February 3, 2014

Gravity (2013)

Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

Quick: name a successful movie that stars Sarah Jessica Parker that isn't Sex and the City (or Girls Just Wanna Have Fun). How can someone so popular not translate into a movie star? Because, as it turns out, the quirks that make her a lovable Carrie Bradshaw make her a really annoying lead actress.
Like the way she always presses her palm to her chest when she's
saying something earnest or vulnerable or the way she gestures
with her hands when she talks. 

You may think I've gone off the rails and started reviewing the wrong movie, but bear with me.

Sandra Bullock reminds me of Sarah Jessica Parker in that she is great as a romantic comedy actress. She's funny as that same uptight but slightly frazzled character who is prone to freak outs. She does it so well she makes me at least sit through to the end of lame movies, like The Heat. So on a comedic front, I believe she is a good actress.

I do not, however, believe that automatically makes her a good dramatic actress. Call me controversial, but I think she had no business winning that Oscar for The Blind Side. Which brings me to this movie...

I'm going to just come right out and say it - she ruined Gravity for me. Granted, there wasn't a lot there for her to work with, but she managed to work just enough of her personal quirks in to remind me it was her playing the part and not a "brilliant medical engineer." (riiight... that's believable...) Every time she panicked in this movie (and it's a disaster movie, so there were plenty of opportunities), I was reminded of how annoying her voice is and it took me out of the moment and reminded me of her fluttering her hands saying 'oh my God oh my God' in Speed... and Demolition Man... and The Net... and Two Weeks Notice... you get the picture...

Beyond Sandra's personal traits that detracted from the movie, I found her character to be totally unlikable. I found it nearly impossible to either relate or sympathize with her. She was whiny, self-pitying, and, in my opinion, lacking some serious common sense. I mean, I know it's a movie, but if I were lost in outer space and my oxygen supply were low, I probably wouldn't waste precious breath chatting with coworkers. But hey, what do I know?
And then, of course, there are the massive technical, space/science flaws, too long and infuriating to discuss.

That being said, there were some really amazing things about the movie. The CGI is up there with Life if Pi (with the added bonus of not making the company go bankrupt in the process). The shots of Earth alone were enough to make me want to go enlist at NASA (if only that were actually an option). The hype about watching the movie in 3D was not overblown. It was worth every extra penny to get those plastic little glasses. The only real downside is that every 3D movie hereafter will probably suck in comparison to this one, yet still rake in all that additional revenue from unnecessary 3D screenings.

Basically, this movie could have been a lot better with pretty much anyone else starring in it. Except maybe Katherine Heigl.

Final word: Visually stunning, but emotionally lacking

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