Review: Gravity (2013)

dH

“Houston, I have a bad feeling about this mission.”
– Matt Kowalski

Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is on her first space shuttle mission with space veteran Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). They are on a mission aboard the Explorer to service the Hubble Space Telescope. This is supposed to be Kowalski’s final mission. Mission Control in Houston calls in a warning, though says that it is nothing serious but that they should keep their eyes open. A Russian missile strike on one of their defunct satellites has formed a cloud of debris in space, though they are not withing the trajectory. However, Mission Control soon calls back and tells them to abort the mission and regain re-entry immediately. While attempting this, the cloud of debris hits them, and Stone is sent careening off into space. Kowalksi needs to find her and soon.

???????

“Explorer, this is Kowalski confirming visual contact with debris, debris is from a BSE sat. To repeat, I have…” – Matt Kowalski

When Stone ultimately slows down and gets her coordinates back up, she reports her position to Kowalski. Contact with Mission Control has been lost. Kowalski has a Manned Maneuvering Unit, and makes his way over to fetching her. Once she has been retrieved, it is noted that Stone has only 8% oxygen remaining, and Kowalski’s levels are low, too. He estimates that they have ninety minutes remaining before the space debris comes around again. He hatches the plan that they will make it back toward the Space Shuttle. Upon arrival, however, it is evident that the crew is dead and that the Shuttle is heavily damaged. Reevaluating the plans leads Kowalski to make the call to make for the International Space Station (ISS). His thruster pack is low, and the going is slow too. Arrival at the ISS shows that the ship is damaged and that the crew escaped using one of the Soyuz modules, and that the other one’s parachute has been deployed, making it useless. When they get right to it, the tether between Stone and Kowalski snaps, and the two make a desperate attempt to attach themselves to the ISS somehow. Ultimately Kowalski makes the call that Stone can make it if she lets him go, though she is not prepared to, and he eventually makes the call himself by detaching himself from her, floating off into space.

gravity towing

“Explorer, permission to retrieve Dr. Stone.” – Matt Kowalski

Stone needs to get into the ISS and use it to travel to the Chinese space station, the Tiangong, where she will be able to board and use one of their modules to return to Earth. She is also insistent that she will rescue Kowalski first, though he tells her it is impossible. Stone eventually makes it into the ISS, and attempts to contact Kowalski unsuccessfully. A fire breaks out in the ISS and forces her to retreat to the Soyuz. Attempting to navigate away from the ISS, Stone has issues getting away due to the parachute, and spacewalks to detach the pod safely. However, back out in space she encounters the debris, and struggles furiously to detach the Soyuz from its parachute chords. Stone ultimately frees the Soyuz and aligns it with the Tiangong but is horrified to learn that there is no fuel to take her. Communication with Mission Control is still pointless.

gravity in the space ship

“I know, we’re all gonna die. Everybody knows that. But I’m going to die today.” – Ryan Stone

Will Stone make her way to the Tiangong, despite her odds? Will she survive her terrifying space ordeal? Will she be able to return to Earth as the sole survivor of the botched space mission? Will the debris come around again and ultimately defeat her?

A 7.5/10 for Gravity. I want it on the record that Gravity really lacks a storyline, and this is one of the few movies that managed to get away with that, regardless of the fact that it should have hurt the movie. This was still a good watch at home, though I imagine that it must have been far more amazing to see in IMAX or 3D due to the effects. I have to say that the movie got off to an exceptionally slow start, and I was afraid the rest of the movie would progress in that vein, which was boring. The movie does not feature top notch acting at all, but the acting is perfectly fine to maintain and carry the story with. There is not really much to say about this movie seeing as it is more about showing the audience Ryan Stone’s ordeal in space, as well as how scary it can be should something go wrong that far away. It shows how amazing space is, but how the unknown is scary, too, and that things can go bad. I just though that everything that could possibly go wrong for this woman did go wrong for this woman, which showed predictability as well as the weak script and the fact that it is not totally believable, but also it was necessary to keep the movie moving along for the duration of the time we spent watching it, so it was entertaining. The movie managed to capture that tense feeling and hopelessness of being stuck in space, and I must say that it was intense and gripping at times. I might not have absolutely loved this movie like Eric did (check his gushing here), but I must say that it was better than I expected it to be, but I think that I lost a lot of the experience due to watching it at home as opposed to on the big screen.

SPOILER: I was relieved that Clooney’s return was in her head and not serious, because I was over it the minute he turned up, it really put a damper on the proceedings for me. 

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54 thoughts on “Review: Gravity (2013)

  1. movierob says:

    sorry you didn’t like this so much.

    I saw this 3 times (never in the theater) and it didn’t bother me not seeing it on the big screen. I’m sure it would have been an even more amazing experience on the big screen which is mind boggling to see since I loved it so much on the small screen

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      I liked it just fine, but not like a million repeat viewing a lot haha!

      It must have been phenomenal, would love to see it if they rerelease it like that here!

      Like

    • Zoë says:

      LOL I truly do appreciate that Joseph! 😀

      I do think that it is a fair assessment. I didn’t have IMAX or 3D to make it more wow. It was a very good movie and all, just lacked some things that I would have preferred to have seen there!

      Like

  2. elina says:

    whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Zoë!!!! What are you talking about!! Gravity’s storyline moved me, deeply, and also everyone was doing perfect acting and everything was super-duper!!!! I can’t believe you didn’t love it. I’m crying inside. 😥

    Anyway, seriously — I thought the storyline was simple, yet effective, but definitely not nonexistant. The theme of constant rebirth and adaption was executed beautifully, in my opinion. I think the hype and not seeing it on a big screen might’ve hurt you here, but really, it’s been what, five months, and I still think of Gravity as the best film of last year. Also, *SPOILER* I cried so hard when Matt turned out to be not real in his last scene, even though I knew his coming back was far-fetched deep inside *END OF SPOILER* But I also loved Clooney’s character with all of my heart, and so many others didn’t.

