Alfonso Curaon’s Gravity has been getting a lot of buzz since it’s debut last Friday.
Me (Agent Justin) and Agent Aaron decide to hit up a little chat discussion about how we felt about the film.
This isn’t a proper review per-say on the film, but our general thoughts on the movie.
You have been warned.
I’ve never done this before. It’s like aim I assume?
me: Pretty much.
I semi woke up from a nap, so sorry for the delay.
Aaron: Ha, it’s cool. Naps are good.
I need more of those.
me: Ahh, yes, the afternoon ones are the best for me.
But we are not here to talk about naps.
me: So lets start, first off, Gravity did really well in the box office this weekend.
Aaron: Yes it did. Cinema Blend reported that it was Sandra Bullocks best opening weekend.
me: Crazy to realized that the only film that Clooney did that was almost as big as Gravity was god damn Batman and Robin.
me: LOL, not one to shy away from the sexy comment I see, but ya agreed.
Well, I loved the film personally. It was a trip for me because a year ago I got to see the early test screening of the film in which it had basically only 20% of the effects done.
Aaron: Which is amazing to me. Not just because I’m SUPER jealous, but because I felt like the special effects helped to mask the flaws of the movie. I’m picturing the movie without the effects and I can’t see loving it.
me: See, I loved the movie back then too despite how much it wasn’t finished. I was hooked with the story and performances that it was enough for me to be really into it.
Lets clarify, what are your overall thoughts on the film?
Aaron: My overall thoughts was that it was one of the best disaster movies I’ve ever seen, but I consider disaster movies to be some of the weakest storytelling in cinema. I was expecting “Volcano” or “2012” but I got a movie that felt more like a ride at Universal Studios: Amazing immersesive audio and visuals, but par plotting and sub-par characters.
me: Hmm…interesting, I never saw it at all as a disaster movie. I think I have a different definition on that sub genre. For me it was a survival film, more along the lines of Castaway or the Ryan Reynolds film Buried.
Aaron: I could see that. Both are event driven stories that focus on events acting on the characters. I guess I think of it as a disaster movie because things consistently got wrong right when the plotting demanded it. Kind of like with Armageddon. (Sidenote: the pacing was excellent.)
me: Pacing WAS excellent. As sad as it is to say this, but it’s a nice lean 90mins, a movie length that we don’t get a lot nowadays. I also like the fact that the movie starts in media res.
Aaron: Agreed. So let’s get to some of our differences. Why were you able to empathize with Sandra Bullock’s character?
me: For me, I like that she was very much a true, “everyman” in this situation. She was a strong female lead. I like that she wasn’t a superhero astronaut, hell she wasn’t even the most experienced. And I loved loved loved that she is a woman who doesn’t have anyone to go home to. It would have been easy to have her child be alive and that would be her motivation to keep going, but she doesn’t. Since her daughters death she’s had to figure out how to live the rest of her life and within this extreme circumstance she had the choice to either die or live. She could have died, she could have just simply drifted into space, but she choose to give life another shot. She chooses to live, and I find that to be a pretty powerful message and theme to put in, essentially, a big action survival epic.
Aaron: While I did like her motivation, I found her character to be incredibly boring. She had no personality outside of grieving and overcoming said grief. George Clooney’s character was asking her if she listen to anything and she’s just like “I don’t listen to anything.” She’s smart enough to have developed a system that only she can implement (for some inexplicable reason) but there’s nothing about her character that suggests that she’s driven or creative enough to create something so innovative to me. She is this boarder-line suicidal protagonist and I never got a sense of who she was outside of this grief. All of her lines felt completely by the numbers except when she was parroting Clooney’s lines.
me: I felt that, for this film, and the kind of story that it was telling, I enjoyed her quiet a bit. I don’t personally always need a character with a big personality in the film, and while she’s not as engaging as Clooney, I still felt that I could relate to her in this story. The film slowly gave information about her through the movie, and I was liking her the more we got to know her. It helps that Bullock was perfectly cast in this part. Did hear who was originally going to play her?
