Gravity (2013)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on October 5, 2013 @

Gravity is celebrity actors in space. It's routine genre in space. It's country music in space.

Fortunately, Gravity also is spectacle in space.

The special effects are astronomical. They make Gravity an intense, suspenseful experience. It's a movie that deserves to be seen in IMAX 3-D.

Gravity is a conventional lost-in-space tale. Two astronauts and the crew of a shuttle undergo a tumultuous chain-reaction assault by space debris.The two astronauts - Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) - face furious havoc as they try to survive.

While the special effects are cosmic, the dialogue is terrestrial and pedestrian. The screenplay - written by director Alfonso Cuaron and his son Jason - has a lot of junk-filled dialogue. The script is earthbound.

In the unrivaled classic 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Stanley Kubrick wanted the dialogue to show how banal and vapid human speech was. The Cuarons' dialogue is similar, but it seems heartfelt not satiric. The Cuarons could have been characters in 2001.

Director Cuaron may lack imagination in plot and character, but he excels in style. One high point is an inventive 13-minute sequence without a cut. Cuaron is ably supported by cinematographer Emmanuel and visual effects supervisor Tim Webber, who do stellar work.

Sandra Bullock is today's go-to actress for uplift. Her Academy Award-winning performance for The Blind Side (2009) was uplift in all its hokey glory.

Of course her character Dr. Ryan Stone - who says she was never taught to pray - is born again in Gravity.

Sandra Bullock is pluck personified. To paraphrase Lou Grant, "I hate pluck."

Bullock is the female Keir Dullea, who played Dr. Dave Bowman in 2001. At time Sandy even looks like him. Bowman has turned to Stone.

Stone's character in Gravity is almost trite. The writers even give her a dead daughter, which is the bottom of the cosmic barrel.

George Clooney is like HAL coolly giving instructions to her. Clooney is engaging as always, and his surprise return in the film is welcome, because he has personality.

Gravity is a gripping, hurtling experience. But it remains just an experience.

Boy, do I miss the Star Child.

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