Let’s talk about Alfonso Cuarón. A fairly well-known director in his native land of Mexico, Cuarón has enjoyed only limited success stateside. His first big movie was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, arguably the best movie in the entire Harry Potter franchise. Since then, he’s become a cult favorite, especially in 2006, when he made two fantastic movies, Children of Men and Pan’s Labyrinth. Unfortunately, his movies have not been box office smashes.
You know whose movies have been a box office smash? David Heyman. He’s the most profitable producer in the world. What has he done, you may be asking? Well, he’s the producer of all eight Harry Potter movies, as well as the upcoming spinoff. One issue: the rest of his movies are not very good. Seriously, even if we’re just talking about the stuff you’ve heard of, he doesn’t have the best track record outside Harry Potter. I Am Legend, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, Yes Man, and We’re the Millers. That’s about it. And his biggest upcoming movie is Paddington Bear, so it doesn’t look like he’ll be improving any time soon. So, it became clear. Heyman and Cuarón needed to make another movie together.
Enter Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and a cameo (seriously, it’s pretty much a cameo) from George Clooney. The movie is a critical and box office smash, having already made over $200 million worldwide and being #43 on IMDb’s highest-rated movies of ALL TIME, tied with films like Back to the Future, North by Northwest, Dr. Strangelove, Alien, and Memento. The movie also has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, and is a likely contender for Best Picture at next year’s Oscars. One problem.
It’s not that good. Let me rephrase that. It’s not THAT good. It’s very good. It’s just not the best movie of the year, and it’s DEFINITELY not as good as Back to the Future or Dr. Strangelove. Some people say it’s an experience, like 2001, but it’s clearly not. There’s a good story, decent characters, a beginning, middle, and end, it stays pretty focused, and it’s only an hour and a half long. I feel like I should note at this point at this point that 2001 is all the way down at 96 on IMDb’s list, behind such “classics” as Return of the Jedi, WALL-E, and worst of all, The Dark Knight Rises. Oh, and one more thing. Gravity is five spaces ahead of Citizen Kane. FIVE. In case you forgot, Citizen Kane spent a long time on top of the AFI’s list of the best movies of ALL TIME, and is still at #2.
But you may be wondering, what don’t I like about this movie? I’ve given it nothing but praise this entire time, besides the general statement that I don’t like it. Well, first of all, the effects are decent at best, and they make the movie feel like a video game cut scene. You’ll remember that this was a problem I had with Oblivion, the third-worst movie of the year. And another thing: are we supposed to like George Clooney? Like most of you, I stopped caring for George Clooney after I saw Batman & Robin. Now, I like him no more than, say, Matt Damon or Brad Pitt. But I seriously can’t tell what I’m supposed to feel about him in this movie. He seems to be the love interest, even after he dies 30 minutes through, but he’s very arrogant. Sort of a Buzz Lightyear-type.
The other problem: the story. Like a Dickens novel, the movie is built around extremely unlikely circumstances, some of which are actually impossible. What are the chances of them being hit by debris before they can get back into the ship, finding each other again, finding a space station within floating distance, her not running out of oxygen even though she blew half of it before they even started the spacewalk, her getting into the station in time, the parachute getting caught, the fire, the Chinese spaceship, and her landing in the water despite having almost no control over where she lands? Also, the camera seems to focus on a lot of irrelevant things, like a pen or a water droplet. There are a couple of smaller problems, like the Sinai peninsula being WAY too big, Sandra learning crucial information about how to land an escape pod via a hallucination, and her having said she could never land the pod simulator, but then reading an instruction manual for two minutes and knowing exactly what to do.
So overall, I give this movie a B+. I really did enjoy it, just not as much as some other people did. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY. Have a suggestion, submission, or comment? Leave it in the comments section below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll try to review Bad Grandpa this weekend. If that doesn’t work out, we’ll have to wait and see. Until then…