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Gravity, you guys.

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Kylee Peña
Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 6, 2013 at 4:14:41 pm

Okay, I've complained about 3D and junk a lot here so let the gravity (HEH) of this statement sink in:

Go see Gravity in 3D on the biggest screen you can find. There is no other way to watch this movie. It's space, things float, the 3D makes it extremely unsettling and real.

Tim, you've said you want stuff flying at you whole a bunch, not just the occasional gimmick? 3D actually used to a fuller extent? GRAVITY.

And ya know what? It's actually a well-written film.

Space is terrifying. The catalyst for the disaster in the film is terrestrially terrifying.

And Cuaron, I love you and your long takes. I think I read somewhere that when the film had a two hour runtime, the total shots numbered 156. I don't know what it is now, but that is straight up bananas, yo. 45 seconds average shot length? In 2013?

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Tim Wilson
Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 6, 2013 at 7:48:21 pm

[Kylee Wall] "Go see Gravity in 3D on the biggest screen you can find. There is no other way to watch this movie. It's space, things float, the 3D makes it extremely unsettling and real.

Tim, you've said you want stuff flying at you whole a bunch, not just the occasional gimmick? 3D actually used to a fuller extent? GRAVITY."


Agreed. :-)

As one of the world's premier 3D boosters, it really wouldn't do to have me say this, but yes.

You may have seen one of the ads on TV that's nothing but a lengthy quote from James Cameron saying that this is the best 3D ever, far surpassing Avatar -- an understatement.

On the flip side, Kenneth Turan at the LA Times is even more extreme than Kylee in his belief that 3D needs to go away, NOW, but he says about Gravity: "Words can do little to convey the visual astonishment this space opera creates. It is a film whose impact must be experienced in 3-D on a theatrical screen to be fully understood."

Please, please, please, don't be a chump and see this in 2D. As the Washington Post notes, it'd be like hearing Beethoven through a tin can and string. This is a 3D movie. If you have any respect for cinema whatsoever, either see it in 3D or don't see it at all.


Other non 3D data points:

98% fresh at Rottentomatoes, on 216 reviews.

NPR: Doctoral theses will be penned on the breath-catchingly realistic, gorgeously choreographed, entirely mesmerizing opening.

Wall Street Journal: In one form or another, motion pictures have been with us since the middle of the 19th century, but there's never been one like "Gravity."

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Gravity is a thing of transcendent beauty and terror. It's more than a movie. It's some kind of miracle.


'nuff said. See it. See it in 3D.

Too much stuff for me to even talk about until more of you have seen it. But talk we shall.


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Kylee Peña
Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 7, 2013 at 12:50:36 am

I've been out of touch, I didn't realize it was being reviewed so well.

That makes me warm and fuzzy.

I've had a copy of the Gravity script with a 2009 copyright for a couple of years. Until today I had only read the beginning (because I was like oh crap this is awesome, I don't want to know.) The action is basically the same order of events, and some dialogue was improved quite a bit. But the thing that really was different between the release and an earlier draft was Ryan. The script I have is like Die Hard in space. Or I guess saying "like Speed, in space" is appropriate here since we're talking Sandra Bullock. The Ryan I saw was deeply flawed, realistic, and doubtful of her abilities. The Ryan in the script is a bad ass from beginning to end, with cheesy quips and nothing but resolve to get home.

It's interesting to me that this script was likely developed originally with much less character and emotion, and became the brilliantly human story I saw last night on a giant mfing screen. Seems like it usually goes the other way.

Also interesting: the script's tag line is "A Space Suspense in 3D". How many films have been written as 3D films so far?

E'rybody go see this and talk about it please.

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Scott Roberts
Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 7, 2013 at 10:05:49 pm

It's pretty rare that I make it over to Chicago's Navy Pier IMAX for my movie seeing pleasure. And by rarely, I mean I've never been there before to see a movie. Never felt the need to pay the prices I suppose, when I have a perfectly good (yet smaller) IMAX 10 minutes from my home. BUT this weekend, I decided to make a special trip to Navy Pier to experience Gravity on the biggest, most butt-rumbling screen I could experience it on. Did I think it was worth the $16 tickets and $25 parking garage costs...?

