After months of hearing how good Gravity is, but some how managing to be spoiler free, I managed to get to see it last week. Surely this space set drama is just this geek’s cup of Romulan Ale? Or perhaps the 3D managed to put me off?
Well the film begins with a space mission on the verge of completion. Earth doctor Sandra Bullock is trying to get some super-whizzy space (hospital/unexplained) scanner working in Hubble, while experienced Astronaut George Clooney does space acrobatics in his fancy new jetpack and silly third team member messes about and has a laugh in the background.The mission is almost done when they get a warning that they need to get back in the shuttle quick — there’s space debris on the way and they’re in danger — except Sandra can’t get her equipment to function and has to remove and reinsert to get it done, so doesn’t follow orders, and gets a big hunk of junk in orbital arm and goes flying off in to space.
Now most of that you will have gathered from the trailer and is about all you want to know before you go in, so fair warning; from this point on I may spoil you; run away while you can.
Basically this is where my problems with the film begin. A trained doctor and astronaut with limited oxygen supply doesn’t know to try and calm her hyperventilation. Not to mention this emotionally damaged doctor had very limited training, when she could have trained an experienced astronaut, she passed a psych and physical evaluation seems to be slightly unstable and unable to stand the weightlessness. Then we have the fact that a very limited fuel supply on the jetpack gets Clooney all the way out rescue her and all the way back. etc. Now these things may make sense if you read it as the story a delusional mind is telling itself, but taken at face value they just break your willing suspension of disbelief at times (mine at least).
Now in the scheme of things these are fairly minor problems. The film as a whole is very engaging and has to be one of the most tense films I’ve seen in a long time. The story is compelling and the overall it’s a hell of an experience from start to finish. When it comes to the 3D I’m not as convinced as others that it adds a lot to the experience but it certainly doesn’t detract or distract in the same way it does for a lot of films, and I may be wrong in regards of how much it adds because I haven’t seen it in 2D.
Overall I would say Gravity is flawed but definitely recommended viewing.
The Twilight thing and a lot of these franchise attempts coming out, everything rests on what this girl will do, but she’s completely passive, or not really knowing what the hell is going on. And that’s incredibly frustrating to me because a lot of what’s taking on the oeuvre of Buffy, is actually a reaction against it. Everything is there — except for the Buffy. A lot of things aimed at the younger kids is just Choosing Boyfriends: The Movie.
The first Kick-Ass film was one of those films that appeared on my radar with few expectations and was actually enjoyable because of that. A rude, crude comic book film which had more humour, and despite the over the top and ugly violence, actually had a somewhat well meaning message at the heart of it. Violence is ugly and there’s something messed up in society when we can watch it happen as readily as we do. Comic book violence would be a horrible thing to see in the real world and it happens so easily within these stories. Of course this was a bit of a “cake and eat it” message with the violence it shows and the humour it brings to it.
In the case of the second film they go further in to that territory, actions have consequences, violence breeds violence. And of course it goes further in to the cake and eat it territory, too, with lines like “This isn’t a comic book, it’s real life” in the middle of a big comic book fight to stop the bad guy trying to take down the city. It also has some ugly, misogynist and homophobic attitudes on display, while at the same time trying to be inclusive with it. Which kinda leaves it with an uneasy balance to make that it doesn’t quite manage.
The plot makes the film somewhere between a coming of age film, a gritty revenge film and an action comedy. Tough to balance the competing needs of these genres, and some of the clashes between them make it a difficult to say it’s a really good film, but if the gore, violence, bad language and couple of gross-out scenes aren’t a turn off for you then it can actually be a slightly disturbing but fun film and is a lot like the first so if you didn’t like the first film then there’s nothing changed to make this one worth seeing, if on the otherhand you liked the first film then this is a fairly solid follow up.
In Hollywood’s unending quest to find any known brand that might sell and make or remake a film based on it The Lone Ranger finally has its turn at bat. And who better to make it than the people who successfully took a Theme Park attraction, The Pirates of the Caribbean, and turned it in to a billion dollar film franchise?
The story begins in the 1930s with a masked man… uh I mean boy entering a fair ground attraction, (wait am I sensing a tie-in of some sort here?) where he gets to see displays of “The real wild west” including a buffalo and of course “The Noble Savage” in his natural habitat. Turns out this isn’t just a display – it’s a real life old Indian who mistakes this masked m…boy for Kemosabe, and from there we get Tonto’s story of The Lone Ranger as told to a young boy.
It is a story of the wild west, the rail road, cowboys, Indians, silver, Baddies and goodies. But the trouble here is the tone of the film is all over the place. Is it a silly film where Johnny Depp gets to make funny faces and do strange things? Or is a serious film with shoot outs and bad guys that kill people and eat their hearts? Or maybe a parody making fun of The Lone Ranger as a whole? The answer to all of this seems to be yes! There’s an extended scene playing out to the William Tell Overture which plays like a parody of every western you’ve ever seen but there’s also a grisly (though not graphic) scene where the baddie cuts the heart out of someone and eats it while a member of his gang throws up.
So where does this leave it? It seems to be trying to be a family friendly blockbuster, but the wild swings from silly stuff to wiping out a whole tribe of Indians and threats of rape then jokes about a cross dressing cowboy make it a difficult film to really get a handle on. Also it’s long and it feels it. I was growing bored by the hour mark and there was another hour and half to go by that point. In a cinema that was about half full the laughs were sufficiently limited that I only recall 2 big laughs and a couple of sniggers, so it seems to fail on all fronts, whatever it’s trying to be.
My advice if you’re looking for a family friendly film to see, and you haven’t seen it yet, go to Despicable Me 2, which I’ve seen 3 times and still makes me laugh, Or Monster’s University which I’ve seen twice and enjoyed both times. The Lone Ranger is this year’s John Carter, with it’s throw everything at the wall and see what sticks approach.
If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve to never ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side.
It’s hard to be a friend to someon who’s depressed, but it’s one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you’ll ever do.