The depressing Gravity backlash

Feature Simon Brew 17 Jan 2014 - 06:32

Gravity was a massive hit, both at the box office and with critics. And thus, the backlash has begun...

The past month has seen the usual avalanche of end-of-year top ten lists, as the movie industry moves firmly into awards season. We've now had Oscar nominations too, and Gravity has been ensconced in both critics' lists, and award nominations line-ups as well.

As is par for the course with a big successful film though, the backlash has also begun. Yet there seems something particularly disappointing about the amount of ire being aimed in the direction of Alfonso Cuaron's film. That it's become a kicking horse of sorts. To be fair, some weren't impressed with Gravity from the off. It's hard to quarrel with that: if someone doesn't like something, they don't like it.

But not for the first time, it feels as though there's a small section of people who are running Gravity down in part due to the success that it's enjoyed. Worse, that they've changed their mind about the film precisely due to its success.

We've seen this before with art: that when it's a minor success and only known by a few, that it's somehow more precious and better than if it's been devoured by a large audience. There's an argument that part of the original appeal to some of Blade Runner was that it wasn't successful. That it was a movie seen by a few, who subsequently raved about it to a point that more and more people sought it out.

With Gravity though, that didn't happen. Quite the contrary. From the beginning, Gravity shot to the top of the box office, and it stayed there for a long time. As things stand, as it finds itself back in cinemas for a fresh IMAX run, Gravity's box office total stands at $670m. In the US, it took more than Star Trek Into Darkness, World War Z, Fast & Furious 6 and The Wolverine. Worldwide, it outgrossed Man Of Steel. Its takings were matching, and beating, those of big blockbuster movies. It became that rarest of beasts: a film that critics loved, and people rushed off to see.

But then the magical graph of success versus acclaim comes in. Because it seems in some quarters as though success and recognition poison a reaction to a film. That it's the done thing to go in the other direction, and position yourself against the crowd.

I think Gravity is a far better film than Titanic, but it was interesting to see that sudden re-rushing of love for James Cameron's sodden Oscar-grabber on its 3D re-release the other year. That it seemed as if a by-law somewhere had been lifted, meaning it was okay to like Titanic again. When Titanic was originally released, it was bathing in five star reviews. Post-Oscar success, it was sneered at. Avatar went through a comparable process.

Gravity does have something in common with Titanic, in that it feels like a movie that's very much the product of an utterly uncompromising director. That it's the vision of Alfonso Cuaron, and not a studio executive. It feels as if a focus group has been let nowhere near it.

But it's more than that. Gravity, I'd argue, is a film quite unlike any other we've had on the big screen. How many times did you sit in a cinema in 2013 and felt you were watching a spectacle unlike any other? I lost count how many times I sat watching Gravity wondering how the hell they did it. I don't think I've done that so much since Back To The Future Part II.

But also, I found myself utterly gripped by it. That in 90 minutes, it did more for me that 99% of movies released in 2013. Did it resonate for months afters? Perhaps not, certainly not in the way that the thematically similar All Is Lost did (Robert Redford's Oscar snub tells you everything you need to know really about the Oscars). Yet it's still a powerful, interesting, different piece of cinema. And, beyond that, a staggeringly brilliant spectacle, the likes of which only big screen cinema can deliver. Can you imagine it working in any other format at all and having the same impact?

I'm not in the blind. There's certainly criticism to be aimed at the film, most of which has been targeted at the narrative behind Sandra Bullock's character. And again, for those who never clicked with the film, that's fair enough. Yet it still feels that there's a bunch of people whose mind is being swayed by so many other people rating the movie. That snobbery, rather than genuine opinion, is taking precedence.

We've seen this time and time again of course. It's that by-law: you're not allowed to be artistic and also be widely successful. It's depressing, but predictable. With Gravity, particularly so. I'm always reminded of a critic, whose name I've forgotten, who declared on the radion once that he had gone off Robert Altman's The Player and Short Cuts a little, because he didn't like the late director's subsequent film, Pret A Porter. What kind of rubbish is that? Why not simply give an honest opinion of a film, rather than find some bandwagon to jump aboard?

Gravity is, whether you like it or not, a staggering achievement. It's a piece of bold, beautiful big screen art. And it is art. It has problems, and I suspect the small screen release may well magnify them. But how gratifying is it that a film of such verve and ambition succeeded so much?

For my money, it deserves its place on those top ten lists, and it deserves its award nominations. But more than that: it deserves to at the very least be respected, and hopefully enjoyed, for a long, long time to come.

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The problem with Bladerunner is the constant tinkering with the film by the director

The problem with Gravity is that while it looks great, and I mean GREAT, the story feels a little half-baked. Not bad, just could be a lot better to bring it up to the size of the greatness of the visuals.

People that change their mind on music films etc because it becomes popular are snobs. They're a bigger problem in music where they've helped stop bands from releasing commercial hits for fear of backlash, Thus we get charts dominated by garbage. These snobs shouldn't be allowed to offer their opinion on anything

Honestly turned it off halfway through, and i don't get it. People do NOTHING but complain about people like Bay for making films about explosions and girls, and then Gravity turns up and its LITERALLY ABOUT pretty visuals, and its praised.