Well, let me put it this way, I guess... In 2007, I saw Danny Boyle's space film Sunshine. I thought it was a really good movie (one of the best of that year), and I sort of campaigned the fact that people should make an effort to see it in theaters, because it honestly won't be as mindblowingly visceral on your TV as it would on a large screen. Space movies, in my opinion, are best when they fill up your vision completely, and you get lost in the darkness, and mesmerized by the moments of brightness. Almost more importantly, having your ears drums potentially damaged by ominous humming noises and deep bass sound mixes are a must. Short of having a mansion with a personal theater in it, you will never recreate the sights and sounds of a space movie in theaters, especially if you have a crappy TV and a distracting computer/smartphone next to you. And as much as I tried to get people to see Sunshine on a big screen, I plead to you ten times more to see Gravity on a big screen. Actually a BIGGER screen. If you don't see a lot of movies in theaters, and you're looking for that one that's worth it, it's Gravity on the IMAX. You can rent this in a few months on RedBox, and watch it at home, and totally enjoy it in all its tense glory... And I 100% guarantee that you would have enjoyed it to a disgustingly higher degree if you just took 2 hours out of an upcoming weekend and saw it in IMAX 3D. Oh, yeah, that's right... I agree with Kylee and Tim, the 3D was awesome, too.

In addition to being critically successful like Tim pointed out (98% Rotten Tomatoes score, 96 on Metacritic), it's also approved by common yokel audiences (90% liked it on RT), AND it was financially successful (#1 at the box office with $55 million, the biggest October movie opening of all time). The trifecta! It pleases the snobs, it pleases the common man, and it did so while being a high concept art film that a ton of people went to go see anyway.

I guess I should talk about the actual movie at some point? But first, I'd just like to say that I understand why it could potentially turn people away, before they even see it. I was at a party over the weekend, and I was trying to explain to people why Gravity was so good, and I got a lot of "Is that the Sandra Bullock movie where she screams a lot in space? EHHHH." I guess I understand how people who don't go see movies all the time, or aren't big into the technical side of filmmaking, would actually see the trailer for Gravity and could, like, NOT be impressed. It's a movie that thrives on all of its technical levels first and foremost. From the cinematography to the sound design to the (clearly about to be Oscar-winning) special effects, Gravity is a marvel of sight and sound. Probably more so than a great story-type film. So if you're not impressed by 10 minute long-shots and a masterful use of depth of field, then I understand why this wouldn't top your list of things to see. That being said, if you actually want to EXPERIENCE something at the movie theater for a change, Gravity is the best "theme park ride" type of a movie you can see, short of going to a 1950s matinée and getting shot with water guns by employees.

A lot of people are calling the story the weakest part of the movie. And it is. But at the same time, I didn't think the story was bad at all. It's much less of a character driven piece, and much more of an emotional journey through a terrifying drift of fear. It's a movie that made me feel helpless quite a bit throughout it. It's basically a barrage of moments where Sandra Bullock has to survive elements mostly out of her control. And again, IT'S FRIGHTENING. It's a great film in general, but for right now, I'm happy with having the experience it gave me at the top of my list of why I liked it.

I suppose if I had a criticism of anything, it's that it tried to hit at a few underlying themes, and they weren't really all that subtle. I'm looking at you, fetal position Sandra with space suit umbilical cord shot. Not that I necessarily disliked that moment, I actually liked it quite a bit on a pacing level. But c'mon... Maybe a little too obvious? It felt like a film student quality symbolism scene. But with breathtaking cinematography.

To sum it up, there are really just two elements that make up the core of Gravity: Sandra Bullock's great (mostly) solo performance, and the visually and audibly stunning ocean of panic that is outer space. They both worked well together at giving me an upset stomach from stress. And I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. So, yeah, it was worth it, if you just skipped from the first paragraph of my review to the last sentence.


