Sunday, March 2, 2014

'Gravity' in Crazy Eddie at the movies

My wife and I finally watched "Gravity" on Friday.  We'd been wanting to do that ever since the movie came out.  I can say that we were not disappointed.  The movie was a non-stop thrill ride from start to finish.  It was also as beautiful as it was terrifying.  As for the science and technology of it, I'll let Discovery News explain in Gravity: What It's Like to Be An Astronaut in Peril.

Trace talks with astronaut Mike Massimino to find out what would really happen if there was a catastrophic collision in space. Did the filmmakers of the highly anticipated film "Gravity" get it right? You might be surprised by what Mike has to say.
And that's just the U.S. spacecraft and I.S.S.  As far as I can tell, the accuracy extends to the Soyuz and Shenzhou spacecraft as well.  I'll give one anecdote from our viewing: when Sandra Bullock's character was hurtling to Earth, my wife said "I hope she hits water."  I told her that wouldn't be a good thing to do, as the Russian and Chinese capsules are designed to return to dry land, not water as U.S. spacecraft do.  I won't spoil the readers, but I will say that the rescue vehicle eventually did perform down to my expectations.

I should have been more upset about the implications of the movie, as it means that humans are pretty much shut out of Earth orbit, at least temporarily, but I was too caught up in the adventure of the plot.  Also, it wasn't because of collapse removing the ability to support the technology, but from a fictional version of something I already blogged about here.  That's a different kind of threat.

Finally, about tonight's awards, I think it has a good shot at Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing, although it faces stiff competition from the other science fiction and fantasy movies in those categories, including the second Hobbit movie and "Star Trek Into Darkness."  The technical details will help it with Production Design, although I have a hard time imagining it beating "The Great Gatsby."  The music was effective but minimal, so I'm not optimistic about Best Original Score.  It might win Editing, but it's against all the very best films of last year.  Cuaron did win Best Director at the Golden Globes, so I think he'll do it again here.  The Cinematography was stunning, so I think it has a good chance.  Finally, Sandra Bullock put in a great performance, but she will not beat Cate Blanchett for "Blue Jasmine."  Also, "Gravity" may not even be the best science fiction film nominated.  "Her" might be.  Neither of them will win for Best Picture.  I expect "12 Years a Slave" will repeat its win from the Golden Globes.

That's it for now.  I'll have more to say after the Oscars and "The Walking Dead."

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