Gravity (12A)

Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
FACT, Liverpool
On general release from 7th November 2013

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Despite the mega hype surrounding this film - virtually all reviews gave it five stars - it left me feeling it was a load of hokum.

Being a great admirer of Blade Runner, especially, as well as 2001: A Space Odyssey , the first first Aliens film, and Solaris, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky - all pre-digital - this sci-fi movie was, without question, style over substance.

Lots of special effects - in 3D or 2D, whichever you prefer - but the narrative and storyline left me feeling it was like watching a space pantomime. The opening sequence sees the ever smiling Lieutenant Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) and rookie in space Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) bouncing around outside a capsule as if they were having a bit of fun.

The narrative is barely credible. The conversations the two of them have with each other and with the guys back home in Mission Control at NASA, with Ed Harris - you don't see him but only hear his voice - playing the character who replies to them, are puerile at best. For instance Ryan tells Kowalski that her dad called her Ryan because he wanted a boy! Deep stuff.

Director Alfonso Cuaron even forgets the laws of space. In a dream sequence Kowalski opens the airlock of the capsule to be welcomed on board by Ryan, sans a spacesuit.

Ryan, in confessional mode, confesses that she is a depressive, following the death of her daughter and, as a consequence, constantly drives her car around on earth, with no real destination in mind. With all that mental baggage on board how did she pass all the criteria to be allowed to work on such an important mission for NASA?

It gets even worse when Kowalski bemoans the fact that his wife has left him for another bloke because he spends too much time in space!

Oh, I nearly forgot to highlight the state-of-the-art CGI in the movie. There is lots and lots of it....if you like that kind of thing. But adds little to the story.

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