Superficial Movie Review: ‘Gravity’

GRAVITY‘Gravity’ is one of those movies that people either love or hate. Well, except for me. I loved it and hated it at the same time. Because in a world of black and white, I’m about a thousand shades of gray. No, not those Shades of Gray!  But, then again, who knows? Maybe if you got me drunk enough…(Dad, if you’re reading this, I’m just kidding.)

But, as usual, I digress. Please bear with me as I get this off my chest then I’ll move on to more important things like the US astronauts’ space suits versus those of the Russians from a pure fashion standpoint. Here’s my very brief review of the merits of the movie itself. First half? Amazing! Second half? Cornball. Special effects, sound, cinematography and acting…great. Writing…not so much. See? I told you I’d make it brief.

Now on to the, far more fun, superficial stuff. The first thing I thought when the movie began was, “Holy crap! I really should have taken a Xanax before seeing this.” Much of ‘Gravity’ is a wild and terrifying ride. Imagine you suddenly find yourself untethered, floating around in space where it is absolutely silent and uncomprehendingly vast. Sounds kind of like a really expensive spa, right? Now imagine your oxygen supply is running out and if anything damages the pristine white space suit or helmet you’re wearing, you will immediately explode. Hmmm, not so fun anymore. I would not want to be hurtling through space even if I were tied to George Clooney.

As you know, unless you’re completely unconscious to pop culture, the token chick in space, named Ryan, is played by Sandra Bullock. There had to be at least one woman in this movie because you’re not going to get a bunch of space nerds to see a film with only men in it unless there’s an interstellar war involved. Marketing also needed someone attractive to put on the movie poster and, let’s face it, George Clooney doesn’t look as good in a tight tank top and hot pants as Sandra Bullock.

Speaking of which, there was quite a bit of hoopla in the press about Sandra Bullock’s impressive physique in this film. It seems not one journalist could get through an interview with her without mentioning her hot bod. I found this a little disconcerting. The only time journalists ask male actors about their bodies seems to be when they’re bulking up to play superheroes. Was it really that shocking that a 50 year old actress could be in great shape? My friend K is 50 and she’s a total hardbody even with two kids, a pretty intense career as a lawyer and no chef or personal trainer. Now that’s impressive!

Anyway, the movie opens with Ryan complaining that that pesky lack of gravity has given her motion sickness. She then spends the following two hours somersaulting through space and not once does she barf in her space helmet!  How does that make any sense? After realizing this, I spent much of the rest of the movie wondering what would happen if an astronaut actually did barf in his or her helmet. That would be even more disturbing than catching your child’s vomit with your bare hands, a parenting skill at which I excel.

My other random thought was, I’ll bet my boobs would look awesome in space!  Zero gravity, baby. That whole colonizing Mars thing doesn’t seem like such a bad idea now, does it?

There was some controversy over how scientifically accurate the movie is. Even astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson weighed in on the subject via Twitter, which is notable given how many other pressing matters he could have been attending to. Former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman joked in Forbes that “What do you think of “Gravity”?” was becoming every astronaut’s least favorite question, even more so than “How do you poop in space?” I can understand the intense scrutiny of this film because, you know, every Hollywood director’s ultimate goal is complete scientific accuracy.

As a non-astrophysicist, I have no clue what was fact and what was fiction in ‘Gravity.’ I do know that I learned a number of important things from the film that will almost certainly come handy in my everyday life. These are just a few of them:

* Don’t bother taking a keyboard class if you plan on being an astronaut. Spaceships are apparently all push buttons and toggle switches.

* Russian spacesuits are more slimming than American spacesuits.

* When in space, hold on to your important shit at all times!

* There’s a ton of crap just floating around in space. The place is littered with abandoned space stations and satellites and broken rocket parts.

* Things are always smashing into each other in space, not lightly floating and gently bumping as you’d expect.

* Filmmakers never, ever run out of metaphors for rebirth.

* If you’re in space and you need a ping pong paddle or a Buddha statue, check the Chinese space station.

So, you see, despite the cheesy dialog and tenuous grasp on reality, ‘Gravity’ is an intense, but fun, action movie.  If you haven’t seen it yet, run to one of the last few theaters in the country still playing it. You’ll be able to imagine yourself floating in space, gaze upon the gorgeous face of George Clooney and the fine ass of Sandra Bullock, and you may even learn a thing or two.

For those who’ve seen it, what did you think of ‘Gravity’? Are you a lover or a hater?