Let me admit my biases upfront.  Although I am a fan of many of George Clooney’s movies, I am not a fan of Sandra Bullock, both of whom star in this movie.  Bullock moreso than Clooney.  I can’t really articulate what bothered me without some spoilers, so first, the non-spoiler review:

Gravity is a story of survival and redemption in space.  A group of astronauts must survive, after an accident turns a routine NASA mission into one of survival.  I felt the script was lazy and suffered from the sort of “carnival ride syndrome” you see in some action movies.  The laziest device most screenwriters use is that of a ticking time bomb and this movie has about two per act.  Had this movie been made in the 70’s, it probably would’ve been a taught thriller with characters you could identify with.  Bullock, who has to do most of the heaving lifting in this movie, is saddled with a character whose journey, at times, either doesn’t make sense, is too fast, not fast enough and ultimately, not very organic.  Every note of this movie, sounded to me like the dull thud of an unplugged electronic keyboard.  And while the visuals are amazing, the characters and the situation aren’t all that compelling.  I give it 2 keggers out of 10.


Major spoilers here.  Look away if you still want to see this movie.  Seriously.

Overlooking the fact that NASA doesn’t even have any shuttles anymore (the movie uses a Space Shuttle), there are five crew members on this journey.  The only problem is, you only meet two of them after they’re dead.  Prior to that, there’s not one mention or line with these characters.  Bullock and Clooney stumble upon their frozen bodies while looking at the wreckage of their ship.  Consequently, there’s no drama here.  What did we lose?  Characters we never even met.  Even the third member of the space walk gets killed before we see his face, further dehumanizing him, all in the name of ramping up the action by having the space accident as soon as possible.

Here’s a couple of other names I have for this movie:  “Space Accident”, “The Stupidest Woman in the World in Space” and “The Astronauts of Convenience”.

So in another scene, Clooney barely manages to get himself and Bullock to the International Space Station.  It just so happens that Bullock is running out of oxygen (even though Clooney too was also on the same space walk and appears to not be running out) and has just enough juice in his space jet pack to get there.  Bullock manages to get tangled up in some debris on the ISS, but Clooney is stuck after the tether breaks and Bullock must hold onto the tether.

Now in space, momentum is everything.  So it just so happens that Clooney’s momentum is pulling him away and he concludes that he must cut loose from Bullock or they will both perish.  The only thing is, he takes awhile to do (time Bullock could’ve spent pulling him up) and he’s awfully cheerful when he does so.  Probably the cheeriest death scene in history.  Bullock, who I must remind you IS RUNNING OUT OF OXYGEN, climbs to the space station, but then pauses to talk to Clooney.  By now she’s breathing her own CO2 and the clock is ticking, but she still has plenty of time to chat it up.

Finally, she gets inside the airlock.  Now the entire time, she’s intent on saving Clooney, so what does she do when she gets inside and gets her helmet off?  She hovers for several seconds in zero g so I guess we can all see that fine Bullock bod.  She certainly didn’t look like she was saving her friend.  Cut to her, suddenly rushing now.  As Bullock rushes through the ISS she passes what is clearly A FIRE.

I’m no astronaut, but I know that a fire in a confined space where there is limited oxygen is pretty fucking bad.  Bullock zooms by it to get on the headset to try and talk to Clooney.  No dice.  A few minutes later she’s dealing with, you guessed it, a major fucking fire on the ISS.  Now she’s been on a mission for something like 42 days.  So you’d think she’d remember she’s in zero g.  But does her character bother to brace herself when turning on a fire extinguisher?  Nope.

It goes on like this.  Whenever it’s time to do something important to save her life, she has no time to think.  Whenever there’s a moment to soak up drama either by loosing Clooney or talking to some guy on Earth via his ham radio, suddenly there’s plenty of time.  The screenplay only works if you believe in every convenient time limit created by the screenwriters, Alfonso Cuarón (also the director) and Jonás Cuarón.  Rumor has it, the original cut didn’t test well, so this may be the studio’s version of the movie.  Maybe it was once a smart, tight space thriller that made sense, but this is just a carnival ride with a story that barely hangs together.

The thing about astronauts, they are super smart.  Even the specialists.  They just don’t pick anyone to go up there.  From frame one, you get the sense that Bullock’s character is in over her head.  She must say three times in the movie, “I crashed the simulator every time.”  That doesn’t seem like someone NASA would send up on a mission.  Audiences are keenly aware they’re watching a movie, we know someone is going to survive, don’t keep telling me Bullock’s character is a terrible pilot, SHOW ME.

The visuals are pretty good, but if I wanted to see pretty visuals of space stuff I could watch the actual footage from space missions.  This movie promised some kind of story and for my money, it delivered it about as well as someone going, “Oh, yeah.  By the way, THIS happens.”

Sorry, I just don’t see what the fuss is.  I give it 2 out of 10 keggers.