I turned it off when some kind of invented antigravity rips Cloony away from those wires, utterly ridiculous.

How did you turn it off when it's not on DVD or Blu-ray yet?

To avoid the accusation that the writer is setting up a straw man to knock down it ,would be helpful to identify exactly where this "ire" and "backlash" exists, perhaps a link to an article in a respected website, magazine, tv show. The reader can then draw their own conclusions. As it is, we only have the writers word of that there is a backlash. Just sayin'

As well as the ambience, Bladerunner has all sorts of nuances and moral complications in the script. (Is Deckard a replicant, etc). It has lots of discussion points.

Gravity and Avatar are awesome to look at, but once seen, theres no real reason to go back.

I enjoyed Gravity, but I think that those who would try to compare it with 2001: A Space Odyssey are ill-informed. The film fails to be as gripping and compelling for me, because of a few failures in the understanding of scientific concepts - including, remarkably, 'Gravity'.

Two things really detract from the film:

1. The Clooney characters behaviour - unprofessional and offering incorrect advice in telling Bullocks character to disconnect from the spinning arm.

2. The Clooney characters needless sacrifice to a Hollywood trope. There
is no – I hate to say it – gravity to pull Clooney away. In fact, just a
minor tug by Bullock on the tether would cause him to come drifting
back towards her. It's an oversight that is unforgivable

What Gravity does show is that critics and movie-goers alike are ready once more for an intelligent, thoughtful science-fiction movie that is less about explosions and more about the wonders of space. For the first ten minutes or so, Gravity fulfilled this need. Then it became predictable - with Bullock in the womb like cock-pit of the Russian ship, we knew that she would be literally re-born - in true cliched fashion.

And yet, I'd still give the film a score of: 7/10.

Turn off your *mind* (relax and float downstream)

he means he obviously pirated it

God, check out any of the articles about Gravity on the Guardian site, the comments sections are a tidal wave of snobbery.

I thoroughly enjoyed it as a cinema experience. A lot of the criticism seem to be about the story and script but I thought the script was perfectly serviceable and it's not like there was much of it. Complaining about a lack of story is kind of missing the point. Then there's a lot of people moaning about how unreal it is, but many of them seem to be either making assumptions ("That .... bit was rubbish I'm sure it would never work like that") or just unimportant (I don't care that she's wearing designer underwear, if she had the more authentic nappies on everyone would have laughed).

Don't think it deserves a best picture award, but it was a great experience on Imax and deserved the great reviews.

I thought the film was awful. Good to look at, yes, but I could have done without hearing Sandra Bullock making orgasm noises in space for two hours. Was utterly bored by the end. All style and no substance. Not one for a repeated viewing.

I was very late in the game. I didn't see it until last Sunday. I normally avoid the multiplex's like the plague because of others behaviour. However, so many people told me to see it on the big screen I decided to make an exception. I am so glad I did. I thought it was utterly sensational. To hell with the critics. They can think what they want but they're wrong!
And as a pleasing footnote, I have to say the rest of the audience were exceptionally well behaved and as rapt as I was.
Well played Cuaron. Well played...

Disagree. I will actively seek it out on IMAX and take as many people as possible.

The thing about this film is, it is not just a 'film'.

It's an experience.

And you have missed out on what most of us went through as you have decided to illegally download a copy (and not even watch it all the way through).

This film IS what it means to go to the cinema and have a proper cinematic experience.

Sat in complete darkness with hundreds of strangers in silence while you watch in admiration at what is going on on the big screen. Being in that situation sat in silence really did help heighten all of the silent explosions and action that went on. And on the big screen and in 3-D (which i usually hate) it just drew me into it. I felt like I was going through it all with them.

And it is clearly not just about visuals. They play a big part because it is set in Space. But the film it's self is about humanity and survival. It's about not giving up in the face of death.

I am yet (as most of us law abiding people are) to see it on the small screen and when I do, it may alter my opinion of it as it will be a completely different viewing experience.

But from what I saw in the cinema, i was genuinely in awe and I cannot praise this film enough. I may even buy a new 3-D TV just for the 3-D Blu-Ray when it comes out.

Alright, maybe the awesome visuals allow for several viewings. (And also, the milfy black shorts of Sandra Bullock. I'm alarmed to discover shes 49 now. Maybe her pert little bum is as CGIed as the rest of the film).

Some movies are just so awesome the story becomes less important. The CGI, 3D and tension during the action scenes were maginifcent. Also, I buy a lot of movies soundtracks and this was my favorite for 2013.

Blade Runner is a fantastic film but the script really doesn't have that many moral complications or nuances. The story is certainly elevated by a few moments of wonderful improvisation but let's not pretend that Blade Runner weaves as many themes and questions as the novel it is loosely based upon.

