/ Gravity- most overrated film of the year?

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Trevers - on 10 Jan 2014
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/jan/08/baftas-2014-gravity-12-years-slave-american-hustle

I've seen Gravity and American Hustle. I've yet to see All Is Lost which I desperately want to see, and 12 Years a Slave which I'm seeing on Sunday and really looking forward to.

I'm just wondering if anyone feel the same way I do about Gravity, which is that is was good, but...
- Plot was weak. The whole basis for the film is very contrived (Russians blowing up their satellite) and it then the rest is fairly uninspired.
- Characters were weak. Clooney is basically Buzz Lightyear. Bullock's character went very quickly from being overwhelmed and useless so being indestructable. It's fairly unbelievable.
- It's not as realistic as everyone says. Clooney's death is the dumbest thing I've seen in a film. The convenient fact that all these spacecraft are orbiting in synchronisation is also cringily unrealistic. It's the fact that the film tricks you into thinking you don't need to suspend your disbelief, then gets stuff horribly wrong, which ruins the effect for me.

It did enjoy watching it but it was good, not great. Possibly it was too hyped up before I saw it, and possibly having studied physics didn't help, but I just want to know what everyone thought was so fantastic. Is everyone just dazzled by the amazing visuals?
Chris Harris - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

Hard to say as most of the year is yet to happen.

Come back on 31 Dec 2014 & ask again.

balmybaldwin - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

Not seen it yet, but have seen various trailers, and it struck me quite how fake the spacewalk scenes I saw appeared - it really looks like an early 2000s computer game to me in terms of the CGI
Blue Straggler - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

I treated Gravity (IMAX 3D) as an experience, a spectacle, almost like a "theme park ride", rather than as a conventional narrative. Thus, I was not looking for character development arcs or, particularly, any realism. In this way, I was able to enjoy it.

American Hustle, on the other hand, was a directionless muddle. Great performances from Adams, Bale and Renner, but there was no focus on story and only one, maybe 2, of the characters developed at all throughout the film
Gordon Stainforth - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

Totally agreed. Was very disappointed by it. An amazingly poor script - characters, story and dialogue. Two stars at most - for special effects (but even then it failed, really, to capture the wonder of space, or of the planet earth from space, and there were many scientific nonsenses.) With a really good script it could have been so much better. Mind you, it's nothing like as bad as Hobbit 2, which is a complete waste of filmgoer's time, and filmmaker's money,

Last really good special effects movie I saw was Life of Pi.
CurlyStevo - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

I thought it was the best film I've seen in a very long time!
CurlyStevo - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

seems to do really well here too
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/gravity_2013/
Kevin Woods - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

Surprised at folk saying the CGI was pish. I personally have never seen CGI look so much like the real pictures that get sent down to us.

Yeah, weak plot, but ***** in the stunning dept.
Trevers - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> I treated Gravity (IMAX 3D) as an experience, a spectacle, almost like a "theme park ride", rather than as a conventional narrative. Thus, I was not looking for character development arcs or, particularly, any realism. In this way, I was able to enjoy it.

I see what you mean, that's how I felt for parts of it. But I went into the cinema having been assured that it was something akin to Apollo 13, only fictional, but you could believe that it had happened.
Chris the Tall - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

Its the first time I've watched a film in 3D and I was very impressed. Generally I don't care about FX, GCI or any other gimmicks, but this struck me as good use to enhance the plot.

Was it really "cringily unrealistic" ? Apparently she should have been wearing socks, but beyond that.... OK spacecraft might not actually be orbiting in sync, but since most of us are aware that most satellites are in geostationary orbit, it's not that far fetched.

Are you sure the Russians (or Chinese, or the US) would never do anything so daft as to blow up a military satellite ?

Clooney's death did strike me as odd, as I thought they had arrested their momentum at that point, but reading a few articles there does appear to be a debate about this

To me it was Touching the Void in space
Kieran_John - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

I thought Gravity was utterly stunning, I've no idea how anyone can say it looked terrible. I caught it in 3D at the imax and then again in 3D but on dbox motion seats.

Both times it was a spectacle to behold.

I don't think as a film it went for the realistic aspect, it obeyed all it's own internal rules and what-not so, whilst watching it, you really don't question it.

To me it was an exhilerating and beautiful ride that didn't let up until the credits and it deserves pretty much every award it's been nominated for.
The New NickB - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

I thought it was a fabulous visual experience, first time I have seen a 3D film that I think worked as a 3D film. I also liked the stripped down plot, dialogue and limited character development, could even have coped with less. Is it the best film of the year, it is certainly very good and I liked it a lot, I've not seen all the competition yet.
The New NickB - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

No, nothing like Apollo 13, but that is a good thing.
danm - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

I thought it was as good as you can expect from the Hollywood system. In order to afford the realism of zero g, you need a lot of money for repeat shallow dives in a large plane. By default, that means the moneymen will demand star actors and plenty of CGI action and a happy ending.