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Stephen Smith
Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 7, 2013 at 10:39:48 pm

Okay, I'm sold, I'm going to see it on the 3D big screen. Please tell me it has a good ending, I can't take another Space Odyssey ending.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

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Scott Roberts
Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 7, 2013 at 11:47:32 pm

I dug the ending. Pretty satisfying. Sandra Bullock doesn't visit her older self in a white room, then turn into a giant space fetus.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 8, 2013 at 12:19:19 am

I'm not nuts about the end, but it's a real ending. :-)

Although there IS a nod to one shot in 2001, at least imo. There's also Ed Harris briefly heard for a couple of sentences as a NASA controller, a role he played in The Right Stuff and, most notably of course, Apollo 13, where some fellas have a hard time up there. And any Wall-E fans will appreciate one of the props in Gravity.

I'm not sure why, but I also thought about Ellen Ripley a couple of times. I'm not the only one to say this, but seriously, I have no idea why.

Still, Cuarón really is one of the industry's originals. Aside from his magical direction, he's been nominated for 3 Oscars for other stuff -- two for writing (Children of Men and Y tu mamá también), and one for editing (CoM). He both wrote and edited this one too.

(He had collaborators in some of these cases, but....)

Speaking of originals, I get the feeling that I'm the only one here who thinks of the best Harry Potter movies as Real Live Art, but Cuarón's entry in the series, The Prisoner of Azkaban is astounding - COMPLETELY original. A visual treat, even for people who don't go in for Harry movies in general. (WHICH YOU SHOULD dammit. LOL)

Same for his Little Princess - yes, the third feature adaptation (plus twice more for TV), but wow, he killed this one. Nominated for 2 Oscars, including cinematography by 5-time Oscar nominee Emmanuel Lubezki - who will surely earn his sixth Oscar nom for Gravity. Prolly gonna win this time.

So, the homages are all in good fun, but he, and this, is a real, live original, in every sense.


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Kylee Peña
Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 8, 2013 at 12:43:09 am

Read a couple brief reviews that mentioned not being nuts about the ending.

I would love to know how y'all would change it, because it felt like the only possible ending.

Spoilers for the film now are happening!

After putting your protagonist through the worst possible day of her life and bringing her to the brink of death in the most isolated place imaginable, what other ending could be more impactful than seeing her covered in EARTH, struggling against the GRAVITY.

I'm just curious, not being a jerk face.

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Tim Wilson
Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 8, 2013 at 8:48:43 pm

[Kylee Wall] "I'm just curious, not being a jerk face."

Not that the two are mutually exclusive LOL but I think most people really do love the ending. Probably pretty much everyone. I'd give it a Fresh rating over at the Tomatoes, but there's a long way for me between "Go see it, there's never been anything like it" and "They did everything right."

Before I go off and start a "things I found less than satisfying" thread, I have to mention the cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki. 3D this, VFX that - somebody hadda shoot the thing, and Lubezki did an incredible job with this.

He's been nominated for 5 Oscars already (including Tree of Life, Sleepy Hollow -- which I thought was GORGEOUS, one of my faves -- and Cuarón's Children of Men and The Little Princess), and this will surely net him a 6th nomination. I can easily imagine him winning.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 8, 2013 at 10:34:22 pm

It's got the right ending. If you see the "fetal position" shot in orbit, the landing shot sequence is symbolically re-capitulating the characters' (re)birth, with her new perspective on life and living. Though since she re-entered randomly, and Earth is 75% or so ocean, it's stretching credulity that she landed where she did. Then again, the HST and both space stations are nowhere near the orbits they were in for the film, but they forced that change to make their plot work.

I'll tell you, of all the shots in this beautifully shot film, the one that really grabbed me was flying the camera in so very, VERY closely to her helmet, and continuing, seamlessly, without a break, to come inside the helmet along her face, and give you the POV shot, then come back out the same way. Even knowing the SFX magic that makes that happen could not take away the emotional power of that shot.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 8, 2013 at 12:40:33 am

[Kylee Wall] "How many films have been written as 3D films so far?"

MOST 3D MOVIES. I know that many of you kids have this idea that 3D is some kind of fake cheese slathered on movie nachos, but most filmmakers don't make movies like that.

Both Lee and Scorsese said that they'd never have made Pi and Hugo respectively if they weren't in 3D. Wouldn't have made them at all. So it's not that 3D was part of their DNA. They wouldn't have existed otherwise.