Like Gravity, Blade Runner should be acclaimed for the world building, atmosphere, setting and providing a visual spectacle. It shouldn't be praised for tackling what defines humanity, emotion and creating discussion, just like Gravity shouldn't be expected to excel in these categories. Leave that to Do Androids... since the film certainly isn't ambiguous or challenging and the only complications come from the numerous flip flops by Ridley Scott.

Also, minus points to Blade Runner for not tackling Mercerism. It still amazes me that the best and most truthful adaptation of a P. K. Dick work is A Scanner Darkly.

Who are these 'snobs', exactly? Most of the criticism I've read has been pretty well-informed and interesting. Are the snobs the people commenting on these articles? Because really, if overly aggressive and badly directed bile in comments sections is surprising anyone - especially in regards to something popular and financially successful - I think they're taking the internet too seriously.

Also, the film has been a MASSIVE success. It doesn't need defending, it already won. Personally, I found it entertaining enough, if flawed, but am excited to see what influence its effects work will have on future sci-fi.

I had mixed feelings about 'Gravity'. On a technical level, I believe it's a fantastic achievement, and I have no issue whatsoever with its various technical nominations at the Oscars. I think it's right, though, that there wasn't a Best Original Screenplay nomination, as I felt that was unremarkable at best, and as unconvincing as some of the most poorly thought-out Hollywood blockbuster screenplays at worst.

What I'd really take issue with is Sandra Bullock's Best Actress nomination - whilst to her credit, she carries the film well for the bulk of its running time, I saw nothing there that would have convinced me her performance was Oscar-worthy. I found it particularly galling that she'd been nominated when a number of excellent performances in other films were not. Emma Thompson in 'Saving Mr Banks' is the most obvious omission of them all, in my view (a film which I personally feel deserved considerably more recognition than it received, but particularly for its performances).

Now, I am no NASA astronaut. But I would have thought that Clooney would have more chance of rescuing Bullock from drifting into space with her not attached to a massive spinning piece of metal.

If she had not detached herself, how would he have got to her without being knocked out by the massive spinning metallic object?

This movie was made for the big screen and in IMAX 3D it was the most gripping cinema Experience I have ever had.
Space itself was the story and more than enough for me.
The sheer technical and artistic prowess to achieve this is mind staggering and anyone who can not appreciate this and seriously complains about some technical or scientific mistakes misses out on all the incredible technical and scientific things it did accomplish and/or even invent!
it deserves awards for the 15 minute one take opening alone.

So how was Space last time you were there?

Clooney tells her to detach from the arm, else it will carry her too far away.
That is exactly the wrong thing to do! The rotating astronaut + arm has
a certain amount of angular momentum. The more spread out things rotate more slowly, and more compact
things rotate faster. That’s why when ice skaters bring in their arms
they speed up. By detaching, Ryan switches from a long lever arm
rotating around the common center of mass of her + Canadarm into a more
compact configuration. And a lot of that rotational momentum would be
converted into linear momentum. Plus, her mass gets lowered by losing
the arm. The result is that she’d be shot out at a much higher speed.

Yes, but... it made for a tense 10 mins of film making!

Agreed! Always been very fond of Sandy and seeing her in those tighty whities (blackies?) on an IMAX wouldn't hurt the experience ;)

Though I kind of get your argument don't you think that was the point? The fact that it was an exceptionally simple story executed incredibly well?

hmmm-
.as some one else said - its already won - its made a packet-
. . films have a huge hype machine when they first come out -people react to this- critics are paid etc etc
. - lots of us loved the visuals and the spectacle can still spot weak dialogue and characterization etc
. until i saw desolation of hobbit- titanic was the worst film i ever saw at the cinema so i guess we all have different opinions and they evolve over time-nothing wrong with changing your mind based on new information etc etc

not seen it yet. need to rectify this.

I used the exact same expression to describe this 'an experience, not a movie'. I don't like the 'switch of your mind and enjoy' defense of movies, but this was visceral, it was so immersive I was totally physically engaged for most of the running time. I don't go the the cinema too much these days, but I'm glad I did for this!

Make sure you see it in a cinema - it's worth it.

I saw it early on, in part to some great trailers and the amout of buzz it was generating. I wasn't disappointed and I was surprised to find no-one pissing about on their phones, talking or messing about...a rare thing in the cinema these days...I am amazed that people feel the need to pick faults with certain factual elements of the film (i.e. being able to hop from one space station to another), I loved the casting, loved the suspense, the feeling of hopelessness and then the eventual feeling of relief...brilliant film

"I'm not gonna watch it because I'm unique, just like everybody else"

Also I've noticed that when a film gets a massive critical AND audience response then the backlash seems somehow angrier.

The Gravity backlash reminds me a lot of Inception. People raved about it and then other people came out of the woodwork and seemed to be furious that it's liked. Not sure what that is: over-compensating? Maybe they blame everyone for making them go see it? Maybe it's simply snobbery? Maybe they think it makes them look clever.

I agree with chamelios 100%

Ok yes I downloaded a good copy to see what all the fuss was about. And YES it was an epic spectacle of effects, and looked good and probably looked great on a big screen and AMAZING in 3d.