It was by no means perfect, it got less believable towards the end especially the less than careful insertion into re-entry trajectory, but in recompense we got stunning visuals and a ballsy move of only having 2 actors in the entire film.
sebastien - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

So looking forward to it, "All is lost" was, for me, a nightmare to watch. By the end of it (if not the half of it), I could not care less about the outcome.
Enty - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

Sooo Clooney dies? Might not bother going now.....

E
Blue Straggler - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to danm:
> In order to afford the realism of zero g, you need a lot of money for repeat shallow dives in a large plane.

They did that for Apollo 13. They didn't do it for "Gravity", that was all CGI including most shots of Bullock's body. According to something I read on the Internet, anyway. They mostly filmed just the actors' faces. There wasn't particularly a demand for "big" names, there were lots of actresses consideered including lesser-known ones like Abbie Cornish and Rebecca Hall. They key thing was to get someone who could meet the demands of a difficult acting role (most on-set days for Bullock consisted of being filmed in a box!) But yes to some extent when your budget heads north of about $30 million, you need some NAMES in there.
I read that Danny Boyle's "The Beach" was budgeted as a $20 million production but to get that $20 million they had to agree to having DiCaprio as the lead. DiCaprio's fee wasn't far off being an additional $20 million!


Gravity was $100 million which although a lot of money, is not that big for 2 major stars and a load of effects (probably cut price effects as they were done at Framestore CFC rather than - say - ILM)
Post edited at 14:10
Jonny2vests - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> Was it really "cringily unrealistic" ? Apparently she should have been wearing socks, but beyond that.... OK spacecraft might not actually be orbiting in sync, but since most of us are aware that most satellites are in geostationary orbit, it's not that far fetched.

Perhaps you mean geosynchronous Chris :-). Actually, even then, I doubt these days that the Geos outnumber all the others, especially with all the nav satellites and Earth observation platforms etc we seem to be accumulating...

I too came at it from the grand spectacle perspective, in the same way that 2001 is a spectacle. I'm surprised to hear people say the CGI was so bad, which bits? It seemed entirely realistic in that sense. Overall though, I agree that the film was not stellar.
Post edited at 14:24
soularch on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

I didn't go in thinking it would be a great movie, but in imax format its certainly immersive. Forget about the plot/character weakness and just enjoy it as a 90min bit of fine entertainment.
Offwidth - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

Silly but fun and good looking. Yet nothing close to being considered for the best film in the worst ever year for films so for me a bit of a let down given some reviews.
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Neil Williams - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

I quite enjoyed it TBH.

Neil
Dauphin - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

Yeah. It blew. Saw it in 3D which I thought was pretty good compared to that one with the blue people. Sandra Bullock is a terrible actress. Plot, script, characters all poor. Didn't care what happened. Should of seen Mitty instead.

D
Blue Straggler - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to danm:

> I thought it was as good as you can expect from the Hollywood system.

It's been nominated for a BAFTA as both "Best Film" and "Outstanding British film". It was mostly shot at Shepperton, with some additional work in a Canadian studio, and one US location shoot. I think Warner Bros' involvement was as a distributor.

So....IS it a product of "the Hollywood system"?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1454468/companycredits?ref_=tt_dt_co
IceKing - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Dauphin:

> Yeah. It blew. Saw it in 3D which I thought was pretty good compared to that one with the blue people. Sandra Bullock is a terrible actress. Plot, script, characters all poor. Didn't care what happened. Should of seen Mitty instead.

> D

No, it's not 'should of' seen Mitty instead. It's should have, or should've.
bombshell - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Chris Harris:
it came out in 2013. But yes massively overrated.
Post edited at 21:37
Tom V - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to danm:


Couldn't have expressed it better myself.


Blue Straggler - on 11 Jan 2014
The people wittering on about how it's a 2013 film don't seem to understand the concept of awards ceremonies in the first quarter of the year.
I wonder if they used to get confused with the school year running September - July, or indeed the tax year running whatever it does (is it April - April?), or car registrations?
The New NickB - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> It's been nominated for a BAFTA as both "Best Film" and "Outstanding British film". It was mostly shot at Shepperton, with some additional work in a Canadian studio, and one US location shoot. I think Warner Bros' involvement was as a distributor.

> So....IS it a product of "the Hollywood system"?


