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Old October 31 2013, 10:20 AM   #106
Cookies and Cake
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Re: Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

SPOILERS, duh

I did a search of the thread and noticed that no one has yet compared Bullock's scene getting out of the spacesuit, when she gets to the space station, with Barbarella's strip tease at the beginning of that film. Well, now someone has. The Bullock scene was nice, and a nice update of the Barbarella strip tease, but it was somewhat gratuitous. Given the urgency of her predicament, I really doubted she would have taken the time to disrobe like that. That is to say, I wouldn't have wasted any time like that. I guess we're supposed to believe that she was overwhelmed, and all.

There were numerous little nitpicks like that that I had with the film, but nothing which could detract from the overall massive thumbs up. Its visual style is of course a milestone for hard science fiction. The never-say-die theme that runs through the film is also nice, and rewarding with an emotional payoff at the end.

Well, that is, never-say-die if your name is Bullock. If it's Clooney, you're fucked, of course. I bet he wished he hadn't wasted all that fuel circling the shuttle at the beginning.

The best scene in Mission to Mars is Tim Robbins's death scene, but that was undermined by the Newtonian physics being all jacked in it. The Clooney death scene was essentially a redux of that, but handled much more plausibly. Of course, all these sorts of situations owe more than a little to The Cold Equations.

Oh, and Bullock's performance was top notch, I thought.

A

P.S. In my opinion, any physical science errors, while obviously present, are irrelevant. This is a film, and it's fiction. Give it a break.
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Old October 31 2013, 10:03 PM   #107
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Re: Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

I saw it a second time and just keep reveling in the visuals. Most of the time even I can't tell what is practical and what is CG, and I can't think of any movie ever that could make such a claim. Every time I see a foreground piece of equipment I think set-piece, but then remember that even the spacesuits are CG. CGTALK has a couple of VFX guys on it who mention even Bullock's bare legs are at least partly CG in some scenes. It's a real kick to being able to see VFX as magic again, after decades of writing about same and being pretty jaded the whole while (2001, CE3K and parts of BLADE RUNNER and SPACE COWBOYS being major exceptions.)

There are a couple too many perilous escapes for my taste, which reeks of SPEED IN SPACE, but man, when the show is in LEO, it really sells the environment like gangbusters.

It just occurred to me that this could give the Tom Hanks MAJOR MATT MASON project a real kick in the pants. Here you have something with a major star that evinces the 'can-do' 'tude in manned spaceflight, and there is already a finished script.

It's not the RIGHT script, mind you -- that's the one I've had in my head for the last decade, in which Mason discovers his reality -- in which technological tools usually gets BIGGER (i.e., lots of reel-to-reel TIME TUNNELcumTHE PRISONER-looking computer banks -- and in which it IS possible to actually solve a problem without bureaucratic interference), is actually a universe in the process of dead-ending, and he must commit one last great bit of heroism in order to allow the proper universe -- our own -- to survive. I've thought of it as YESTERDAY'S ENTERPRISE meets THE GODS THEMSELVES, and it seems like it would be a good way of treating the differences between the MattelApollo/space odyssey vision of the future with what we actually got stuck with. Or they could have done it as a straight alternate reality and adapted Ben Bova's MILLENNIUM, which would have been a dynamite film, one I have imagined in my head for about 35 years.

As is, the Mason script is apparently some kind of disaster on the moon a la Clarke's A FALL OF MOONDUST, so it could be an ideal cash-in to GRAVITY's surprise popularity. Then again, this could fall into the 'nonrecurring phenomena' niche, when Hollywood sees a success and can't explain it well enough to rip it off or duplicate it (I think LIFE OF PI is probably an example of that.)
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Old November 3 2013, 01:17 AM   #108
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Re: Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