And that's the problem with it for me.

Its a very simple, flat and dull film if you take away the special effects, big screen and 3D.

All its about is Sandra Bullock floating around, panicking moaning, thinking and trying to survive, while G Clooney tries to help and keep her focused.

That's all there is to it. The entire script, plot and film described in two lines.

Apart from the scene of her in tight shorts and her family stuff as she is now a bit older. Ye Gods.

It has two really big set pieces with stuff flying all over the screen and no doubt in 3D coming right out into your face and giving you vertigo and headaches no doubt.

I cant see what all the fuss is about myself. Don't get me wrong its not terrible at all. I am not saying its a bad film, its just over hyped. I am just pleased in some ways Sandra Bullock has actually done something different for a change instead of yet another crappy Rom Com.

What ever happened to her? She started out doing stuff like Speed and Demolition man and ended up in snore fests like the Lake House. Maybe now she will go on and do some other diverse films that don't involve romance or comedy. Anyhoo when its on Tv at Christmas in a few years time people will wonder what all the fuss was about.

Do you know what it reminds me of? When I was a kid we went to Alton Towers and went in the Cinema 3000 ride / experience. This was a HUGE sceen...just enormous enough to make IMAX look like a postage stamp. On this they played first person footage of roller coasters, jet fighters, fast cars etc for the spectacle of effects and big screens.

That's exactly what Gravity is like. Its like a fun park ride. Its fun to watch and see at the time. And I suppose that is exactly the point of it all. But it did not do much for me otherwise. And I doubt I would bother to watch it again.

I don't find it depressing, I find it reassuring, as I didn't enjoy the film at all. As a visual experience it might work, but it will not stand up to repeated viewings at home, all the grandeur is lost on the small screen, because the things that are important on the small screen, the acting performances and the story... Well, Gravity doesn't have those.

People moaning about the scientific inaccuracies are morons. It's a film. You might as well complain that no character ever goes to the toilet in a film, or that guns seem to have infinite ammo in action films.

Yeah, the logistics of the debris coming back to the exact same point, and the fact there was another spacestation within walking distance was a bit of a stretch, but like I said, it's a movie.

I think Gravity was a victim of its own hype, hence the backlash. It was a pretty good movie, nothing more, nothing less.

Isn't it always the way? There's a prevailing mentality that seems to think that if you can poke a hole in something then you sound smart, whereas if you praise something because you enjoyed it you're a cretin. It saddens me.
To some extent I feel it must be somehow embedded in human behaviour, but it helps if we can highlight it from time to time so that people get a chance to question the motivation behind their own opinions.

I have posted here before about this film and how story means more to me than just the "art" of a film. I do not believe this film is worthy of all its bashing of late, nor is it a bad film like, say, Elusium. The reason I do not believe it should be nominated as picture of the year is because picture of the year should mean that every single of the film meshes into a solid, cohesive whole. Gravity does not do that. It should be up for every single special effects/art direction/photography award there is, but since the story itself has gaping flaws where the common-sense of story-telling added to the bad science just make a person like myself cringe (I teach Language Arts in a Science Academy). Good luck to Gravity in all categories but Best Picture.

i didnt like it, here is what i said about it after i saw it...

"for as much talk about how this movie "did the science right", i was so
put off by its disrespect of basic scientific principles that i lost
respect for the movie. When "Armageddon" got more of its science right
than we live in a pretty sad world."

As a fan of PKD and one who has read most of his novels, I completely agree with you.

I agree that the opening 15 minutes is stunning and hands down my favorite part of the film, but 15 minutes does not make Best Picture award. There are other directors just as worthy if not more so of the Best Picture trophy.

What else does it have to be about? Saving the world? If you only saw Gravity as a fun park ride then you missed out.

... you do realize he never had the final word until the Ultimate Cut, right? Even the "Director's Cut" is not his

Agree. The science is bad and the lack of knowledge about the force of gravity is irritating. It ruins the film for me. What is more basic to our lives on earth and in the universe than the force of gravity. For heaven's sake we humans know more about it than practically any other phenomenon.

But bad science does not make it Picture of the Year!

I have mixed feelings with Gravity, on the one hand I didn't feel the actual meat and bones of the story was up to much, but that said, as a cinematic experience I thought it was absolutely peerless, some of the imagery was astonishing, the sequence where (SPOILER) the ISS was destroyed (END SPOILER) was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen on the big screen, I could feel my eyes drying out because I didn't want to blink. But then, as is pointed out below, just because the story isn't the most complex that's no reason to run it down, it was something simple done so well and I don't think it'll be surpassed as a technical achievement for many years to come. I feel it would make an amazing double bill with Méliès A Trip to the Moon.

Can you substantiate that Armageddon got more of the science right? I'm pretty sure NASA recruits won't be being given Gravity and asked to point out what's impossible like they are with Armageddon.

It's a very simple (almost non-existent) storyline that serves only one purpose: to have you glued at the screen. It's servicable and plausible, and a vehicle for some great visuals. In fact, I think more (sub) plots would have bogged things down, resulting in a lesser film.

