Gravity

Gravity won both the Hugo and Bradbury Awards in 2014. We have the Hugo statistics which show that it had a very healthy margin over the competition.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Pacific Rim were finalists for both the Hugo and the Bradbury Awards; Frozen and Iron Man 3 were up for the Hugo, and Europa Report and Her for the Bradbury. (That was the year of the last UK Worldcon, when Ancillary Justice won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel.) The only one of those that I have seen is Frozen, and that’s “seen” as in “was in the same room as small children who were watching it”.

IMDB users rate Gravity 3rd best film of the year on one ranking but a surprisingly low 41st on the other. The voters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were very favourable – it won seven Oscars, the most ever for any film, other than Cabaret, that did not win Best Picture. I’m with the award voters; I really liked it. I’m putting it at about the 40% mark of my Hugo/Nebula/Bradbury winners list, in 21st place out of 55, below Aliens and above The Truman Show.

There are only two visible members of the cast (a record low, I think, for this sequence of films), and neither had previously been in an Oscar-winning, Hugo-winning, or Nebula/Bradbury-winning film, and neither has ever been in Doctor Who. We do have the unseen Ed Harris, who was the sinister illusory Parcher in A Beautiful Mind and the equally sinister Christof in The Truman Show; here he is the voice of Mission Control, but is not visible, so no photos.

It’s a very straightforward film about two American astronauts marooned in low earth orbit after a disaster destroys their space shuttle. They are played by impossibly cute actors, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. Like Aliens, it does just one thing and does it very well, for only 97 minutes. Clooney and Bullock are both very watchable, but to be honest we are really distracted from their good looks by the unceasing momentum of the plot and the steadily increasing danger of the situation.

Incidentally, at the time of writing, the ten astronauts currently in space have an average age of 46 years and nineteen days, and a median age of 45 years and eleven months, so we can call it an even 46. The youngest, Anna Kikina, is two months past her 38th birthday. The oldest, Koichi Wakata, is three months past his 59th. So Sandra Bullock, at 49, and George Clooney, at 51, are realistically in the current age bracket for astronauts. (In the early days of spaceflight, things were very different.)

I commented after watching Twelve Years A Slave that I looked forward to seeing why Oscar voters thought that Gravity had better cinematography and film editing. Well, it does. It’s a masterpiece of technology, for much of the film putting a single actor into special effects and getting the maximum believable performance out of both her and the system. The weightless sequences are simply amazing. We haven’t seen anything like this before. I am sure that Bullock did not have to try very hard to act exhausted at the end; the entire film depends on her.

The music won an Oscar as well; I wasn’t blown away by it but I liked it well enough.

Not a lot more to say about this, but I glad that I finally got around to watching it. Next up is Guardians of the Galaxy, which won the Hugo and Bradbury Awards the following year, and is rated higher than Birdman which won the Oscar.

1 thought on “Gravity

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy is not good (in the technical, critical sense) but it does gainfully employ David Batista, and it has Groot. (And it made me cry so hard L that watched it with got a migraine)

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