Monday, November 11, 2013

Gravity Defies

For a seasoned movie buff inflicted with torturous Bollywood options like Krrish 3 or Satya 2 which are precisely reasons for calling for a ban on sequels, I did what I had to do: watch back-to-back Hollywood flicks, which are, well, purely Hollywood!

Now judge me all you like, but I don’t really like movies which are so, well, Hollywood, where the focus is more on technology, special effects, direction and cinematography and not so much on the story or the acting. Call me old fashioned, but I still enjoy films which are simple, powerful, well told and well executed, where the characters are identifiable and the acting is fluid. So give me an American Beauty over an Avatar. Always!

But then, when you are bombarded with crores worth of stupidity, you turn to Hollywood which brings alive the elements of nature packaged with sleek special effects, a true story and a tinge of wry humour. And Tom Hanks. And George Clooney.

I had heard people rave about Gravity and George Clooney in a spacesuit is enough reasons to watch anything really. So, when I finally watched the movie, it was everything that I expected and nothing that I did not expect. Almost entirely based in the space, it was literally a rollercoaster ride, and while 3D effects have never meant much to me, this was probably one movie in which it really made a difference. And did I mention George Clooney? In a space suit? (Clearly not a fan of Sandra Bullock) Did I like the movie? Yes. Would I have watched it under normal circumstances? Probably no.

If Gravity was entirely about space, Captain Phillips was entirely about the sea. A true story about the recurrent attack by Pirates on cargo ships (in this case Maersk) along the Somalian coast, it’s indeed an eye-opener about the life threatening voyages which are very much a part of the job for the men on board. And Tom Hanks as Captain Phillips is quite simply breath-taking as a firm, dependable and yet subtly vulnerable man away from his family, in charge of the lives of several men, while putting his own life on the line.

Both movies stood out in terms of their sheer simplicity and objectivity by being completely focused on the central theme of the movie without unnecessarily digressing or introducing parallel tracks or abusing the emotional aspects. Gravity does well to end as soon as Sandra Bullock finds ground beneath her feet without getting into an elaborate rescue mission and Captain Phillips does just enough to show a remarkable rescue but avoiding the Bollywood trappings of a melodramatic family reunion.

Krrish can fly off to the outer space thanks to his superpowers, but to be taken seriously, you need a bit of Gravity

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