Women are frail, weak, and emotional? Really?
Film Review © 2013 by Trip Reynolds
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón; Screenplay by Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón.
Starring: Sandra Bullock (as a stereotypical frail, weak, and emotional woman, Dr. Ryan Stone), George Clooney (as the seasoned astronaut who dies, Matt Kowalski), Ed Harris (as the voice of "Mission Control"); and four additional voice actors in supporting roles that don't matter whatsoever.
As I left the movie theater I had two immediate thoughts, (1) what a waste of time, and (2) what a dumb ass movie.
What was dumb? In summary:
1. In this poorly written piece of fiction, the Russians shoot down one of their own satellites which caused space debris with the domino effect of also destroying the U.S. Space shuttle, Russia's own space station, the Chinese space station, and the International Space Station - and we're supposed to believe that each of the aforementioned space stations share the exact same synchronise orbit about the earth. That's ridiculous!
2. In this poorly written piece of fiction, we're supposed to believe NASA isn't smart enough to make sure the critically important cables or ropes used to tether astronauts in the void of space are not as strong as the tensile strength of suspension cables and other high-end lines used to support expansion bridges (i.e., Golden Gate Bridge), to airlift tanks, for mountain climbing, and to tether other extremely heavy objects where "gravity" does matter.
3. As written, Clooney's character, Matt Kowalski, was way too smart to allow himself to fall prey to the emotional machinations of Bullock's character, the ingénue astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone. The film kills-off George Clooney. Yeah, I spilled the beans. Frankly, the only time the film was watchable was when: (a) Clooney was on screen; or (b) when Clooney and Bullock were on screen together. The film would have been much better if Dr. Ryan pursued and actually rescued Kowalski - but she couldn't because she's frail, weak, and emotionally disturbed.
4. In this poorly written piece of fiction, we're supposed to believe Sandra Bullock, our female "lead," is not a heroine like Linda Hamilton (as Sarah Connor in "The Terminator"), or like Sigourney Weaver (as Ellen Ripley in "Alien"). Nope. No way. What we have here is a woman, like all women (this is sarcasm) who is frail, weak, and emotionally disturbed. Gloria Steinem clearly didn't get a chance to approve this script.
Finally, the title of the film is "Gravity," but film made absolutely no mention of the actual technical impact of being weightless, and in particular, the impact on the human body when returning to earth after being in space. As documented by the Canadian Space Agency: In space, bodily fluids no longer flow back down naturally by gravity. The heart is still programmed the way it was on Earth. So, under the pressure of the heart and the veins and arteries, the blood rushes to the person’s torso and head, and they then experience “puffy face syndrome.” The veins of the neck and face stand out more than usual; the eyes become red and swollen. This effect is often accompanied by nasal congestion and sometimes even headaches. Astronaut’s legs also grow thinner, because instead of dropping effortlessly down to the lower limbs, the blood has to be pumped there by the heart. Again, "Gravity" is a poorly written piece of fiction, and it could have been a much better film if anchored to actual facts instead of the emotional machinations of a frail, weak, and emotionally disturbed woman!
Film is directed capably by Alfonso Cuarón, but film should have been trimmed by at least 30 minutes, that's right, this is a made-for-tv movie or something more suitable for HBO, or even better the SyFy channel. "Gravity" does not merit a theatrical release.
Film has slow, uneventful running length of 90 minutes.
As expected, special effects and technical aspects were solid, which was necessary given the poorly written script.
Recommendation: In a word, "Netflix" it, or wait and grab a copy from the $5.00 bin at Walmart.