Critics are the worst people to take ANY advice on the subjects they critique.
None of them have ever practised the art form they write about and their 'opinions' are based on little more than sycophantic nods to each other like some point scoring pseudo-political incestuous merry-go-round.
Then you have the American cinema going public who worship at the alter of marketing and flock like sheep to what ever film they are told to artificially boosting takings and ergo the 'opinions' of armchair critics.
Blade Runner is my favourite film. I hated Gravity. I loved Avatar. I hated Titanic.
All my opinion which counts for nothing to anyone but me.
Stop caring about other peoples opinions!

Not saying it deserves best picture awards, but best director awards (Golden Globe) would be deserving imo.

Degrasse Tyson also pointed out some mistakes but also mentioned they did not keep him from being highly entertained. And he mentioned that the movie did numerous things very right., Which is more than extremely difficult while making a movie like this one.
And if you keep in mind that making movies is not the same as replicating real life you might be able to enjoy this one more.
And on a more personal note I , admittedly a non-scientist, would argue that gravity is the least understood force off all.

VERY glad I've not paid anything to anyone for this waste of time of a "film". Like i said, i was plodding through the dull/non existent story untill it got to the bit where they invented antigravity as an easy/pointless way to kill off a character.

good science neither , but the experience might

Not been there, nor brave enough to ever go.

Well, that's your opinion and you are welcome to it. It's why we're all here :-)

I'll be honest though, I am quite suprised that someone who comes to a website called Den of Geek has such a strong issue with this film. And also the fact you are happy that you illegally downloaded a copy of this annoys me a bit.

But the fact that a science fiction film has finally caused such a buzz amongst the academy awards can only be something great.

Out of curiosity, did you turn off Starwars as soon as the Imperial Star Destroyer appeared after the opening credits?

Of course you didn't. My point being, is that Gravity is a SCI-FI film. It's a work of fiction. Just enjoy it and don't worry about such trivial things.

Whens the last time we heard that Russia launched a missile to destroy one of its own satellites,
accidentally creating a chain reaction that demolishes most of the
communications satellites orbiting the planet and any space shuttles in it's way?

It's not science fact, it's science fiction.

If you think Armageddon was a more accurate portrayal of the laws of physics, you were not paying attention [exhibit A: spinning the Russian space station for gravity scene]. Not that I don't have a lot of quibbles about Gravity... but they are not in the same ballpark.

I'll hold my hand up here, I haven't seen Gravity and have no desire to. Which is odd as it *should* be right up my street. Gorgeous sci-fi film from a truly talented director that's had rave reviews and every one of my friends that's seen it recommends. And yet... somehow I just have no interest in it at all. After thinking about it for a bit I think there's two reasons for that:

1) The trailer. It's incredibly rare for me to get put off a film by its trailer but boy did this one manage it. Just felt like one long scene of Sandra Bullock panicking and being in peril. No other hints at a bigger story than a disaster movie in space which... eh.

2) Every single person that's liked it has talked about "the experience" and almost none of them have touched on the stuff I actually want to see in a *film*. Maybe it's got a great story, maybe there's superb character development or it hooks you into being emotionally invested but none of that has come across in the general background talk.

I'll catch it when it hits Sky and I really, really hope I've misjudged it. But, sorry, here we have a movie that somehow managed to alienate someone in its target audience simply through incredibly poor marketing (IMO of course).

There's a really odd principle at work here, where we tend to assume that someone who dislikes something is smarter than someone who likes it. I've seen this phenomenon all my life, in music, and movies and books and more. If you like something that's broadly popular, you must not be smart enough to see all the flaw, and rise above the sheep.

It's ridiculous, of course. There's absolutely no reason something entertaining can't be art. In fact, (IMHO) the best kind of artistic creations that can be appreciated at both a surface level and a deeper level (often, several deeper levels). You can enjoy it without thinking about it overmuch, but if you do pay attention, you will be rewarded. And yes, I definitely feel that Gravity falls into that category.

I only just saw it (I think last Thursday). I thought it was excellent, as a film and a character study. I did joke afterwards that you could have done an amusing (if totally movie-ruining) Planet of the Apes riff at the end.

Is it a coincidence that the two people that 'hate' this film both illegally downloaded it?

How can you enjoy and appreciate ANY film when you illegally download it and watch it on your own, on your lap top, most likely in your bedroom!

Why does a film set in space have to be anything more than a human being fighting for survival?

This film is about everything that it is to be human. That natural instinct to fight for your life.

it worked for Tom Hanks in Cast Away, no one had an issue with that.

The fact that we can all be so engrossed in a film that has primarily one character through out is a testament to film making.

I actually kind of liked the original. Not preferred but liked.

Fantastic film. I can't honestly seehow someone couldn't like it. Of courese unless your a fan of Avater style Sci-Fi's (terrible film also hyped to death, but without any character).

You do realize that without holding on to something in space you will go in that direction until you get pulled into orbit around a planet or hit a sun or another such hazard. Clooney already had momentum and the cable of the parachute wasn't strong enough for Bullock to hold onto him with out herself detaching.

