Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I Have a Bad Feeling About This Mission: A Gravity Movie Review

First and foremost, a disclaimer for those who think I did not understand the movie or think that I don't know what I'm talking about. I know what I'm talking about. And for those who haven't seen the movie, I may end up spoiling things . . . but then again, the movie's trailer pretty much shows you everything that happens in the movie. But I still encourage you to watch it (in IMAX 3D if possible). Have fun!

Now I just want all of you to be reminded that this is based on my opinion alone. If you want a better, more reliable review of the movie, read Buzz Aldrin's review from the Hollywood Reporter.

Gravity, a movie that has the simplest, most profound plot that I have ever seen in a long time. It buries itself in the long-questioned thought of what happens in outer space. What happens if we end up floating away? And the movie is amazing in that it employs very little to show a lot. I'm quite in conflict as to saying that this is a low-budget movie (and I mean it in a good way) or saying that they've really pulled all the stops in making this. I mean, let's see, they have two extremely amazing actors, one random space cowboy, two dead bodies, two abandoned space stations, some random voices from Houston and China, a wonderful view of the earth, and lots and lots of space debris. That's it! You have one of the best space movies ever (I'm putting this in the leagues of Apollo 13 and Armaggedon). It's beautiful!

Some points I love about the movie

  • I love that they go straight to the point. No back story. No launching. No scenes from the earth. No flashbacks. Just good ole space. They needn't show what the world looks like from down here; we see that every day. The first scene: a splendid landscape of the earth from miles and miles away.

  • I love the camera panning from the sun to the moon in one sequence of events. When Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) starts spinning, drifting away from Explorer, the sun was on the horizon. They were talking about the sunrise. I kept wondering if, in contrast to Armageddon, they wouldn't burn if they are hit by the sun's rays. But then she starts spinning and drifting until she hears Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) talking to her. And then there it is. The moon. The dark side of the earth. Night. It was beautiful, and it reminds viewers who watched the background instead of the spinning Stone that there are two sides of this earth: one that has light, and the other that has night, and each side takes a turn. It's just beautiful.

  • I love Matt Kowalski. He's the annoying type of person you just can't help but love. He sees things differently. He's just enjoying life. And I find it really sad that he dies (Boom! Spoiler?). I mean, I'm not angry, outraged that they killed his character. It's just a sad feeling, the kind you have when you know of someone old who just passed away and you think that it's good because they don't have to suffer anymore. It's just the sadness of inevitable death. And all that sadness for Matt Kowalski is just perfect for the movie. We're all rooting for at least someone to get back to earth (I can't imagine an ending where they all die) . . . (oh, wait, I can) and I guess we can't help but hope Kowalski would be one of them. I also love his lines: "I have a bad feeling about this mission," "Now that we're a distance away from each other, are you attracted to me?" "I know you can't help staring into my handsome face" (or was it "I know you're only just realizing how incredibly handsome I look"? something like that), "What kind of a name is Ryan for a girl?" "You've got to see the sun on the Ganges." Of course, those lines aren't verbatim, but you know what I mean if you've seen the movie.

  • I love how the camera gives viewers a view from inside an astronaut's helmet. God knows I've always wanted to be an astronaut, and for a few minutes, I got to see what they saw. I love the part when Stone spins in space (actually, Stone spun in space for most of the movie) and the camera moves from us looking at her, to letting us see the reflection from her helmet, to how it sounds and looks like inside her helmet, and finally to us looking out from the helmet. The fluidity of the transitions was perfect! 

  • I love how they portray aloneness. It's beautiful in a weird way. When Stone screams inside the Soyuz capsule and it sounds really loud from the inside then the camera just walks out of the capsule and we hear nothing, it was breathtaking. The silence. We see her frustration, but in space, there is nothing to carry sound. And all throughout the movie, we know that she's all alone in space, but also there's that feeling that she's not. Do you get what I mean? It's like the movie does show that she's alone, but the whole idea of it . . . I deny it. Some part of my unconscious brain insists otherwise. It's like I know something, but I don't want to think about it. I know she's alone, but there's always that hope that someone else is still out there to save her. But of course, she is just alone, and she has to make it work by herself. But the whole idea of it! Being stuck in space by yourself! No wonder she just wanted to die.

