Gravity is dichotomous in the truest sense of the word. On the one hand, there is a brilliant IMAX 3D movie about how it feels in real time, and in real life to orbit the planet Earth. On the flipside, there is a motion picture about a virtually marooned astronaut that verges on the brink of total annihilation for nearly 91 minutes (the film's run time). Separately, the first option, writer/director Alfonso Cuarón's movie about the planet as seen from outer space like never before in 3D, is a force to be reckoned with. Regrettably, option 2, the movie about Sandra Bullock in a space suit falls flatter than flotsam hurtling toward Earth's surface from outer space. It is almost uncharted territory when a brilliant movie (cinematographically) can be directly contrasted with the worst acting witnessed in decades, and it is all part of the same show. At the very least, Gravity presents George Clooney in a brand new type of a role and he delivers a knockdown blow.
The real takeaways from Gravity are all about life in outer space. Despite learning the basics of space flight in science class, few people likely ever made the connection between scientific principles and life outside of Earth. Science teachers, NASA personnel, and the Common Core Standards developers are probably dancing like dervishes about now. Just as Night at the Museum rejuvenated the American public's fervor for museums, Gravity will also revitalize the public's fascination with astronomical phenomena. Director Cuarón presents viewers with a three dimensional view of space. Audiences are treated to space junk and debris accelerating while orbiting the earth, they are able to witness the ways in which astronauts are able to navigate in space, and brilliant images of space stations are offered up on a silver platter. Essentially, Gravity is a smorgasbord of scientific wonder and discovery. Even the extraterrestrial views of Earth (the Aurora Borealis for example) are stunning in high definition. From a cinematographic standpoint, there is everything to love about this movie and nothing to gripe about.
Unfortunately, the quality of what could have been an epic movie are all lost on its featured star Sandra Bullock. Sporting a cracked-bowl-head pixie cut, spanx shorts, and a general entourage of hideous outfits, our sometimes heroine does not offer much in the way of tantalizing cinema. Eager to prove Oscar detractors wrong, Ms. Bullock foolishly chose to hyperbolize her every movement, gesture and sound. For almost 90 minutes (when the footage is not exclusively of the space stations), Bullock is seen up close and personal huffing and puffing, grunting and groaning, kvetching and whining, and talking the audience's proverbial ear off. After 2 minutes most viewers will feel annoyed. Only the interspersion of deadly debris changes the venue for brief moments. Bullock's constant noisiness and nosiness (most facial shots show us her nose and all of it) detract from what otherwise would have been a terrific story and one bolstered by riveting scenery.
There you have it ladies and space rubbish. Gravity is 50% amazing and 50% Sandra Bullock. I am not one of her regular critics. I believe in her talent and ability. What I do not subscribe to is Ms. Bullock's relentless assault on our eyes and ears at the expense of what could have been an Oscar worthy epic movie. The only person, place or thing that almost saved the movie is George Clooney's midway cameo a la a hallucination. Sorry people, but had director Cuarón truly understood the gravity of this situation he would have cast a more palatable actress better suited for the role. Gravity is the tale of two cities, one in the age of light and the other in the age of Bullock.
Watch the Gravity trailer here.