I didn't know it was a largely British production.
The New NickB - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> The people wittering on about how it's a 2013 film don't seem to understand the concept of awards ceremonies in the first quarter of the year.

> I wonder if they used to get confused with the school year running September - July, or indeed the tax year running whatever it does (is it April - April?), or car registrations?

Just think of it as people outing their stupidity, it's less stressy that way.
Blue Straggler - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

Ha! Thanks.... :-) I am not stressy, just riding the see-saw of amusement and despair
Kimono - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to IceKing:

> No, it's not 'should of' seen Mitty instead. It's should have, or should've.

w@nker

Offwidth - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to Kimono:

Agreed. Its about time we adopted UKB's attitude to grammar nazis especially where the intended meaning is perfectly obvious. With increasing use of phones its much harder to track what's written. These pointless complaints should desist or be replaced with much more imaginative joke/pun responses unless it's important and clarrifcation is required.
Ciderslider - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:
I'm surprised at that Stevo - I thought it was a total bag.......
(although I didn't see it on the big screen )
Post edited at 19:59
Ciderslider - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to Enty:

All the more reason to see it (just to make sure) ;-)
Ciderslider - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to Kimono:

> w@nker

LOL
caravanshaker on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

I have some bad news... I abandoned ship on All Is Lost after 20 mins. I think the writer/director had never seen the ocean, let alone sailed.

I too had been looking forward to it for months, but my hopes were dashed by plot holes larger than the gash in the side of the boat.
Kimono - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to caravanshaker:



> I too had been looking forward to it for months, but my hopes were dashed by plot holes larger than the gash in the side of the boat.

Have you considered a new career as a film reviewer? :)

Blue Straggler - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to Kimono:

Nobody will ever beat the review I saw in the Sunday Times "Culture" section, for a TV screening of the Richard Gere film 'Shall We Dance?'

The review just said "Nope" :-)
Kimono - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

pithy at least ;)
caravanshaker on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to Kimono:

I guess it'd be cool to be a plot sanity checker. Get to the movie before it's too late!
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Jim C - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

I went to American Hustle, so I will now have to go and see Gravity now to find out as there are so mAny opinions.

American Hustle was , just oK, some seemed to find it hilarious , but then again, there always those that like to hear their own voices . It was mildly amusing, in places, but certainly not a cinematic experience that the film Gravity sounds like .

Not sure that Mrs C will like Gravity though, I might be on my own.
( no bad thing, she usually wants a meal as well)
Blue Straggler - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to Jim C:

Gravity is nearly an hour shorter than American Hustle so you would have time for a cheeseburger :-)
Offwidth - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Fast food to go with fast food production attitudes. Still critcs keep saing its a great year yet it may be one of the worst ones ever for me for big movies (yet to see a few of the so called 'best' but am not hopeful from folk whom I trust who have) and on the alternative movie side I haven't been watching close enough to judge... whats you view on this?
Blue Straggler - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to Offwidth:
"Big" movies from 2013...the only ones I even really bothered with were Oz The Great and Powerful, The Great Gatsby, and Gravity. I knew exactly what to expect from each of them including shortcomings and enjoyed them well enough.
OH and I went to see Iron Man 3 because I tend to see all the Marvel films, and I like Shane Black (mostly a writer of sharp comedy action movies but also directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang which is genius) and I am a big fan of Rebecca Hall....but it was a bit pish. Didn't go for the Thor sequel, the first of the Marvel films that I missed at the cinema.
OH! And "Lincoln" though I think that was kind of a 2012 film, and I only saw it on the plane which is how I forgot that it was a "big" film. Just men in hats and stick-on beards going around fretting "ooh we need some more votes". Typical Spielberg yawnfest.
Oh, and I saw the Hunger Games sequel, it was alright as these things go. And the Star Trek one.
So maybe a paltry year for big films.
Some decent independent stuff like The Place Beyond the Pines and The Way Way Back (and plenty that I didn't get to see such as Frances Ha).
I bet there have been worse years. iirc 1988 was a bit thin.
Post edited at 16:19
Blue Straggler - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to Offwidth:

> Fast food to go with fast food production attitudes.

Hang on. Just because a film's running time is a bit short, you're calling it "fast food"? Tommyrot! So many films are bloated and indulgent, that it's nice to see something that just gets on with some pared, lean storytelling.
Lurking Dave - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

> - Plot was weak. The whole basis for the film is very contrived (Russians blowing up their satellite) and it then the rest is fairly uninspired.

Good point, no country would blow up their own satellite. Oh, except China did 4 years ago - and got rebuked by everyone else for the potential chaos that could have ensued...