Avatar, which you may have heard of, wasn't exactly a technical exercise, but wasn't exactly NOT one either. There were a bunch of new (or new-ish) technologies on display, and not least of them was 3D - which for years, was pretty much all we knew about the movie.

Anyway, bunches of other examples of movies that were conceived of as 3D, and ONLY 3D, from before the first keystroke. I'm happy to go into them at astounding and exhausting length. LOL Admittedly, this is the only one I know of that has "3D" written on the title page of the script. :-) At least partly because it would have been redundant in so many other cases. LOL

Remarkable how long this one floated around (hahaha) before finding a home at Warner Bros in 2010. (Remember -- Angelina Jolie was gonna do it one point.) Part of the good news for all of us -- hard to imagine this thing being shot nearly as well in 2008 or 9, and not just because of the 3D.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 8, 2013 at 2:04:51 pm

Just saw this last night with my wife, in 3D, and I agree it's spectacular. I did notice a few minor technical problems, but they didn't take me out of the story too badly. Some of them were deliberate to serve the plot.

You get this impression of the (biblical) Job-like odds that keep stacking up against Bullock's character, and you think to yourself: "How would *I* bear up under all of this?"

This film is really outside the normal, expected story structure of most mainstream movies, and that by itself is disorienting, never mind the zero-gee stuff. My wife said it felt like a short story, come to life, more than a movie.



We also saw the trailer for Walter Mitty in 3-d, and that looked like it could be good


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Tim Wilson
SPOILERIFIC, Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 11, 2013 at 7:16:34 am

1) I don't believe in spoilers. The boat sinks, Lincoln dies, King Kong dies, Romeo and Juliet both die, Jesus dies then comes back to life. But hey, some of you do, so heads up.


2) As Kylee points out, Cuarón didn't think of this as a movie that would be made in 3D. It's a "3D movie." Audiences by and large got this: 70% of the opening weekend gross came from 3D showings.

This would have been the perfect movie to have ONLY had 3D showings, but that will likely never happen outside of narrow-interest IMAX movies, because studios are greedy bastards. They will violate any and every bit of an artistic vision to make sure that they hoover up every last nickel.

Serving as a reminder that 3D movies are not the mercenary money grab. The mercenary money grab is 2D showings of 3D movies.

I'm thrilled that so many of you voted with your dollars to support artistic integrity. Please continue to say "NO" to studios trampling artistic vision, and refuse to attend 2D showings of 3D movies.

Thank you.


3) I CAME THIIIIS CLOSE TO WALKING OUT OF THIS MOVIE. For so so many reasons.

Before I begin my rant, when I say "she," I'm talking strictly about the character, and not Sandra Bullock. Sandy killed. I can't imagine her not winning an Oscar for it.

HOWEVER, Ryan Stone was a bit of a flibbertigibbet. The main purpose of that shuttle trip was to install her piece of gear, but it was kinda...stuck...and she kinda...couldn't get it to fit? Women in NASA aren't like that. Even the "amateurs" are trained to within an inch of their lives, and, just guessing, no woman would put herself in a position to be shown up on the basics of HER OWN PROJECT. This felt really, really sexist to me.


4) Here's the part that IS sexist: her character was hard for me to grasp, because she kind of wasn't there...which was of course part of the point, that she was a hollowed out shell...why? Because she was a MOMMMMMMMY.

Look, I say with every bit of real-life empathy that I understand that losing a kid is devestating...but in the movie? C'mon man, GAME ON. There's no crying in NASA!


5) Worse, worse, WORSE: "NOBODY TAUGHT ME HOW TO PRAY."

Ah, so this entire predicament is her PARENTS fault. Her GODLESS parents fault. If onnnnnly she'd been taught how to pray, she could have resolved her grief and gotten her crap together out there in space. Oh, if only, if only.

Wait, nobody TAUGHT her to pray? Is praying so hard that she couldn't have figured it out on her own? NO. She's a ROCKET SCIENTIST for pete's ache, and whatever else prayer is, IT AIN'T ROCKET SCIENCE.

Seriously, my wife and I leaned in and had a politely-whispered conversation about whether or not we were going to stay after that. What an insult.


