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Gravity 3D – 17/11/2013 @ Showcase Cinema, Bristol.

November 19, 2013

WARNING – Contains Spoilers!

 

    I have always had an issue with 3D in the sense that I was never convinced that it was the 3rd major revolution after silent to talkies or black & white to colour. With this ‘revolution’, I thought cinema is in danger of the emphasis shifting from themes and characters to seeing what CGI can achieve, but with a severe lack of depth. Apparently, there have been some exceptions where certain movies suit the format really well, and being this is my first full experience of seeing a film in 3D, I believe waiting for a film worth seeing in this format has paid off somewhat. The film after all is set in space, a place where there is no up or down, just a vast expanse of blackness and stars in which the 3D format does do justice in bringing this unfamiliar world to life and creating a cinematic experience.

    During what seems to be a routine space mission, Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a medical engineer and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) a veteran astronaut are hit with satellite debris from a Russian missile strike which wrecks their vehicle and plunges them both into space where they drift aimlessly and have to find a way to survive. The concept here goes further than any other Sci fi film I have seen. Sure, films have depicted people loosing contact with mission control and they are left on their own to survive, but never before have I seen people lost in space without even a space ship!

    Director Alfonso Cuaron does superbly well to plunge the audience into a beautiful but terrifying world of space. The beginning part especially is filmed beautifully. Once the problems start, we are spun around with Ryan Stones character as she is catapulted into nothingness. We hear the hyperventilating and feel the current sense of hopelessness. The set pieces are simple and thrilling. We see Ryan and Matt trying to connect, but the drifting in zero gravity makes this very difficult. Once connected, both characters drift towards a satellite where they have to grab onto any protrusion or handle they can find or they face drifting into further oblivion. This is all very thrilling. The problems with the film started when the need of a martyr to conform with textbook Hollywood formula has to happen. Matt has a Touching-the-Void style exit as Ryan cannot hold him any longer. I feel this was supposed to serve as the emotional crux of the film, but instead it fell flat. The reason for this is because Matt Kowalski as a character was empty. George Clooney was doing his usual shtick of being the suave, confident and charming man which he does so well in most movies he is in, but here it did not work so well. As a consolation, Sandra Bullock handled the rest of the movie by herself with confidence. We get to know her character and start to empathize with her. We learn she chose to disconnect from the world after the tragic death of her daughter. The setting of space gives us a literal metaphor of her mind set. She says she enjoys the silence of space. Matt, a character who has lived life and seems to have a lot of stories to tell inspires her to believe in herself and overcome that fear of getting hurt again and live life. The film funnily enough is called Gravity, but yet there is no gravity in space. Gravity is the world in which Ryan wants to get away from, but as the problems in space mount up, gravity is what she longs for as her character grows in confidence. It’s great that these themes are present in the film, but still, the emphasis is on the action as Ryan gets herself into more and more problems. The film has this everything-that-can-possibly-go-wrong-does-go-wrong kind of thing about it and it does get a bit repetitive towards the end. Thankfully the running time is quite short for todays big blockbuster which seems to be on average of 2 hours plus! Any longer than 90 minutes, I would have been seriously bored.

   Problems aside, I think the film was successful in creating a thrilling cinematic experience. It is technically brilliant and will no doubt be commended for not only how it looks, but the attention to detail and the amazing use of sound. Great fun, but a little corny and it lacks depth.

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