LD
Jim C - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

We both enjoyed it, but not raved about it.
It was so wet that she just wanted home once we were in the car, so I did not have to take her for a meal after all, result.
Trevers - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to Lurking Dave:

> Good point, no country would blow up their own satellite. Oh, except China did 4 years ago - and got rebuked by everyone else for the potential chaos that could have ensued...

I didn't really elaborate. It was more the fact that Russia blows up their own satellite which then very conveniently happens to take out a manned space shuttle mission servicing the Hubble telescope AND the International Space Station.

I didn't go into the cinema intending to pick it apart, honestly. It's the fact that on the one hand, so much attention is paid to these tiny little details, then on the other hand there are these massive and ridiculous contrivances to move the plot along which completely ruined the spell.
imkevinmc - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

It's Hollywood. Just let it wash over you. It's not a documentary.
Trevers - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to imkevinmc:

There's a big difference between a film that is clearly sci-fi which indiscriminately breaks laws of physics, and a film that's otherwise gone to so much painstaking effort to immerse you with every tiny detail.

Of course that's the sort of detail that I probably picked up on because I've studied astrophysics. George Clooney's cliffhanger on the other hand was so blindingly obvious that I'm amazed noone else picked up on it.
Blue Straggler - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:
> George Clooney's cliffhanger on the other hand was so blindingly obvious that I'm amazed noone else picked up on it.

It was "discussed" at length in a much earlier thread about this film which was after all released in the first half of November.
Blue Straggler - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to imkevinmc:

> It's Hollywood.

Is it though? See my post of 21:18 Friday
Blue Straggler - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

> There's a big difference between a film that is clearly sci-fi which indiscriminately breaks laws of physics, and a film that's otherwise gone to so much painstaking effort to immerse you with every tiny detail.

I disagree. There are plenty of films that are "convincing" yet "inaccurate", not just sci-fi ones either.

And Gravity breaks a good few storytelling laws, let alone physics laws. It's no big deal.
Trevers - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> I disagree. There are plenty of films that are "convincing" yet "inaccurate", not just sci-fi ones either.

> And Gravity breaks a good few storytelling laws, let alone physics laws. It's no big deal.

Well at that moment when the filmmakers intended me to be thinking 'Oh no, George Clooney's dead', I was thinking 'What the hell did I just watch? How did they possibly allow that to be written into the film?' It was kind of a pivotal moment in the film.
Blue Straggler - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

I think in essence most of us are in agreement. I am just more forgiving than you! :-)
Trevers - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:
I have a physics degree, I'm contractually not allowed to let it slide
Post edited at 13:56
Blue Straggler - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

> I have a physics degree, I'm contractually not allowed to let it slide

Poppycock! I have two physics degrees and I can let it go! :-P
Offwidth - on 16 Jan 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Fast food joints will offer you endless food and will happily supersize. They rarely improve quality without a struggle. Hollywood seems similar to me. Long bad fims are much more painful than short ones. Yet self indulgence is one of the few ways classics can get past the machine.

Great films transport you: they make you laugh and cry and angry and excited and amazed. I already said I enjoyed Gravity and I agree it benefited from sharp editing but it really needed some better scriptwriters. Even in a bad year for films I can't imagine it being worth thinking of as a film of a year in anything but effects or crisp editing.
Gordon Stainforth - on 16 Jan 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Well, let's hope it wins the Best Visual Effects Oscar - it'll be scandalous if it doesn't. Just as it'll be scandalous if Sandra Bullock gets Best Actress over Judi Dench.
John2 - on 16 Jan 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Or indeed Cate Blanchett.
Blue Straggler - on 16 Jan 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Just as it'll be scandalous if Sandra Bullock gets Best Actress over Judi Dench.

It's Blanchett vs. Adams, though IF those two divide the vote then it's anyone's, I suppose.
Offwidth - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Just seen Mandela which was much more like it. Some faith restored.
Ciderslider - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Trevers:

Gravity SUCKS !!!!
The New NickB - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Offwidth:

I thought Idris Elba was great, but the film generally wasn't, primarily because the medium couldn't cope with with the size of the story.

Based on reviews, I am really looking forward to 12 Years A Slave.
Blue Straggler - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

> I thought Idris Elba was great, but the film generally wasn't, primarily because the medium couldn't cope with with the size of the story.

The trailer made the film look like an embarrassment!
Offwidth - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

Sure it's not up with the great films of its type (like Ghandi) but it told the story nicely enough and it benefitted from being seen at the cinema. I actually think it needed to be longer. Maybe too much on his relationships and not enough on the early politics and his fellow ANC leaders were pretty thinly sketched. Elba was very good.

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