    But anywayy — does this mean Gravity’s on DVD now? I’m always so late with these things… 😀

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    • Zoë says:

      Awwww Elina I am sorry, I did not mean to crush you! I did enjoy it though!

      It was simple, but it was fine for the source material, and the visuals just completely paved over how it came together anyway, the story really was only secondary.

      I think the hype might have killed it. People seem to think that I disliked this movie which is really not the case at all hahaa!

      I must say I really enjoyed George Clooney’s character, he was awesome and very cool and chill. He was a very cool character. *SPOILER REPLY* I know that it was sad that he was gone, but I was relieved it wasn’t really. *END OF SPOILER REPLY*

      Hahahaha yes, that is exactly what that means!

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  3. theipc says:

    My dearest and fondest JB,

    I have to quote Elina here….

    WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA???????

    THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES I HAVE EVER SEEN!!!!

    😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦

    Fuck it if the dialogue is weak – no one goes to see the big space disaster movie to get award winning dialogue!!! I have never felt as nervous as I did in this thing…..

    Oh well – great work here but 😦

    Still love you,

    Chop

    Like

    • table9mutant says:

      Who’s in more trouble – Zoe for not loving Gravity (you know I did!) or me for not loving True Detective? Hmm????? ; ) lol!

      Nice review, Zoe! This IS one that very very much did need to be seen on the big screen. I saw it on a proper IMAX screen & it was amazing. Not watched it yet at home – I CAN see it really losing something on the small screen.

      Like

    • Zoë says:

      Dear Chop,

      I know that you loved this, and I did thoroughly enjoy it, truly I did. I got nervous and anxious, which was awesome because you don’t get that often in movies. I just think I missed some of the super wow because I saw it at home and not out and about. It wasn’t bad, please don’t think that!

      Visually it really was just stunning, and the way it all came to be was amazing, I was duly impressed. But I mean really, for all the talking that was going down some more flesh would have been great.

      But then again, you are not ever really too concerned about dialogue, are you? 😛

      Love,

      JB

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  4. Parlor of Horror says:

    I thought the storyline was simple, but not thin. It was moving if you can imagine the loss of a child and how that would affect you – and that was the storyline – Stone’s journey from not caring about her life much to caring again. The space mission was just the vehicle to deliver that story. 🙂

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    • Zoë says:

      It was overly simplistic, not necessarily bad, just really weak. I like a little bit more than what they gave it. Though I can see why they would have needed a way to flesh out all the drama, find a way to make us care about her, too, and root for her to survive the ordeal.

      I did enjoy Gravity, visually it was truly a stunner!

      Like

  5. Abbi says:

    I agree with your issues with the film but watching it in 3D on the big screen kind of made them melt away with all the awe and excitement. Still one of my favourite films of 2013.

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      I am glad you see that! I think that a huge screen and 3D would have made some of the issues truly seem petty by comparison, but for a first time viewing at home, while it was extremely good and gripping I didn’t get the total awe about it when transferred to a smaller screen.

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      • jjames36 says:

        I would guess – I haven’t seen it on a small screen. But the power of Gravity is in the way it makes us feel the astronauts’ weightlessness, not in the story. I just can’t imagine it doing that as well on a smaller screen.

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      • Zoë says:

        It is nerve-wracking at times, and you feel with the astronauts but I didn’t have that “I’m there” feeling that I suspect theatres gave. It was an enjoyable movie though!

        Like

  6. Mark Walker says:

    Fine review Zoe. I also criticised the film for its lack of story. It had to opportunity to explore something deeper and meaningful and it just didn’t do it. I’m also not that big on Sandra Bullock. I think she vastly overrated. That being said, I still rated it very highly but that was strictly down the visuals.

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      Thanks Mark! I recall your having done so, and you were right about it. Yeah, she has her ups and downs, she is pretty popular and I am not one hundred percent certain why. However, visually this movie was absolutely stunning!

      Like

  7. Tom says:

    I definitely think this is a defensible score having watched this on TV or computer; I have only seen it once on the big screen (not in 3-D) and it was quite breathtaking; I imagine it loses quite a lot of that effect on smaller screens. All the same I still can’t deny the lack of a very complex narrative, either. I did, however think Bullock’s performance was incredible, given the fact that she was acting in an awkward plastic suit in front of a green screen for a majority of the time. This was pure emoting, least to me. I lapped it up, anyway. 🙂 Gravity is definitely a good thriller at the very least! Good review

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      Thank you Tom. I can imagine with it stretched out before you must be phenomenal! I am glad that we are in agreement there, it was a little shallow and that was annoying on some levels, but the visuals made up for that. I didn’t mind her in this one, and I am usually not the greatest fan of hers. She carried this far better than I expected her to! It was pretty gripping, no denying that!

      Like

  8. caragale says:

    Ahahaha. I assume you and Eric have mended the rift this caused in your friendship? I certainly hope so!! Shame you didn’t like this more. The plot is nothing particularly groundbreaking, but I dunno…I just enjoy the clean, simplicity of it, you know? Bullock is phenomenal and the visuals are amazing. We’ll just have to agree to disagree…but I still ❤ you. 🙂 Nice job!

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      Thank you, thank you so much. Well, he hated Shutter Island. I did not hate this, but we will have to call for even footing there. Plus we both love Saving Private Ryan. All is still well in the world 😛 The simplicity worked for this, especially for what it was, but just leaves a little empty feeling by the end. Though it was certainly not a bad watch, I did enjoy it.

      Like

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