the 3D really makes them come alive. If I checked my knowledge of space science at the door I probably would have enjoyed the movie more--but, where the movie makers could have taken time to provide a rudimentary education about space and space operations, they decided to take a Buck Rogers approach to orbital mechanics and fictionalize the results. Sadly, it did not work for me.

The ending is a page right out of American space flight history with Gus Grissom's Mercury flight. 

One interesting note--only two actors are ever depicted on screen (alive) during the movie--Bullock and Clooney. I think they probably could have used some help.

RECOMMENDATION: Not suitable for the under 12 crowd. There are some graphic and disturbing scenes. I cannot recommend this movie except for the incredibly awesome on orbit images of the earth, the shuttle, the Hubble, the ISS, and the Chinese space station. Fortunately it is a short movie running just over 90 minutes.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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