6) We stayed because we knew that the movie was only 90 minutes. Thankyouthankyouthankyou, Alfonso Cuarón, for believing that you could tell a sharp story in 90 minutes instead of 125.

The rest of you: pay attention. Make shorter movies.

(In context, I only like the extended edition of LOTR:ROTK. It NEEDS to be that long. Everybody else: your movie almost certainly does not.)


7) It was still nice to see Dr. Stone step up her game when her life was on the line. It didn't bother me a bit to see her die. It felt RIGHT.

In fact, I thought that that was a majestic irony -- she decides to live (for whatever phony reasons she WASN'T previously committed to living...and seriously, how does somebody who's not committed to staying alive at every cost make it through NASA training? THEY DON'T), and THAT's when she dies.

Because that's what would happen if the door into space opened while she was in her underwear, right? She'd have died in spectacularly gruesome fashion, starting with exploding eyeballs. So there's no way that that last conversation with George Clooney would have happened for reals. SHE'D BE DEAD.

Wait, WHAT? It was only a DREAM? Bogus. BOGUS. If she was dreaming, he'd have just BEEN THERE, in the chair next to her. Because even in her dream, she's an ASTRONAUT. She knows that if the door opens, SHE'S DEAD.

People die in space in situations like this. Clooney deciding to die was bold, brave, generous of spirit, deeply human at humanity's best, and speaking as a movie watcher, extremely satisfying. Not every problem has a solution other than gracefully facing your own demise.

THAT's a lesson that movies should be teaching. EVERYBODY DIES. DON'T BE A DICK ABOUT IT.


8) Before I continue, dude, those were not the legs of somebody not committed to staying alive. She was pretty well jacked. That may be part of why she reminded me of Ellen Ripley, whose muscle tone miraculously survived years in suspended animation.

I'm not being sexist or hubba-hubba when I say that. I'm not saying that no hollowed-out shells go to the gym. PLENTY of hollowed out shells go to the gym. I'm saying that no hollowed out shells go to the gym and work THAT hard, and then stay focused enough to make it through NASA training. Doesn't happen.

But no matter how jacked she got, no matter how much training she had, no matter how much gumption she pulled out at the very end: dying would have made more sense.

They actually kind of visually teed that up with the "curled into the fetal position" nod to 2001. Circle of life and all that.

But no. They cheated Ryan Stone, and us, of a dignified, BRAVE, RESOURCEFUL demise.


9) Wait, there's some oriental-sounding dude who's BROADCASTING his gibberish on the freaking AM band? And singing a lullaby to his kid IN THE SAME ROOM on the AM band? Or was the baby ALSO on AM radio?

Or did I get that wrong? Was he not on AM radio?

That made no sense to me...except wait, she was in the Chinese joint by then, and what the heck do *I* know? Maybe AM radio is EXACTLY how Chinese astronauts communicate with...uhm, farmers and their babies. After all, the guy speaking pidgin gibberish sounded kinda Chinese, right?

Really? We're in the 21st century and still doing THAT? That's like those Bugs Bunny cartoons where he digs through the earth to China or whatever. That was almost okay in 1948, but 2013 -- really?


10) C'mon, she'd gotten the poo kicked out of her for a couple of hours, she'd nearly died while that dude was singing a lullaby, she goes through the trauma of an improvised re-entry and water "touchdown," and after all that time in sub-optimal air, then practically drowns trying to get out of the capsule, and she can hold her breath for, like, ANOTHER HOUR?

Whew! Good thing she'd spent all that hollowed-out shell time at the gym AND at the pool!


10) I get the idea of constant chatter. Clooney set that up when he said, "you never know what NASA can hear. You keep talking because that may be the only thing that saves you."

I'd have written that out a little more thoroughly. He'd have said before that, "Do you know why I keep talking, even if it's just stupid stories that people have already heard?"

And she'd have said, "I assumed it's because you're an idiot."

He'd have laughed, and THEN said the stuff about keep talking or die.


11) But she was a first-timer. I'd have loved if she'd have lapsed into silence, then snapped herself out of it -- "Right, I forgot. Must keep talking." Of course, my whole "there are no partially-trained NASA astronauts" point pushes against that, but in the context of this character as presented, it would have made sense.

