Review: Bird Box (2018)

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“Listen to me, we’re going on a trip now, it’s going to be rough. If you hear something in the woods, you tell me. if you hear something in the water, you tell me. But under no circumstances are you allowed to take off your blindfold.”
– Malorie

SYNOPSIS: Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a mother and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety. – via IMDB

So there was so much hype surrounding this that I figured it was time to give it a shot and see what it was all about. I think this was largely down to people doing silly challenges. Well, I got to it and it was… okay. I know, I know. Opinions seemed varied about it, but I didn’t love it.

I felt the movie was excessively long for what it gave us. Like, it could totally have justified the run time if there was just more going on. As it was, way too much. Also, it never felt like it got intense enough, if that makes sense? It was always on the fringes of delivering, but never did. It didn’t even get you riled and then not pay off, it just… carried on and on. So I wasn’t super invested. And for all the “it’s unique and different”, I didn’t feel that.

I thought the performances were decent, albeit not groundbreaking material that you will remember long after the movie is over. The story itself won’t even linger long after aside from the blindfolds. I suppose that is how it was with Hush. It was not necessarily unique in terms of genre (home invasion), but had a different spin (deaf victim). So it was with Bird Box. End of the world/invasion type deal, and you can’t look at anything because it will drive you crackers (serious Lovecraftian stuff going on there).

So Bird Box was okay, albeit long. It is not something that will stay with you long after all is said and done, and is not as different and unique as it would like to think it is.

Review: Gravity (2013)

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dH

“Houston, I have a bad feeling about this mission.”
– Matt Kowalski

Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is on her first space shuttle mission with space veteran Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). They are on a mission aboard the Explorer to service the Hubble Space Telescope. This is supposed to be Kowalski’s final mission. Mission Control in Houston calls in a warning, though says that it is nothing serious but that they should keep their eyes open. A Russian missile strike on one of their defunct satellites has formed a cloud of debris in space, though they are not withing the trajectory. However, Mission Control soon calls back and tells them to abort the mission and regain re-entry immediately. While attempting this, the cloud of debris hits them, and Stone is sent careening off into space. Kowalksi needs to find her and soon.

???????

“Explorer, this is Kowalski confirming visual contact with debris, debris is from a BSE sat. To repeat, I have…” – Matt Kowalski

When Stone ultimately slows down and gets her coordinates back up, she reports her position to Kowalski. Contact with Mission Control has been lost. Kowalski has a Manned Maneuvering Unit, and makes his way over to fetching her. Once she has been retrieved, it is noted that Stone has only 8% oxygen remaining, and Kowalski’s levels are low, too. He estimates that they have ninety minutes remaining before the space debris comes around again. He hatches the plan that they will make it back toward the Space Shuttle. Upon arrival, however, it is evident that the crew is dead and that the Shuttle is heavily damaged. Reevaluating the plans leads Kowalski to make the call to make for the International Space Station (ISS). His thruster pack is low, and the going is slow too. Arrival at the ISS shows that the ship is damaged and that the crew escaped using one of the Soyuz modules, and that the other one’s parachute has been deployed, making it useless. When they get right to it, the tether between Stone and Kowalski snaps, and the two make a desperate attempt to attach themselves to the ISS somehow. Ultimately Kowalski makes the call that Stone can make it if she lets him go, though she is not prepared to, and he eventually makes the call himself by detaching himself from her, floating off into space.

gravity towing

“Explorer, permission to retrieve Dr. Stone.” – Matt Kowalski

Stone needs to get into the ISS and use it to travel to the Chinese space station, the Tiangong, where she will be able to board and use one of their modules to return to Earth. She is also insistent that she will rescue Kowalski first, though he tells her it is impossible. Stone eventually makes it into the ISS, and attempts to contact Kowalski unsuccessfully. A fire breaks out in the ISS and forces her to retreat to the Soyuz. Attempting to navigate away from the ISS, Stone has issues getting away due to the parachute, and spacewalks to detach the pod safely. However, back out in space she encounters the debris, and struggles furiously to detach the Soyuz from its parachute chords. Stone ultimately frees the Soyuz and aligns it with the Tiangong but is horrified to learn that there is no fuel to take her. Communication with Mission Control is still pointless.

gravity in the space ship

“I know, we’re all gonna die. Everybody knows that. But I’m going to die today.” – Ryan Stone

Will Stone make her way to the Tiangong, despite her odds? Will she survive her terrifying space ordeal? Will she be able to return to Earth as the sole survivor of the botched space mission? Will the debris come around again and ultimately defeat her?

A 7.5/10 for Gravity. I want it on the record that Gravity really lacks a storyline, and this is one of the few movies that managed to get away with that, regardless of the fact that it should have hurt the movie. This was still a good watch at home, though I imagine that it must have been far more amazing to see in IMAX or 3D due to the effects. I have to say that the movie got off to an exceptionally slow start, and I was afraid the rest of the movie would progress in that vein, which was boring. The movie does not feature top notch acting at all, but the acting is perfectly fine to maintain and carry the story with. There is not really much to say about this movie seeing as it is more about showing the audience Ryan Stone’s ordeal in space, as well as how scary it can be should something go wrong that far away. It shows how amazing space is, but how the unknown is scary, too, and that things can go bad. I just though that everything that could possibly go wrong for this woman did go wrong for this woman, which showed predictability as well as the weak script and the fact that it is not totally believable, but also it was necessary to keep the movie moving along for the duration of the time we spent watching it, so it was entertaining. The movie managed to capture that tense feeling and hopelessness of being stuck in space, and I must say that it was intense and gripping at times. I might not have absolutely loved this movie like Eric did (check his gushing here), but I must say that it was better than I expected it to be, but I think that I lost a lot of the experience due to watching it at home as opposed to on the big screen.

SPOILER: I was relieved that Clooney’s return was in her head and not serious, because I was over it the minute he turned up, it really put a damper on the proceedings for me.