I mentioned last post about getting Netflix recently. On New Year’s day I watched the restored version of Metropolis, one of the first major science fiction films ever made. I immediately wanted to contrast that with a modern science fiction film so right afterwards I watched GRAVITY.
Now, I know I should probably have gone to a more recent film, one from 2015, but the biggest SF film Netflix had to offer was INTERSTELLAR which I had already seen in the theatre and, honestly, it’s just to soon to go through all that again with Matt Damon. I saw THE MARTIAN this summer and really, I’ve had enough of Matt. Plus Matthew McConaughey bugs me.
So I chose 2013’s GRAVITY, Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D tour-de-force. Not in 3D, obviously, although I can see that it would be an amazing film to see in 3D and now I kind of wish I had rather than giving it a miss as I did.
So… from this point on there’s lots of spoilers. If you haven’t seen GRAVITY then be warned.
I loved Sandra Bullock in this film. I thought her performance was understated and very moving. I was not so keen on George Clooney who played George Clooney in a spacesuit. Normally I’m okay with George. I loved his performance in Steven Soderbergh’s 2002 remake of SOLARIS. But in this film I found him remarkably annoying. In fact when untethers himself from Sandra and goes flying off into space I was relieved that his character and his shitty music were finally gone. (Except that he does come back, albeit in a dream sequence.)
I was enthralled with the way the film did the zero G sequences (and more than a little enthralled with the sight of Sandra Bullock floating around in her underwear). The film captured the dizzying reality of microgravity with aplomb. Again, would have been awesome to see in 3D.
My only complaint, and this is a personal one that I have with a lot of action movies, is how much stuff gets broken. The space shuttle gets shredded by debris from an exploded satellite. Then the International Space Station gets havoc wreaked on it when Sandra’s trying to get away in the Soyuz capsule and the deployed chute gets tangled up in the solar panels. Watching the ISS get beat by Sandra’s clumsy efforts was bad enough but seeing it shredded by the satellite debris was heartbreaking for anyone with a keen interest in space travel.
Then we get another visit from George Clooney but it’s okay because Sandy’s just dreaming it. It’s a pity because the secret stash of the Russian vodka made perfect sense. It’s a pity Sandy didn’t find it for real.
Her trip to the Chinese station wasn’t as bad because no such station exists. The film doesn’t let up. There is little time for exploring the various stations as disaster strikes just as or shortly before Sandra arrives.
The film moves fast that way with Sandra arriving at the various stations with only time enough to get what she needs and move on before everything is destroyed. That was kind of frustrating too. I loved the spaceships and the zero gee effects and I would have liked to have been able to slow down and explore more of it before being dumped unceremoniously back into Earth’s atmosphere.
It’s not a bad picture. It’s certainly edge of your seat and if you don’t know how it ends (I did. I made my wife tell me after she saw it in theaters) it’s a real nail biter. It’s clearly designed to be seen in 3D and that’s the one thing that the 2D version on a TV screen really really screams at you is “THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH BETTER IN A MOVIE THEATER IN 3D!”
Get past that and you’ll have a great time.
So, Netflix, I’m determined to get my money’s worth and watch as much SF and fantasy as possible. So what have you got for me next?
Oh… this looks interesting…
(To be continued…)