I liked both...

I watched Gravity last week and absolutely loved it. A brilliant film that deserves all the recognition it can get. Plus it was not a reboot, rehash, sequel or any other rubbish but an original piece of cinematic work that for me, worked, was engaging and most important of all, entertaining. 2 big thumbs up. Oh, and Sandra and George I thought were brilliant.

I'm with you there. Like Mark Kermode said, I think it's a b-movie story that's technically outstanding. I don't mean b-movie in a bad way either. I thought the script was fine and the performances all very good but not in my favourite of the year. I didn't really find myself caring for the characters much and it was easy to work out how it was going to end. Technically though it was incredible. It looked beautiful and a visually experience like none other I've had at the cinema with 3D (before this I think Dredd was the only other film I'd seen use 3D well). i don't think it will hold up as well as Cuaron's previous film Children of Men, but as a cinematic experience it was pretty great.

Personally, I loved Gravity, and hope it picks up every technical award going.

However, it is not a perfect film.

There are quite a few scientific inaccuracies that seem to really irk some people. They don't understand why a filmmaker like Alfonso Cuarón would go through all the effort required to create such amazing shots and VFX, only to overlook details like Bullock's floating hair, etc.

Also, the whole Clooney dream sequence took a lot of folks out of the narrative, which they had been grossly absorbed in up until that point.

And when you state that "it's the done thing to go in the other direction, and position yourself against the crowd." You appear to be implying that people who criticise the film are doing so simply to be different? Come on now, Simon.

"How many times did you sit in a cinema in 2013 and felt you were watching a spectacle unlike any other?"

1)The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - First big budget, feature length, HFR 3D experience.
2)Cloud Atlas - Genre and gender busting; A-list cast playing multiple roles; unique storytelling techniques. Never seen anything like it.

Science in a science fiction story is important. I work as the Language Arts teacher is in a well known and respected Science Academy and know my way around the periodic table as well as the weak and strong forces that govern our universe. Gravity is a very well known, observable force that not just creates black holes in its awesome power, but also is responsible for all life on earth (de Grasse agrees on this point).
I am not trying to wreck your experience of the film Gravity. You obviously enjoyed it. Fine and good. However, those of us that live by the laws of science find the advertising for this film flawed and many of us would have rather paid to rent the film than actually spent the money in the IMax. For some of us it wasn't the all-powerful experience that it was for others.
Also Sandra Bullock, an actress I have loved in other films, annoyed me to no end in this film. Her overriding fear ruined my experience more than the flawed science.
The loss of the character G. Clooney played was ridiculous. These are the things that ruined my experience during this film.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I didn't feel cheated by any perceived technical faults. I mean, does it really matter? Are these critics going to complain about the decades of inaccurate gun play, stunt driving, computer use or any other technical issues in movies? If these are the kind of people who want total realism, then I don't see why they don't just stay at home and watch the Discovery or History Channels. The rest of us will just go to watch a dramatisation of a story. This is what we go to the cinema for. To be entertained, thrilled, moved and come away with something to talk about. For me, Gravity ticked all of these boxes. Do I care that Bullock wasn't wearing a nappy? Errr, no. Do I care that I spent a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable experience, hell yes.

The problems with Blade Runner is that nothing happens, no character really does anything and the only good thing about it is the minute long monologue at the end.

Every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction and, in terms of films, that's often true. Once a film attains a certain level of success, there's always a backlash.

Gravity, for the record, is great.

I can't think of a film i enjoyed more at the cinema last year. Each to their own and all that, but i really can't understand the hate directed at this film by some.

I watched Gravity on quite a small screen in 2D and it was a pretty average movie..BUT before anyone abuses me..in 3D I can appreciate that it would be awesome! So the question is should it get an Oscar for the story alone? I'd say no..however as a pure great cinematic experience..I'd say yes! Which asks the question is it a movie's story what drives the movie alone or an ok story but made outstanding by superb visuals that virtually makes you a part of the film? I guess only time will tell..if it still warrants repeated viewings at home on a smaller screen with no 3d.. Anyway I hope it wins because it's what movies should be about..sheer entertainment.

I was one of those that thought it was an average film. As a visual spectacle goes it is one of the best, but i was wrenched from the suspension of disbelief on so many occasions it just stuttered for me.

I also wasn't a massive fan of Avatar and have no idea why that film got so much praise at the time, I know the 3D was excellent and the effects were pretty damn special but overall it lacked any real suspense or heart.

A film should be a story aided by effects, not an effect driven story (for me anyway).

How? He's quite obviously a member of The Academy.

This is the same way I felt. I just couldn't buy that Bullock's character would be able to accomplish the things that she did on her own, given that she was not a NASA astronaut and this was only her first trip into space.

At the end, I thought the film was visually nice, and there was a good bit of suspense, but since Bullock's character was basically the main one for most of the film, it just didn't work for me.