Aaron: Miley Cyrus?
I’m gonna assume that was joke.
Aaron: To twerk in zero G you’ve REALLY got to shake it!
me: She’s just gonna lick the set the space suit everytime she’s on camera!
Aaron: Seriously I never heard.
me: Originally it was going to be Angelina Jolie. She dropped out. Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Blake Lively was offered (????WTF????) and a TON more.
Not saying that any of those actors are bad (well….Lively needs more convincing) but they all feel wrong for the role that was written.
Aaron: How odd that it ended up with Miss Congeniality.
me: The script called for a woman who had a child and was from the midwest. I could never buy any of those actors that I mention for that part, but Bullock? Perfect.
Aaron: Admittedly I might be a little hard on Bullock’s character, but caring about her made or broke the movie. I never cared if she died so most of the scenes weren’t very tense for me. Especially after Clooney’s character died.
me: Personally, I think Bullocks performance did a lot for me to help connect to her and to like her in the film.
You know, I made a mistake in my last weeks Looking Ahead saying that Clooney never played an astronaut before. I was wrong! I forgot that he did a sci-fi film called SOLARIS
Aaron: Haha! Speaking of Clooney and Logistics the WAY that he died REALLY bugged me. I wasn’t as critical as some about the physics and facts of the movie, but him being pulled in zero G… that was frustrating because it was one of the most important parts of the movie. If they really needed him to let her survive on her own to solidify the grief metaphor they should’ve come up with something that’s actually feasible.
me: Man…no offense….since I don’t know too much about how zero G works…I….DIDN’T….CARE.
I was with it emotionally, and I bought it.
Aaron: Wow! I thought that much was like… impossible to ignore. I can’t suspend my disbelief when the plot depends on it.
me: I straight up didn’t know, and I was already emotionally invested in the story. Call me ignorant about that stuff, fine, but I was with the movie hooked line and sinker.
Aaron: Anyway, Clooney and Bullock did good with what they had, but I wasn’t a fan of the dialogue and maybe that’s what really did it for me. What flaws did the movie have for you?
Since, you know, no movie is perfect.
me: Well yeah of course. The one flaw that this film has is the fact that it looses some of it’s impact on the second viewing.
Aaron: Ah. I can see that. I guess my biggest problem with the movie is people’s reaction that it’s the best movie of the year/ever. It was a great experience but I didn’t feel like it was a great movie. Maybe it’s because I hold plot in such high regard.
me: For me, the film was an amazing experience. In my opinion, not every movie is about the plot, it’s about how they tell the story. One of my favorite film bloggers is Film Critic Hulk and one his best points in term of enjoying film is that “Movies should not be a check list.”
For me, Gravity is an incredible experience. So, yes, I did know the story beats when I went to see it the second time (now with the finished effects) so the movie didn’t surprise me like it did last time, but I am still in awe of the way it was shot, edited, sound designed (HOLY GOD WAS THE SOUND DESIGN FUCKING INCREDIBLE), the score and the performances.
Ok, since I’ve been singing the praises, and since you wanted to hear what flaws I saw in the film, let me ask you, what did you like best about the film?
Aaron: Without a doubt the cinematography. No one can deny the beauty and grandeur that Gravity displayed. I think it made the movie that amazing experience that it was. (that and the sound track ;D ) I liked how the shots really immersed you in the movie and environment. I thought that the movie was well worth the cost. Maybe I do need to re-evaluate my ‘standards’ for a movie, but it’s going to take a while.
me: Don’t challenge your standards sir. Plot can be very very important, but I grew up loving movies and my crazy ass brain can find just as much entertainment in a film like Gravity and Short Term 12, yet I can defend why I think the Transformers animated movie is entertaining as hell to me.
Aaron: Definitely a talk for another time.
Sadly we had to cut this discussion short, but there are plenty more things we could say. (Perhaps me and Aaron will do a part 2 and pick this up where we left off.) What about you folks? Is it just a really good ride or is it one of the best movies of the year? OR can a film be both? Comment below and let us know!