  • I love how the movie makes me feel like I'm also spinning in space. There were some scenes that made me a bit dizzy because I felt weightless. My feet felt like they just left the ground. All that space in one huge screen somehow lifts viewers into another world.

  • If you watched it in 3D, you will also notice the many random space debris that fly out into your face. I loved that. I blinked a couple of times because that's what pictures zooming in at high speeds make me do. Especially when the International Space Station (ISS) gets ripped apart by the annoying space debris from a random satellite. The utter destruction!

  • I love the utter destruction! It was weird and scary to see the ISS, a man-made housing structure in outer space that was supposed to be able to withstand extreme conditions, shatter into a million tiny and not-so-tiny pieces. It just disintegrated! Like cardboard getting soaked in water. It just . . . poof! Scary beautiful. (Random note: Stop Polluting Outer Space!)

  • I love the earth. I love the view of the earth. So no matter what they say about this movie extinguishing a child's dream of becoming an astronaut, I still want to go up there and watch in amazement the bigger picture: an earth that contains life. The earth we live in.

  • I love the human element of Stone. I love how it ties to her escape. I know many people who want to escape from situations in their life. I've been there. There's just that feeling when you want to be as far away as possible from something. Stone got space. And I love how different her pain is, at the same time how it can connect to so many people. (Here comes another spoiler.) Most stories involve death in the hands of a murderer or a freak accident or a fatal disease. Stone's daughter was playing tag, slipped, hit her head, and she was gone. I guess it is also a kind of freak accident, but there's just no making sense of it. When someone gets murdered, there's someone to blame. But when someone dies like that . . . slipped and hit her head . . . it's just, you can't see sense. And that added emotion to an already I-don't-know-how-to-describe-it movie just makes everything so rooted to humanity. It's beautiful.

  • I love the trailer! Whoever made that trailer should get an Academy Award. That person is brilliant. The first time I saw the trailer, I didn't know what to make of it. What's the story? Really? They're in space and they end up falling to earth? Is that it? The trailer doesn't seem to show any story, when in fact, the trailer showed the whole story. It showed everything that happened sans the dialogue. To fit that much intensity in a few seconds (did it reach a minute?) is utter genius. Kudos to you, trailer people!

Some random things I can't categorize

I find it funny that for a movie titled Gravity, the word's essence only appears at the very last of the movie. The greater part of the show had gravity absent from every single scene. Ironic? Well played!

I find it would have been utterly preposterous to have Stone drown inside the Chinese Soyuz capsule once she landed on earth. That would have been anticlimactic. And funny. Facepalm type of funny.

I have never worn a spacesuit, but how hard is it to hold on to something?

If space doesn't have gravity, I assume they're drifting because of the inertia because they initially had some force exerted to make them float in a certain direction. (I'm not a space expert, but humor me here please.) If that's the case, then when Stone's foot was tangled on the ropes of the ISS and she grabbed on to Kowalski's line, if she tugged on the line with enough force, he would have floated toward her, right? Or would she have been more able to pull the ISS toward him? I'm open for discussion, and I'm also willing for simulation and live examples. =)

Did they shoot the whole movie in outer space? That is so awesome! (I'm kidding, of course. But the thought does seem awesome and highly dangerous, but I'd volunteer.)

I should stop before this gets too long

My final verdict: the movie Gravity is indeed fast-paced in a moonwalk kind of way. It is awesome in a geeky, wide-eyed explorer kind of way. It can be a bit boring for those who want guns and car chases, but let's face it, space debris is cooler than auto junk. (There's also blood and tears, by the way. And cool fire effects.) Gravity is the type of movie one would want to watch if one likes anything to do with outer space, if one feels lonely and wants to disappear, if one feels like breaking out into song, if one feels like burning up in spontaneous combustion, or if one just wants a really good movie with really good effects and with really awesome views of the world outside. 

I highly recommend watching Gravity in 3D and with an audience who respects the silence in space and does not make any unnecessary commentaries while the movie is showing. 

Gravity is awesome!

And yes, I still want to be an astronaut! So if anyone is out there, NASA, you know what to do.

Notice that I didn't have any negative or sarcastic comments about the movie? That's how much I love space. =)