The wave of backlash might not necessarily be entirely because of the hype (though I believe that most of it was). For me, while I enjoyed it while watching it, looking back on it I realize it wasn't a "good" movie. Or at least something I wouldn't go out looking to see another time whether on DVD or in the theater again. So while I may have loved it immediately after, it didn't mean that on further reflection i would still like it at much. At this point, after seeing it, and having time to think on it, I don't think it really deserves any of the Oscars that it is up for. But then again, I don't think I've ever agreed with the Academy on anything.

I kind of got that feeling when I finally got round to seeing it last year too! Glad it's not just me!

I'll start by not caring about yours.

Sandra Bullock's histrionics and the complete absence of realism turned me off Gravity within fifteen minutes. Any scorn directed at this film is well-deserved in my estimation.

What a poor article, it's just a tantrum because some people don't like a film the writer obviously enjoyed a lot. Suggesting the only reason to criticise it are bandwagon jumping and snobbery. Without providing evidence of such a 'backlash' the article has no depth at all. Just like the film I guess... (BACKLASH!)

I thought Titanic was 'alright' and I thought Avatar was extremely poor - all 3 of these films were massive successes but you know what doesn't make a film good? Box office receipts; they will never be an indicator of a good film (see Grown Ups 2 last year for instance).

Like it or not I think we can agree that the film was more loved than not and that it will likely get a few Oscars, where films that I loved are widely ignored - I don't bitch and moan about it though.

Yeah I was loving it until 'the Clooney scene'. Which just dragged me out of lovely 3D space and dumped me back in my cinema seat. With a feeling of 'why am I watching a scene from Cliff hanger'. Where's the drag? what annoyed me most was that it doesn't take much to come up with a better plot devise. Even the NASA advisers for the film advised against that scene. I generally don't mind faults as long as they don't drag me from the film. But if you know somethings wrong (which they did) spend another 5 mins to think of an alternative. If you want a heart wrenching scene, they could have had his back back fail at a point where he's going the same speed as the space station. Just sat there...can't get closer...no falling away... so close but so far. She manages to get onboard the same way and can always see him through the windows, off to the side of the station about 50 feet away. Still in communication as the film does.

Not really "constant tinkering", though. There was the Director's Cut in the early nineties, which wasn't really that-- it was Ridley Scott approved, but he only provided notes to Warner Brothers, who did the actual edit (the major changes being removal of the voice-over and the removal of the studio-added "happy" ending). Then there is The Final Cut, which Ridley Scott was in charge of, and had complete artistic control over. All the other versions are just variations of the theatrical cut, and are taken from various pre-release cuts of the film.

The Final Cut is the one to see-- it makes what i consider one of the greatest films of all time even greater. But i do have a nostalgic fondness for the narration (which Harrison Ford hates) of the theatrical cut.

Agreed. Every film ever will have people who love it and people who hate it, and there isn't an article about every film ever

I felt this as I left too. Then, as I began telling somebody my problem with the film- that it was technically stunning but not that artistically interesting- I realised that in this sort of film they just can't be separated. If you say about Gravity, 'oh, the effects were good, but the story wasn't', you sort of miss the point about it, you know?

I enjoyed the film, but I also think there is nothing wrong with criticizing the scientific inaccuracies. The only exposure some people get to something as exciting as the science of space travel is film, so why not have the movie play an educational role and make it more realistic. It is fair game to criticize a historical movie about events that were supposed to have really happened and likewise it is fair game to criticize science in a movie that presents itself as a realistic movie rather than science fiction.

The Guardian is a tidal wave of poorly spelled snobbery!

Mail. Psychopaths

Guardian. Sycophants.

Ok everyone, Lets get this sorted. I did not HATE Gravity. It was a good film. BUT the plot was nothing much and it was all effects, spectacle for the 3D. It never pretended to be anything else though.

And I did not watch it on a laptop. I have a ceiling mounted 1080p 3D projector now that I just bought myself for Christmas. I watched it like at the Cinema on 150" plus screen in my living room. It looked great because it was a Screener copy. That does not make it right etc but if I had paid £15 for this in a cinema I would have been disappointed. There were two really big effects sequences, the first with the shuttle, then later on they do more or less the same sequence again with the space station, debris , capsule etc.

It was as I said before, ok and I did not hate it, it just did not live up to the hype for me, in the same way that The Phantom Menace and the Blair Witch Project didn't.

I was glad to see S Bullock in something other than a soppy unfunny Rom Com. But the plot etc had little depth and there is not a lot you could do with just two characters. And then just one character.

It did not have the plot twists or impact for me as say the very first Matrix film did , or Lord of the Rings and so on. Have you ever seen that film Phone Boothe with Colin Farrel and Kiether Sutherland? That was just one person in one location (all be it with other people popping in and out, cops etc) and Kiethers voice on the Phone. That was so tense, you never knew what was going to happen next or where it was going to end up etc. You get so drawn into to the situation the fact that the whole film is just a man in a phone box does not matter as its so well WRITTEN with the actors getting their teeth into the script.

I stand by what I said. Gravity was ok, great for a 3D roller coaster ride, but take that away and the plot is just two lines long.

Exactly right.

