Viau’s View/Scott Viau
It’s hard not to buy into the hype for a movie you’re eager to see. When I first heard of what Alfonso Cuaron’s follow-up to “Children of Men” would be, I was dying to see it. Add on to that a high amount of critical praise and the end result should be an incredible movie that can’t lose. While “Gravity” comes close to that, it doesn’t match the hype.
“Gravity” opens with a long shot of Earth slowly rotating. From the distance comes a ship and when it comes into view it’s clear there are astronauts outside working on it. Two of these people are Matt Kowalski (Clooney) and Ryan Stone (Bullock). Stone is not an astronaut but a medical engineer, who is helping to repair some equipment. By her side is Kowalski, a veteran astronaut trying to help Stone relax in the deep void that is space. After their ship is torn apart by space debris, Stone and Kowalski must find a way to get back to Earth.
“Gravity” does indeed look amazing and reading accounts of how it was done has been equally fascinating. Space is a very lonely and cold place and Cuaron masterfully depicts it. Yeah, maybe it’s not 100 percent accurate, but I believed it while I was watching it. And isn’t that the point of movies to be knowingly transported to a make believe world and believing it.
The problem of the film is the tension. Yes, there’s plenty of it, but I think I was expecting it to be more intense. I felt a bit underwhelmed by it. After the film’s “twist” a third of the way through, it lost some of the steam it had been building up very well. There were times where I was on the edge of my seat, and there were times when I was checking the time.
And despite the praise they’ve been given, I wasn’t blown away by either Clooney or Bullock. That’s not to say they were awful or ruined the movie, but again, it’s another instance where the hype had me expecting something that wasn’t there. Clooney just isn’t as charming as he’s supposed to be and Bullock is just an overrated actress to begin with. Is she good? Yes. Does she deserve an Oscar for her performance? Well, more than she did for “The Blind Side,” at least, but still no.
However, movies that don’t add up to my preconceived notions are best watched again a few months down the road. Going in again knowing what the movie is and the hype having faded may put the movie in a new perspective.
Bottom line: it’s a good movie that is worth at least one viewing, even if only for the outstanding visual effects.