Look, I can totally get on board with the idea that Gravity in the theatre – in 3D – was meant as a totally immersive experience, less a film, more a theme-park-ride/simulator/stimulator for “grown-ups”. But I watched the DVD, the boring old 2D world of space, rendered via clunky dialogue, soap-opera back-stories and floating objects. One of which, for at least a wee bit, was George Clooney.
And Sandra Bullock was fucking annoying.
So I’m watching this, going okay, I’ll give this a chance – because, you know, that’s what I do. And also so many people have gushed about this. Talked it up as some amazing experience including those usual add-ons of “I normally wouldn’t like…” and “even if you’re not usually…”
But Gravity is an annoying scam. It asks you to go with it – for the ride, as it were – and so you suspend your disbelief. You buckle in and surrender to moments of manufactured tension as the astronauts are blown about in a debris storm, their ship destroyed. They battle for oxygen and saddest back-story – Bullock’s character had a kid who died! – and they desperately fumble about in space, with only their breathing to occupy the soundtrack. Well, that and Steven Price’s score. Which is pretty wonderful a lot of the time – because, given the setting, we’re not allowed to hear crashes and whooshing noises and scrapes and explosions. There is no sound in space – apart from Bullock whining a lot. And some cool music which works as soundscape-for-space, takes the place of the noises you figure you should hear, evokes the responses, teases further tension.
So, we sign up, we buckle in and we watch – as the film plays out as if well put-together trailer stretched to feature-length. We watch as Bullock’s back-story makes us apparently feel some strange form of empathy, she apparently has nothing to live for, could disappear off into space and not be missed, she’s immersed herself in work and this could be the final word on/in overtime – but no. She’s a fighter. Nevermind that we’re to believe she was capable of being trained and ready for a space mission but once there has no clues at all. Nevermind that she awaits instruction at every moment. Nevermind that she causes millions of dollars of damage all to save the life of someone whose paperknife cheekbones are only going to go and get her in more bad movies.
Gravity is pointless.
When the film reaches its conclusion you either realise you’ve been duped – or you pay up to have another go again, like the waterslide could only possibly get better the second, third, fourth and fifth times, right? Despite that hike to the top of the stairs. Despite the wait in line. Despite the fact that it was shit the first time down. You see, a bunch of people have loved Gravity – called it innovative and immersive and therefore amazing. But it’s a plotless heap of shit. And yet, oddly, it’s this semblance-of-a-nearly-plot that is driving the film. There’s nothing else in it, apart from the empty-gesture of too much bloody CGI and no heart whatsoever.
So you didn’t look at your phone for a whole 90 minutes while something was (almost) happening. That’s hardly a recommendation.