The film finally came out in Belgium this week. The film is one of the most intense, beautiful, and brilliantly directed films that I've ever seen. The film does such an incredible job of realistically portraying the hostile zero gravity environment that certain scientific inaccuracies (mostly with different altitudes and orbitals between each location and the level of difficulty of actually reaching them) can be forgiven as necessary dramatic liberties. I typically don't like Sandra Bullock but I was thoroughly impressed by her performance, and George Clooney was likewise very good. Furthermore, Gravity is the first 3D film to not only not give me a headache, but also properly utilized the technique without feeling like a gimmick. The score is absolutely gorgeous and I love how it strives to be more psychological and emotional than descriptive. Easily the best film I've seen this year and Alfonso Cuarón continues to amaze me as a director.
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Old November 6 2013, 08:19 PM   #109
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Re: Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

Extremely good film.

They could have done without any music though.
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Old November 6 2013, 09:35 PM   #110
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Re: Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

Maybe, but the score was incredible and added to the film nonetheless.
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Old November 7 2013, 12:28 AM   #111
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Re: Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

Well, so do sound effects. I guess the music is one of the battles they lost against the producers.
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Old November 7 2013, 03:25 AM   #112
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Re: Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
SPOILERS, duh

I did a search of the thread and noticed that no one has yet compared Bullock's scene getting out of the spacesuit, when she gets to the space station, with Barbarella's strip tease at the beginning of that film. Well, now someone has. The Bullock scene was nice, and a nice update of the Barbarella strip tease, but it was somewhat gratuitous. Given the urgency of her predicament, I really doubted she would have taken the time to disrobe like that. That is to say, I wouldn't have wasted any time like that. I guess we're supposed to believe that she was overwhelmed, and all.
No one seems to have complained that we got lengthy views of Bullock in her skivvies that, in some ways (given some missing gear that some astronauts have gone on about), are as gratuitous as the Alice Eve skivvies.
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Old November 7 2013, 03:30 AM   #113
Cookies and Cake
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Re: Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

Ovation wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
SPOILERS, duh

I did a search of the thread and noticed that no one has yet compared Bullock's scene getting out of the spacesuit, when she gets to the space station, with Barbarella's strip tease at the beginning of that film. Well, now someone has. The Bullock scene was nice, and a nice update of the Barbarella strip tease, but it was somewhat gratuitous. Given the urgency of her predicament, I really doubted she would have taken the time to disrobe like that. That is to say, I wouldn't have wasted any time like that. I guess we're supposed to believe that she was overwhelmed, and all.
No one seems to have complained that we got lengthy views of Bullock in her skivvies that, in some ways (given some missing gear that some astronauts have gone on about), are as gratuitous as the Alice Eve skivvies.
Point!
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Old November 7 2013, 04:10 AM   #114
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Re: Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

Forgot to add--A+. Loved it. Saw it in 3D IMAX (real 15/70 IMAX, not the IMAX-lite screen--which, to be fair, can be quite nice too, but not as good as the real deal). I don't normally like 3D, but it was very well done here. The story was not groundbreaking but the cinematic experience made it worth going to the cinema rather than waiting to watch it at home (I have a pretty decent home cinema, so I don't go out to movies as much as I used to).

Even with the "inaccuracies", the film shines as cinema and is none the lesser for them. My favourite visit to the cinema in years.
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Old November 7 2013, 01:41 PM   #115
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Re: Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

To be fair, the correct orbital mechanics would have been absolutely confusing. An impulse towards a target means spiraling backwards away from it.
And they just had to put everything into the same orbit, because otherwise - in reality - they would have just died, plain and simple.
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Old November 7 2013, 07:07 PM   #116
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Re: Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
And they just had to put everything into the same orbit, because otherwise - in reality - they would have just died, plain and simple.
No, in reality the exploding satellite would have been on a different orbit altogether, and they'd have all been just fine.