2001: A Space Odyssey bored the poo out of me eventually, but I respected the long silences. Those were some of my favorite parts. I GOT that. Space is mostly quiet. Shhhhh.


12) Related to that, way too much music. My jaw dropped when the music kicked in before the end of the first disaster. Really? I was RIVETED by what was happening. The LAST thing I needed was music trying to tell me I should be feeling tense. Took me completely out of the scene.


13) Having said all that, I loved the disasters. Entirely immersive, and astounding to behold. Daredevil moviemaking of the highest order. Also the best illustration of "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction" that we may ever see. Awesome.


14) But on the whole, I'm left really annoyed. Going in, my assumption was that I'd buy the deluxe 3D DVD, and use that opening sequence as what I call the Dad and Neighbor Demo, one sequence to show off my awesome 3D TV at its best, and watch all the featurettes over and over.

As it is now, I doubt I'll ever watch it again.


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Scott Roberts
Re: SPOILERIFIC, Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 11, 2013 at 2:26:31 pm

[Tim Wilson] "Look, I say with every bit of real-life empathy that I understand that losing a kid is devestating...but in the movie? C'mon man, GAME ON. There's no crying in NASA!"

Yeah, this was one of those things that felt a little too obvious for me. The whole "she lost a child, and now she's getting reborn" angle. I appreciated the effort, though.



[Tim Wilson] "Wait, nobody TAUGHT her to pray? Is praying so hard that she couldn't have figured it out on her own? NO. She's a ROCKET SCIENTIST for pete's ache, and whatever else prayer is, IT AIN'T ROCKET SCIENCE."

I'm going to be honest, I remember this moment, but I don't even remember at what point of the movie this actually happened during. A week later, and Gravity feels like a big crazy blur to me. I think I need to see it again, but don't want to pay the IMAX prices a second time...



[Tim Wilson] "People die in space in situations like this. Clooney deciding to die was bold, brave, generous of spirit, deeply human at humanity's best, and speaking as a movie watcher, extremely satisfying. Not every problem has a solution other than gracefully facing your own demise.

THAT's a lesson that movies should be teaching. EVERYBODY DIES. DON'T BE A DICK ABOUT IT."


That scene was very, uh, chivalrous of Mr. Clooney's character. Had that been me in that situation, I'd be more like "DON'T YOU DARE LET GO OF THIS ROPE! DON'T YOU DARE! GET YOURSELF TOGETHER AND PULL ME IN!" But if anyone has to die in the smoothest way possible, it would be someone like George Clooney.



[Tim Wilson] "Related to that, way too much music. My jaw dropped when the music kicked in before the end of the first disaster. Really? I was RIVETED by what was happening. The LAST thing I needed was music trying to tell me I should be feeling tense. Took me completely out of the scene."

I don't know, I liked the music. I thought it was a *clever* way of providing sound in an environment where sound doesn't exist. Though, I think a viewing of the film in 100% "realistic" silence would be pretty terrifying in its own right. But then stuff like people coughing in the theater would take me out of the moment. Isn't that the worst, when a movie is trying to be unintentionally quiet, and then a person starts shifting around in their seat loudly or pawing away at a bag of popcorn? JUST SIT STILL. WE AREN'T ASKING FOR MUCH.



***I really liked the movie (or at least the movie experience) quite a bit. But if anyone wants to read some other interesting nitpicking perspectives, here's some quality links for you right here!

First, Filmdrunk enlisted the help of a former NASA employee (who they joke is a rocket scientist), who gives an honest review of the film from the viewpoint of someone who knows all about that kind of stuff:

http://filmdrunk.uproxx.com/2013/10/gravity-reviewed-by-an-actual-rocket-sc...


And then here's a summary of the comically nitpicky fact check breakdown of the film by Neil deGrasse Tyson (which at the end, he states he enjoyed the film regardless):

http://www.slashfilm.com/neil-degrasse-tyson-fact-checks-gravity-buzz-aldri...


