My Review of Gravity

Gravity is probably the worst movie I've seen all year. There, I said it.

Visually it's quite pretty, with some breathtaking shots that will remind you of the best media we've seen come out of NASA, but that's about the only thing this movie has going for it. The emotional content seemed very forced, with the occasional line here or there to give us some background about the characters, and a cheap attempt to gain our sympathy using the cliched "dead kid back home" before the movie tumbles into a one-disaster-after-another scenario. As the movie wore on, I found myself thinking "jeez, how many unrelated things could possibly go wrong in real life?" It seemed like Murphy's Law was in overdrive from about the first ten minutes to the last of this film. It stretched credibility for me, and prevented me from building any sympathy for the protagonists.

Furthermore, there is at least one useless, stupid death due to what you might call suspension of the laws of physics which, to add insult to injury, the film had previously demonstrated at length before. Put another way, Gravity does a marvelous, realistic job of showing us what life in zero gravity is like until the writer or director (or both?) don't feel like it anymore. I found this more than frustrating, since the apparent reasons for these moments seemed entirely unnecessary to the plot, and served to push the movie further and further from the realms of realism.

To quote astronaut Sherwood "Woody" Spring's review of this movie: "You wouldn't want to show it to a physics class because of some of the inaccuracies."

The last frustrating thing I'll say about this movie is that the whole premise of a roving debris field destroying everything we have in orbit (yeah, they pretty much list off everything) is a bit childish and unrealistic considering what we do see get demolished (Hubble and the ISS) are, in reality, about 3,550 miles apart in radically different orbits. To quote Jeffrey Kluger (author of Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13) "But the ISS orbits at 51.6ยบ—a concession to the Russians when we built the station, since their Soyuz spacecraft regularly ferry crews up and down. Shuttles fly at that high inclination when they’re visiting the ISS, but they wouldn’t be anywhere remotely in the neighborhood if they were servicing Hubble."

You can find Mr. Kluger's breakdown of Gravity here.

There are really a ton of deadly situations one might encounter in space without having to resort to this parade of unlikely disasters, and I really wanted to see a movie about that, and not what I actually got. In summary, it's not worth the price of admission. Wait for Netflix if you're curious, or just skip it. You won't miss much.


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    1. The chattiness is one of my HUGE problems with it. They would be using up their air much faster talking than staying silent. Basically, at the stated oxygen usage rate in the film, it would have been over about 30 minutes in. It is part of the larger complaint that I have with the film- the laws of physics get suspended when it's convenient to the plot, but that suspension is entirely unnecessary since in truth, fixing the errors would not have changed the story at all.


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