By Robert O’Hannon (Hollis, NH, USA)


We watched Gravity last night – 90 minutes of drek. Beyond the special effects, which weren’t that special, the movie was clichéd and flawed from beginning to end. It is a testament to how bad Hollowwood (spelling error intentional) has become at making movies that have some meaning and relevance.

First cliché, right of the 50s, was NASA’s choice of sending a neurotic female scientist into space. If NASA was hoping that this would help revive interest in supporting space travel, I think they should reexamine their public relations procedures. There was nothing likeable about Sandra Bullock’s character, even after the movie “treated” us to a gratuitous strip tease as she slowly sunk into a near catatonic state (either in sympathy with the audience, or because she was struck with the realization of what she would do to make her career relevant again.)

And then we have George Clooney as a retiring astronaut on his last mission. To call this a cliché would be cliché. To borrow from South Park, it was hard to see him, even in space; through the dense cloud of smug he seems to bring to every role. His character has seen it all, done it all, knows it all, knows how attractive he is, has something to say about everything – the man is not acting in this role, the man is just having an average George Clooney day.

Even if you were able to accept that the Russians would be somehow stupid enough to send a missile to destroy a satellite, knocking out all communication satellites (even their own) and destroying the space station they invested billions of rubles in, how can you accept that every other manned vehicle in orbit was somehow able to warn their crews in time and get them down safely except for the most maneuverable one of all – the space shuttle? Again, not a great promotional piece for NASA is the Russians and Chinese could send out the “ABANDON SHIP!” signal before NASA’s vaunted tracking stations should.

It only gets worse as Clooney drags Bullock to the wreck of their shuttle, so we can see lovely floating shots of dead people we never meet (it might have been a nice idea to do a few establishing shots in the shuttle), but who I felt more sympathy toward than the two nut cases floating in space.

Then Clooney drags her off to the space stations. On the way Bullock’s neurotic character manages to waste all her oxygen – even Clooney’s smug can’t stop that from happening. When they get to the station she manages to get herself in a tangle, but not enough of a tangle to save Clooney, who “gallantly” (read foolishly) unclips himself.

A pity they didn’t learn from being bounced around, and watching things bounce around, and from the fact that in space all you need is a sight force to move things, that a light tug on their tether would have sent Clooney right into her arms.

The rest of the movie is predictable. She overcomes the odds, displays her great ability to brood, and makes it to the Chinese escape pod (are you paying attention NASA?). She despairs as there is no fuel to start the engine, and decides to die. The Ghost-of-Clooney’s Past comes to visit her, and gives her the solution.

We are treated to a reentry screen that has all the technical flair of the final scene in This Island Earth where the flying saucer comes to a flaming end, without the sympathy for the character that that movie engenders. Bullock’s character survives the watery landing, but is bound and determined to do one more stupid thing, and does it by blowing the side escape hatch off the side of the pod rather than using the one she used to enter the pod on top.

The results are predictable. The pod sinks. She, weighed down by her suit, has to take it off (their sound track should have at this point have had strip tease music.) She struggles to shore. The movie at this point should have ended there, but we are “treated” to another soft-core moment of Bullock writhing in the mud.

She finally manages to struggle to her feet, and toddles off down the beach toward… the sunset, or something, well we don’t know. But the ending did reflect perfectly how I felt about the movie – it just toddled along toward…well, we don’t know. Between the cloud of Clooney smug, the bollocks of Sandra’s performance, and the 1950s B-movie feel dressed up in high tech effects, this movie, like gravity, sucks. Hollowwood should be ashamed of how many awards this stinker won.

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