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Mark Suszko
Re: SPOILERIFIC, Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 11, 2013 at 4:58:05 pm

Reacting to the critiques, Bullock's character isn't technically an Astronaut: she's a "Mission Specialist". Mission specialists do a lot of the same training as Astronauts, but not always as long or as intense - they train mostly for the one job they are supposed to be up there for, which is usually running specific experiments. The story establishes she was hurried thru the training because she was the top expert on the module she invented for the Hubble upgrade, so, in this context, the fact that she gets a bit weepy and overwrought is NOT at all out of character.

There should be no shuttle by the time of this movie; they could have used something fictional, or something in development now, like Dragon or the Boeing CS-100, but they wanted to keep this looking grounded in reality.

There should be no Hubble by the time of this movie: Hubble is about to be EOL'd like Final Cut Pro, and shot into a high graveyard orbit. I suppose in this story, they hand-wave a new mission for it as the excuse to get the two characters out there, but it could have really been any orbiting platform.

The Filmdrunk review is in error that China's station, called Tiangong doesn't exist: it does, just not in the more-developed form we see in the movie, which is more like the old Russian Mir platform.

The biggest "hand-wave" in the movie (and there are several) is that the shuttle, Hubble, ISS, and Tiangong would all be in the same cozy orbit, in spitting distance of each other. That would be just about impossible, but then you'd have no movie.

I didn't much like how much Clooney gabbled on-air during the spacewalking, before the accident. To save oxygen, and to keep the radio channel clear, astronauts on EVA are very taciturn and terse. It would be more like very polite air traffic controllers taking turns. If Clooney is talking all the time he can't hear Mission Control. He also wouldn't talk about raunchy New Orleans experiences over the open channels either. This too was forced by the story, which can't effectively depict internal monologues like a short story can... so Clooney's banter establishes a reason for Sandra to keep speaking out loud later, in hopes she's being heard and tracked, but also, because the talking is calming and focusing in a deadly situation.

Clooney also was way too free with the use of the backpack in close proximity to other EVA ops. A real astronaut would not operate the unit this way because it is wasteful of fuel and dangerous to everyone. They did it to help sell the 3-d early-on.


There's a scene where Bullock has a tenuous, slipping grasp on Clooney, but can't haul him back in. Clooney detaches of his own free will. (Contrast this to Tim Robbins in a similar scene in the terrible "Mission To Mars) This makes sense only if the entire station is spinning with enough angular momentum to give Clooney an outward-pulling centripetal force, but the shots leading up to the moment don't really show that; they imply a free drift, in which case, all either of them need do is give the tiniest tug, and they'd be back together.

They are very careless with opening hatches on pressurized compartments. Those hatches weigh hundreds of pounds and flip open explosively. Twice.

They get back to the wrecked shuttle, and neither astronaut takes the opportunity to re-fill their O2 at the air lock?

They go into the wreck thru the jagged hole that could tear their suits open?

She never wears the diaper and thermal control long-johns that go with the space suits. And they take way long to don in zero gee by yourself. In the later stage, her suit has no backpack at all, she's living on about ten minute's worth of air, without an umbilical.

The fire extinguisher is not being fired thru her center of gravity, so all it would do is tumble her worse and worse.

No astronaut in a burning station would "forget" to close hatches behind her to seal off the fire. This is the number one hazard they train for after decompression.

The Clooney dream sequence or hallucination was well-done, as an expression of her Id fighting back in the subconscious for a way out and triggering a memory of her training that could save her. You can look at that as a religious person or as a an atheist and still like it.

Tyson pointed out, her hair never floats in micrograv. Hell of a perm.


The hatch on the Soyuz landing capsule doesn't automatically pop off like that on landing. This was forced by the story so she can go thru a more symbolic "re-birth" underwater, once again holding her breath for what seems like forever.

In real life the landing would be in the ocean, more than likely. Not the lagoon at Gilligan's island.


For all the long list of sins, NONE of these took me out of the story; it was too engrossing.


