Once upon a time, there was a father and a son who decided to make a movie about space. So they spent six years doing so, paying acute attention to perfecting the visuals, while hiring two insanely famous, yet mediocre actors who would bring in the big bucks: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Only problem? They completely forgot about plot, dialogue and character.
Welcome to “Gravity.”
I don’t even know what I disliked most about this movie: the overdone, over sentimentality of the plot, or the fact that every line that came out of George Clooney’s mouth — or any mouth for that matter — made me want to jump out of my seat and throw popcorn at the 3D version of their faces.
The plot is unoriginal at best, sensational and desperate at worst. The movie is about Ryan (Bullock) and Matt (Clooney), two astronauts who get stranded in space after the debris from a destroyed satellite ruined their space shuttles and threatened to kill them. Matt has to sacrifice himself so that Ryan will live, and of course, she does. Anything unpredictable about that story line? Because if so, I totally missed it.
Maybe — and this is a generous maybe — the story wouldn’t have been so bad had it not focused on the same predictable theme countless other movies do: A strong will to survive, even after terrible circumstances, is enough to allow you to survive under these terrible circumstances — even when you’re trapped in space, you run out of oxygen in your tank, your shuttle gets caught on fire because, apparently, these shuttles are made of Birchwood, your capsule runs out of fuel, you don’t know how to use a rescue capsule, yet your random pushing of buttons is actually correct and you land on the cushion of water. This girl just can’t seem to catch a break, but she makes it out okay in the end.
But the worst part about the movie wasn’t even the plot, it was the inconsistencies, awkwardness and outright terrible dialogue that made me want to stand up in my seat and boycott. It was full of dialogue that’s evidence only to the cheesiness Hollywood is drenched in. The kind of movie where the witty lines just keep coming, no matter what happens.
Case in point: Even after almost being killed by debris, even after their fellow astronaut friend is killed, Matt says, calmly to Ryan (who is hyperventilating, mind you), “I know I’m devastatingly good-looking, but you got to stop staring at me.” Evidently, even after a traumatic event, Clooney’s charm can’t wither, not even after debris nearly ripped his body in to shreds.
But, it gets better. There are times in the movie when I can’t even believe that they’re astronauts at all. When Ryan is running out of oxygen in her tank, (this is after their space shuttle was destroyed by debris), Matt tells her to save her oxygen. You know, breathe slowly and sparingly. But then he keeps asking her questions about her life, and she keeps talking and talking, obviously not conserving the only thing that is keeping her alive: oxygen.
And don’t even get me started about the scene in which Bullock starts barking to a Chinese man from inside her isolated space vessel. Yes, actually barking. As in, like a dog. Alone and afraid, she found him on her space talk radio. At first, she tries to get a hold of someone who could, you know, help her, but ends up getting in contact with a man in China instead, who doesn’t seem to speak a word of English and just enjoys talking to people in space in his spare time. So he has a dog, the dog barks and Bullock barks with it. Then a baby’s cry comes in to the mix (we didn’t see that coming) and she starts to tear up — well, as much as Bullock can muster. And then she asks this man if he would pray for her because she doesn’t think anyone is going to mourn her death. And that’s when the religious pandering begins: “No one taught me how to pray,” she whispers to no one in particular. It’s cheesy, overly sentimental and just too damn much.
If it weren’t for the script and story, maybe this could have been a good movie. The visuals are beautiful. Earth is amazing to look at from space. But the plot and dialogue are so painful, so cheesy, so unrealistic, it makes me queasy. So if you must, do watch this movie. Just put it on mute.