Gravity - Review and Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by ElimParra, Oct 2, 2013.

?

Grading

Poll closed Jan 10, 2014.
  1. A+

    42.7%
  2. A

    34.1%
  3. A-

    12.2%
  4. B+

    7.3%
  5. B

    2.4%
  6. B-

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. C+

    1.2%
  8. C

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. C-

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. D

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  11. F

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

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    Actually, Tiangong-1 is only the first in a series of planned Chinese space stations. Tiangong-1 will be de-orbited soon and then replaced by Tiangong-2 in (probably) 2015. It will be followed by Tiangong-3, before the Chinese plan to move ahead with building a larger, modular space station in the mold of Mir and the ISS.

    The Chinese space station in Gravity is also refered to as "Tiangong", but it is no indication given which of the stations in the Tiangong series is meant.

    According to Wikipedia, the Soyuz capsule used by Ryan Stone is designated TMA-14M. The real-world Soyuz TMA-14M is currently scheduled for a launch in late 2014 and a landing in early 2015. We could perhaps surmise that Gravity is supposed to be set in the near-future year of 2015 and Chiese space station depicted in the movie is either Tiangong-2 or Tiangong-3.
     
  2. firehawk12

    firehawk12 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    EXILE + ATTON = GUUUUUUSH!!!! (pic by aimo)
    This is why you just sit back and enjoy the majesty of excellent filmcraft. I think we can all agree that, in terms of its plot and narrative, it is pretty much nonsense!
     
  3. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    :lol:

    That wraps up my impression. The second part / space station seemed essentially like a repetition of the ISS part (to arrive at the 90 minute screen time?), except that a fire extinguisher WALL-E-style was used as thruster (problem: unless you use your wrist mirror you are unable to see where the thrust propels you to...).

    I really enjoyed the film for many of its visuals, sound design and this continuous shot in the beginning (really conveying to us the experience of being there) and will purchase the 3D Blu-ray but some of the scientific nonsense really spoiled part of the experience and this great interview with an actual NASA astronaut revealed some of it.

    Interestingly the space shuttle started to revolve around its own axis and - had the shuttle's arm still been attached - an astronaut at the end of the arm would have experienced centrifugal forces that would have pushed him or her away from the shuttle.

    That's the kind of centrifugal push the filmmaker would have needed to justify the ISS scene (whatever would have made the ISS rotate around its own axis is unimportant, but it would have provided the scientific explanation for this pivotal scene...).

    At that moment I gave up all hope to watch a film that had seemed thus far to hold on to "Science Fact", relaxed and enjoyed the breath taking (...) rollercoaster ride in Earth's orbit.

    IMHO it's just sad that the film could have used more "science" and still have the same kind or drama or even more:

    Former NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski said that a tiny fragment flying with bullet speed would probably ignite the oxygen supply of an EVA suit upon impact penetration. So we could have had an exploding astronaut plus the gruesome image of a space shuttle pilot's head with a hole through which to see Earth.

    Again, a very good film but compared to the depiction of spacecraft and zero gravity in MISSION TO MARS there's more fiction than fact in it.

    Bob
     
  4. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    Hence, why Bullock's character is shown adjusting where she aims the extinguisher whenever she rotates to catch a glimpse of the station.
    [/QUOTE]
     
  5. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    There's still a lot of hand waving you have to do for the fire extinguisher scene to work. She'd have to have it perfectly place at (or very near) her center of mass in order for it to work as propulsion (rather than spinning her around) and even then I don't know that it'd give her that much thrust.
     
  6. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  7. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    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.)
     
  8. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    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 CuarĂ³n continues to amaze me as a director.
     
  9. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Extremely good film.

    They could have done without any music though.
     
  10. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    Maybe, but the score was incredible and added to the film nonetheless.
     
  11. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, so do sound effects. I guess the music is one of the battles they lost against the producers.
     
  12. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    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. :shifty: :lol:
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Point! :lol:
     
  14. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    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.
     
  15. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  16. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, in reality the exploding satellite would have been on a different orbit altogether, and they'd have all been just fine. ;)



    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.
     
  17. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^^^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.
     
  18. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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


    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/alec-baldwin-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.
     
  19. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  20. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013