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Stephen Smith
Re: SPOILERIFIC, Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 14, 2013 at 4:52:58 pm

I loved it! I can't wait for the sequel. I agree that it is the best use of 3D I have seen. The destruction was amazing and I'm happy that it wasn't some stupid explanation like Deep Impact / Armageddon, you know, we look out at space all day long and we just figured out that we have one day until the world ends unless we blow up the meteor the size of a planet. When I watched the trailer I thought I would be super mad if a bunch of asteroids ripped threw them and no one new they where coming. There explanation was very satisfying. I loved the ending. I cheated and read the ending before I watched it. I typically don't like films with sad depressing endings, there is plenty of that available in the real world. I don't think it would be satisfying for the character to work so hard and for others to sacrifice their lives for her just for her to die at the end. All in all this was one of my most enjoyable movie going experiences this year. And I'm also happy that she landed safely close to my home.

Tim,
I was surprised by your rant. Normally you always focus on what you loved about the film and not a lengthy rant. I think Mark summed it up real well: "Reacting to the critiques, Bullock's character isn't technically an Astronaut: she's a "Mission Specialist"". Tim, I don't think you have ever written about leaving a film before. I wrote a lengthy response to your Pray comment but after writing it I thought about it and I could interpret that comment multiple ways and hope I just interpreted it wrong. I'll just say, I think anyone who is still alive after almost dying every second for the last 45 minutes deserves the right to freak out and cry about what ever they want. One last thing Tim, I wasn't planing on seeing the film in the theater. Your first post totally sold me on seeing it on the iMax in 3D. I'm really glad I went and watched it, it was my favorite movie going experiences this year. Thanks for the recommendation.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Stephen Smith
Re: SPOILERIFIC, Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 14, 2013 at 5:57:30 pm

Also, I learned that there are lots of pens in outer space.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Mike Cohen
Re: SPOILERIFIC, Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 14, 2013 at 6:12:35 pm

Looks to be awesome in 3D. Probably like Avatar, seeing it in 2D will just make it appear to be run of the mill sci-fi.

Having spent the past 10 days in hotels all I know of this movie are the trailer and the snippets on CNN seen in lobbies of hotels and convention centers about the fat stacks of cash this thing is making.

Hopefully it will still be playing at a IMAX near me in a few weeks.

I'll report back then.

Mike


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Stephen Smith
Re: SPOILERIFIC, Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 14, 2013 at 6:34:59 pm

[Mike]
Looks to be awesome in 3D. Probably like Avatar, seeing it in 2D will just make it appear to be run of the mill sci-fi.

I remember when I watched Independence Day in the theater on I believe July 6th. I thought it was the best movie of all times. Then when the movie came out on VHS I watched it and wasn't able to finish the film. After all of the cool special effects wore off it wasn't as great as I thought. This is a must see in 3D.

[Mike]
Hopefully it will still be playing at a IMAX near me in a few weeks.

I don't think anything else is coming out in 3D to take its place plus it is making lots of money so it should be in the IMAX for a while.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Tim Wilson
Re: SPOILERIFIC, Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 14, 2013 at 10:08:34 pm

[Stephen Smith] "it should be in the IMAX for a while."

IMAX as a chain has it booked through the end of the month.

Coming later today at Creative COW: an article with Prime Focus, the company that did the 3D conversion for the movie.

You know it's all post-converted 3D, right? I personally think that post-conversion is the RIGHT way to do 3D

It was also shot in glorious TWO K with ARRI Alexas. Those cameras really do make freakishly gorgeous pictures. Uprez to IMAX? No problem.

In the meantime, I know I owe you a proper reply to your reply to me, Stephen. Scrambling now to get that and a couple other articles posted today, but will be back tonight. :-)


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Stephen Smith
Re: SPOILERIFIC, Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 14, 2013 at 10:32:58 pm

[Tim]
Coming later today at Creative COW: an article with Prime Focus, the company that did the 3D conversion for the movie.

You know it's all post-converted 3D, right?



Sounds very interesting, can't wait to read it. You guys will also have to do a making of type of article as well if you can.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Tim Wilson
Re: SPOILERIFIC, Re: Gravity, you guys.
on Oct 14, 2013 at 11:11:04 pm

[Stephen Smith] "You guys will also have to do a making of type of article as well if you can."

We've gotten nothing but support from the studio. It's just a matter of tracking people down. They're all onto their next jobs of course. I'll let you know when we nail a couple of these down, but I think we'll continue the route of doing full-length articles for each of the crafts.....


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