The special effects really are very good. Sandra Bullock acts well. The storyline is perhaps a little weak, but you are prepared to suspend your disbelief due to the view you get of earth from space. It’s a thrill ride in an amusement park for kids and space lovers alike. Think a cool space station ride in Disney world.
The ride takes just a beat or two more than an hour and a half, and you sort off get your money’s worth. But forget about words tossed around by critics like “brilliant,” “visionary” and “groundbreaking.” It is none of those things. Gravity is nothing more than a classy work of 3-D entertainment and, since everything moves in slow motion, not a very lively one at that.
The setting is an American space station floating around the planets like a ball of cotton. No oxygen. No sound. No one can hear you scream. The view is great, and the silence is relaxing. It’s kind of like a calm space documentary gone terribly wrong. Terror awaits. When astronaut George Clooney transmits the message, “Houston, I have a bad feeling about this mission,” you better believe him. Suddenly, the shuttle is assaulted by flying debris from a Russian spy satellite traveling fast speed, and the U.S. mission is totally aborted. State-of-the-art scientific equipment worth billions of dollars is destroyed. Communications in Houston face a blackout. Worst of all, the entire crew is tragically killed except for two astronauts the veteran mission commander (Mr. Clooney) and a lady research scientist with only the most basic skills (Sandra Bullock) who are left stranded together in the cosmos of the universe, trying to get back to Mother Earth. Initially Clooney, the wisecracking bigot flirt who hums pop tunes from inside his space helmet and the no nonsense lady realist who finds him terribly annoying must learn to depend on each other for shared knowledge, trust and moral support. Only one will survive. Take you’re guess!
That really is it with the film. The entire plot of a fixed disaster movie with two stars who communicate from space suits that cover everything but their faces. They only have one scene together as the Bullock/Clooney team, and it takes place in a dream sequence. Still, they manage a weird relationship through words.
Gravity nevertheless keeps you hooked. It’s because the film looks like it was actually filmed in space. This is not a movie about acting, but the co-stars are in fine form. Ms. Bullock’s usual relaxed demeanor is perfectly suited for the doctor she plays here, and Mr. Clooney displays his usual playful charm, even stuffed into a cushioned space suit that looks like an oversize oven kitchen mitt.
Maybe it’s fitting that a film about two lonely figures drift into outer-space together. They share the universe. Clooney and Bullock give determined, decent performances here, but they are certainly shouting to be heard. It is pure, popcorn-munching film and nothing else, and you may or may not go away disappointed, it all depends on if you can endure the entire space vision aspect.
After Mr. Clooney cuts himself loose to save his partner in a gesture that is very honorable you don’t know if it’s heroic or insane, what began as two astronauts holding hands for their life, in their space suits turns into a one woman monologue, and Ms. Bullock is left alone to spend the rest of the movie talking to herself, locating a Chinese spaceship with controls that might get her home. It’s the survival of a woman alone in space VS’s her own conscious that she may never make it home. The film has its holes and leaves you wondering if that short hour and half was really worth it. 2/5*****