You are right. Thats all it is about Sandra Bullock panicking. For Two Hours. She is in the film on her own after the first 20 minutes. Its just 3d spectacle and thats it.

Stephen, if you haven't seen the film, no worries. No one is holding a gun to your head to see it--the same counts for every film that's ever been made.

Still....if you are only judging it on the trailer, well....trailers can only tell us so much. I also misjudged the film because of the trailer, and when I did see it, I was surprised by how much I really liked the film. Of course, to each his own--your mileage may vary, after all.

If you do catch it, then see it with an open mind. Forget the hype, forget the comments of others, and judge it for yourself. I'm going to have to disagree with you about the marketing, but again, that's two different POVs.

Strangely enough, I saw recently saw the 1968 film MAROONED after seeing GRAVITY, and even though both films are about astronauts being trapped in space, it was interesting to see how both films approached that concept.

I'm not saying one was better than the other--I liked both films.

Maybe it's just that simple trope: "It's popular, so it must suck."

"Maybe they think it makes them look clever." To me, it makes them look more like bloody fools suffering from the NIA/HUA syndrome.

Gravity has 10 Oscar nominations as well, I mean, where exactly is this backlash? I think it's nailed on to win at least 3 out of the following as well: Best Cinematography / Best Sound Editing / Best Sound Mixing / Best Original Score / Best Visual Effects

How about an article talking about great it is to see a Sci-Fi lead the way in nominations? I don't mind people talking up Gravity, it has it's charms, though I'm loathe to imagine it winning best picture/director/editing/actress because I don't believe it was strong enough in any of those departments personally.

This film's target audience isn't overly picky internet SF geeks - its mainstream, very much so, and nothing wrong with that

Except thats the opposite of what its about. Its about her NOT panicking (except for a couple of minutes early on)

Its one of the favourites for Best Picture which means it was more that a 'good' film, by general consenus

I kind of get what you mean but I find I can forgive a film being technically flawed if I'm drawn in by the story and characters (a reason I love a lot of old films that don't technically measure up today). That said, I don't think 'Gravity' was flawed from a story telling perspective, I just don't think it was anything special in that regard. It was an incredible cinematic experience, I just don't think I'll find it as immersive on my 2D home tv. A perfectly fine film though, and, thanks to the technical wizzardry, one of the best cinematic experiences I had last year.

I've not met one person who enjoyed gravity. Not one. The cinema we were in had people leaving, people taking off their 3d glasses and chatting to their friends, and people sat behind just saying how terrible it was.
I thought it was pretty dire myself too, and my sci-fi adoring wife felt it was "a let down".
Friends at work told me it was boring or predictable.
In fact the only ones who seem to like it are the critics and the people on this site.
So the backlash was always there, it was just waiting quietly for its chance to speak up over the noise of the critics.

And this dickhead had it all arranged to see with the wife, and we ran out fo time, so out of all the things she wanted to do that day, I agreed to miss Gravity.......Yes you may all now take the piss.

They realize they were conned by marketing and payola "critics."
And of course, the negative opinions are stifled so long as the BO is open. Not a discouraging word is allowed to disrupt the milking of consumers.

"I just don't think I'll find it as immersive on my 2D home tv"

Not to get picky or anything (I agree almost completely with your argument here) but since when is the home experience supposed to tie in to one's enjoyment of the movie...at the movies? Ok film, Great experience at the movies (like, I would argue, Pacific Rim).

I made the mistake of watching it in dubbed in Japanese. I was too hyped up on the idea of the cinema's premium sofa seat - which was lovely, by the way - to check the listing for the language. Usually the films I see here have Japanese subs. Anyway, I digress.

I grasped a lot of what was going on in the film, character-wise, which was lucky but in this scene I was thinking: why didn't Clooney just yank the strap and he would've drifted towards her?

I got the impression there was the risk that, in doing so, he'd also pull her towards him(Third Law) and they'd both drift off if her foot came loose from the tangly lines. Would that be a possibility? I couldn't really understand what he was saying at the time but my gf said something to that effect when we were talking about it afterwards.

Regardless, I'll be grabbing the English bluray when it hits. And checking my cinema listings for the audio language from now on :)

Well I wasn't making the point that the cinematic experience was ruined by pervading thoughts of what it will be like to watch at home, more that there are some films that are of such all round quality that I still find them just as enjoyable and involving on the small screen. I don't think that's the case with Gravity because while it's outstanding technically, the story and script aren't at the same level so I can understand some people who aren't that bothered about the look of the film finding it overrated. If that makes sense.

subjective. Bad science only has a detrimental affect to someone who knows enough about a subject to be taken out of the immersion of it.

those Damn hispters!

General consensus? By that reasoning Coldplay are the best band in the world and Avatar is the best film ever made.

Have you ever heard of 'artistic license'? Narrative should always take precedence over anything else, and a film's internal logic is way more important than nitpicking about scientific or historical accuracy. If everything was coldly accurate we'd have a lot of boring films.

You can criticise all you want, but in my mind you'd be missing the point.

This never happened.

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