LIH EDITORIAL: “Gravity” – when less is so much more

20 Oct

By LIH Staff

In a genre filled with high concept franchises, universe spanning narratives, and exceptional casts, Alfonso Cuarón’s “Gravity” succeeds by pairing things down to the scariest basics.  Human beings can’t survive outer space.  Ahem …yep, that’s it.

O.K. Sci-Fi geeks, in terms of concept, you might be disappointed.  Yes, maybe Sci-Fi has had a hard time re-emerging after so many of last summer’s bombs, a-lister debacles, and other CGI extravaganzas.  Though considerable, in regard to Hollywood royalty, Gravity only really features two actors, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. And yes, the pairing down doesn’t end there.

We won’t remind you of all of the recent entries within this genre nor the one’s which are still on tap for the near future.  In the not so distant future directors like: M. Night Shyamalan [1], Joseph Kosinski [2], and Marc Forster [3], will have to account for weakness in their films.  Until then they might want to pull up a chair absorb a few lessons.

This film succeeds, without the sequel potential of so many concept ripe scenarios, elaborate alien populated planets, at least aircraft carriers sized space ships, or and the inscrutable genre blending strategies of the best film smiths.  Amazingly, having audiences focus on fewer topics sometimes makes the event far richer.

Are we claiming the story is simple, far from it?  One of the most compelling aspects of this film is the way we are situated in an arena we somewhat already know. In terms of realism the only technology we see, are the innovations we are familiar with from NASA and international space exploration, as we know it.  In terms of characters we needn’t look any further than our neighborhood electrician or our high school science teacher to recall the individuals we need to identify with in this film.  When we tend to think about air less environments the first place most of us tend to think about is our experiences under water.  Believe it or not “Gravity” even gives us the opportunity to contrast that mundane experience with this feature’s far more extreme locale. 

Ignoring so much conventional story telling and redundant formula, it appears that sometimes being original alone is the only ingredient for entertainment success.  In regard to this genre, can you imagine another concept this simple?


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