Ovation wrote: View Post
No one seems to have complained that we got lengthy views of Bullock in her skivvies that, in some ways (given some missing gear that some astronauts have gone on about), are as gratuitous as the Alice Eve skivvies.
Disagree. Eve's nacelles aside, the whole point of that moment in dramatic terms is a bit of male wish-fulfillment levity: "ha-ha, Kirk snuck a peak 'cause he just can't help himself, and Marcus, being an understanding and sympathetic character, is only briefly and oh-so-mildly annoyed."

One can of course still argue that Bullock is gratuitously under-dressed in Gravity, but one can also read it as a humanist celebration of the human form: the movie is about her psychological and evolutionary rebirth (the emergence from water, sputtering for air, and learning to walk re-enacting the evolutionary development of land animals as a whole), so minimizing the copious undergarments an actual astronaut would be wearing during a spacewalk, thus allowing us to focus on her human form, serves a thematic purpose as well as an aesthetically pleasing one - something that can't be said of the Eve's torpedoes moment. And there's certainly no male characters around to ogle her.
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Old November 7 2013, 08:30 PM   #117
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Re: Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

^^^Strictly speaking, the explosion that started the cascade would have imparted delta vee to the fragments, thereby changing the orbits. The whole idea of the cascade is SF construed in the narrowest sense, a speculative idea in science or technology used as a narrative device.

I still insist that the worst science is the ghost. And even if you try to interpret that as an hallucination caused by anoxia, I still insist that anoxia does not give you life-saving ideas! Everything being conveniently close is trivial by comparison.
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Old November 9 2013, 12:26 AM   #118
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Re: Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

There is that third man second man syndrome, where climbers swear there is someone else helping them...

trevanian wrote: View Post

(I think LIFE OF PI is probably an example of that.)

LIFE OF PI is the true heir to 2001 in terms of it being a movie you let wash over you. Samurai Jack with minimal dialog.

BTW Baldwin did a great interview this time last week:
http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/10/29/al...space-odyssey/

I don't think we would have a Space 1999/2001 level moonbase had the Saturns been kept--but we would have something like out of Joe 90 or MOON ZERO TWO by now.

While Gravity replaces 2001 in hardness--I think it was a missed opportunity. I might have made her old space, and George new space--and had a depot accident from an unregulated private space outfit be the cause of the disaster, hitting a Mars ship during a Costa Concordia flyby of ISS.

There is your cluster of debris right there. No Comsats--they are too far above to be a threat.

On screen--the volume of debris is what you might expect of Enterprise blowing up over the Genesis planet.
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Old November 9 2013, 03:17 AM   #119
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Re: Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

trevanian wrote: View Post
Most of the time even I can't tell what is practical and what is CG, and I can't think of any movie ever that could make such a claim.
CGI effects (good ones) are pretty much at the point where the only way to know that something is CGI is if you rationally know that what you're looking at can't actually be real.
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Old November 9 2013, 04:28 AM   #120
Cookies and Cake
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Re: Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

Gaith wrote: View Post
One can of course still argue that Bullock is gratuitously under-dressed in Gravity, but one can also read it as a humanist celebration of the human form: the movie is about her psychological and evolutionary rebirth (the emergence from water, sputtering for air, and learning to walk re-enacting the evolutionary development of land animals as a whole), so minimizing the copious undergarments an actual astronaut would be wearing during a spacewalk, thus allowing us to focus on her human form, serves a thematic purpose as well as an aesthetically pleasing one - something that can't be said of the Eve's torpedoes moment. And there's certainly no male characters around to ogle her.
Well, I'm not going to torpedo Eve's scene (torpedo, get it?), because I did think it served a legitimate purpose in terms of character development (re Carol announcing her interest in Kirk). Scenes in film can serve literary functions and service story in other legitimate ways, beyond merely serving as thematic conduits.

However, I do agree completely that the minimal undergarments in Gravity served a thematic purpose in addition to fulfilling an aesthetic purpose, as you described. Besides in the evolution motif at the climax, the rebirth theme is actually started earlier, in what I essentially dubbed the Barbarella striptease scene, because Bullock curled into a fetal position there.
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