Hollywood has been on a pretty bleak run for far too long. I can’t remember when I last watched a movie that really got me caught up in the story. You know, when you’re right on the edge of your seat, literally, and you cease to be aware of anything else around. Time and other cinema goers disappear into oblivion. You’re there. In the movie. Along for the ride. It’s your adventure.
Almost every new release I’ve watched for at least a couple of years has disappointed. Skyfall, Hangover III and Prometheus were dreadful. Insults to their esteemed predecessors. Lincoln and Argo weere ‘ok’ historical works. The former was short on drama. The latter was short on fact. Django Unchained was the exception. A big thumbs up from me. But the last movie I really got caught up in? Probably Avatar.
Avatar’s killer feature was the fact it was in 3D. It was made for 3D. Most importantly, it worked in 3D. The predictable storyline with its well trodden script was at best pleasant. But seeing a new world in such vivid multi dimensional technicolour was mind blowing. Alas, 3D doesn’t always work. I’ve seen a few movies since Avatar, including the latest Star Trek, and left thinking I should have seen it in good old fashioned 2D.
So with a certain amount of trepidation, I took my seat in the Odeon at the weekend to watch Avatar. Encouraged into the cinema by rave reviews. Slumped in my seat with minimal expectations. I was giving 3D another go. Gravity did seem cut out for this bit of tech. It’s a space movie. Sci-fi (I like) not Fantasy(which I don’t). What could go wrong?
Nothing went wrong. The Hollywood drought is over. We have a winner. We could debate the plausibility of parts of the story. I like plausibility. But here, the science behind the accident that propels our two heroes into a fight for life is almost incidental. There just needs to be an accident. It doesn’t matter much what it is. And of course, they’re riding Space Shuttles. Which have been retired.
The cast? I’m beginning to like George Clooney. I watched him in The Descendants recently. Which is an oldie, but thoroughly enjoyable on a cold Sunday evening. And as for Sandra Bullock? She’s how old? I won’t embarrass her by saying. I’ll embarrass her instead by mentioning that, well…I would. Would NASA send this pair into space on a shuttle? Erm, probably not. But never mind. They both put in sterling performances which keep the story rolling along in an entertaining fashion.
The movie worked brilliantly in 3D. It’s worth shelling out the extra shilling. I was on the edge of my seat. I kept getting aches from clenching my muscles. I gasped for air from subconsciously holding my breath. I had to hold my breath though. There’s no oxygen in space. And that’s where I was. This was one of those films that takes hold of you and won’t let go.
Go watch Gravity. It’s not the best space film I’ve ever seen. But it’s the best in a long time. Let’s hope it’s not the last good movie coming off the production line. Captain Phillips is next on my list. Hopefully that will give the industry a much needed lift too. Else, it will bring my new found high expectations back to earth with a bump.