2/2/14 (Sun), Tokyo
A much-talked about film, already out for several weeks here, being hyped as a potential Oscar winner. I usually don’t take much notice of these disaster flicks, having been burned once too often. But I was interested in how they would build a film around spacewalking, where character interaction is obviously going to be limited, and I like Sandra Bullock.
It turned out to be a pretty conventional Hollywood construction, with one breathless crisis after another: she barely survives the sudden destruction of her spaceship, she barely makes it to a nearby Russian station, her colleague (George Clooney) drifts away to his death, she just makes it out in a Russian ship to a nearby Chinese station, she can’t read the Chinese instructions to get home, etc. It’s basically a “Spaceship Titanic”. It also includes the usual family issues (in this case, a dead child). There must be a mold in Hollywood where they stamp these things out. That said, it was well crafted within that limited range. There were unusually only two actors in the entire film, but they were great ones: Bullock, in another expert performance, managed to keep her character interesting throughout despite spending most of the time in a cramped spacesuit, and Clooney was a solid backup. Other than the impressive effects, this is hardly Oscar material (though neither was Argo), but it was a good two-hour distraction.