To be able to generate the amount of hype for a two character movie is one thing, to live up to it is quite another thing altogether. Alfonso Cuaron's thrilling space saga achieves just that. Though I wouldn't rate this big as a compelling drama, it more than compensates with its spectacular set pieces and jaw dropping visuals achieved through precise use of 3D technology. Even the drama quotient had its moments leveraging on more than capable Sandra Bullock's intense portrayal of a lonely stranded astronaut who has lost her way and hope but not ready to give up.
Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical engineer who is on her first trip to space along with the smooth talking veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). When a Russian satellite is hit by a missile, the fast flying debris hits their explorer shuttle and drifts the two further into space. It now becomes a race against time to reach a nearby space station, get into an escape pod and reach Earth.
While the movie gives a very satisfying visual experience with the leads charismatic and intense portrayal complementing each other quite well, the story as a whole leaves a lot to be desired and believable. Hopping into different space stations, reading through manuals and controlling the systems all made to look quite easy. [SPOILER] Letting go of Matt's character that easily did not make any sense for the following obvious reasons - 1) He is full of life and wouldn't part with his life that easily for someone he just met. 2) They have no clear way of knowing the tensile strength of the string they are hung on. 3) They don't even attempt to save him before deciding. By not showing any other character on Earth with just some distorted voice signals, the director manages to create that eery atmosphere of loneliness which Sandra Bullock took it to another level. The use of latest and smartest use of 3D technology made me feel like I was in space for a moment especially when Ryan was rolling away in space, it was through Ryan POV and it made for a horrifying yet thrilling view. Like the director's superior 'Children of Men', the relentless and continuous action sequences and a restless screenplay doesn't let you ponder about its logic until it is done.
Amazing while you watch, fizzles out a bit when you think back
Delivers exactly what the trailer promises, nothing less and sadly nothing more. At a time when there are a cluster of zombie movies with varying sub-genres, what makes this one unique is its treatment of the zombies as fast, aggressive and restless beings which are in your face whenever they are on screen. Boasting top notch special effects and massive action set pieces that sprawls the length and breadth of the globe, it is one heck of a thrill ride from start to finish. Having said that, it does have its share of misgivings - apart from Brad Pitt playing the central character with required intensity and vulnerability, rest of the characters as well as the depth of the plot leaves a lot to be desired.
Gerry (Brad Pitt), an ex-United Nations staffer known for his thorough investigations is caught in the middle of a plague that breaks out worldwide which turns most of the humans into beasts. In an obligation to save his family comprising his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and 2 daughters, he joins the UN for a mission to identify the source of the plague. The clues and leads takes him on a journey across the world including Isreal, Europe etc, brushing past multiple close encounters. Can he find the cause, the cure and save his family in the process is what comprises the rest of the story.
Though the movie leaves you gasping with terror and thrill through its superlative special effects, the emotional connect and the human element of the story hardly scrapes its potential. The point that the Zombies they are fighting were actually human beings like them before is hardly realized. For e.g., consider the Spanish couple who turn zombies before their son and tries to attack him. Mireille Enos neither brings enough depth required for the situation her character has been put in nor serves as the eye candy for a shallow viewing. The writers and the director didn't seem to have made up their mind on where to take this incredible journey they have started so competently and sadly left it with their brilliant special effects and action choreography team to fill in for their shortcomings. The background score is apt and does not waver too far from the glimpse shown in the trailer. The zombie make up is on par but doesn't break any new ground especially when TV shows like 'The Walking Dead' is doing such a brilliant job. The climax was not satisfactory enough for me though I generally don't mind the meta finishes.
A must watch on the big screen but strictly a one time watch.
Having never actually seen the great man from behind the camera, I will just have to go with some guess work. Anthony Hopkins was strictly average and at times the make up didn't quite please me. Having never been an ardent fan of the renowned masterpiece 'Psycho', making of it felt a bit engaging initially. Even more so, I quite enjoyed the shower scene here more than the original itself with Scarlett Johansson making a strong appeal for a scream movie (not that she wants to). The babbles between Mr. & Mrs. Hitchcock was tiresome after a point.
Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) has just filmed and released 'North by North West' thus re-establishing him as the master of the genre. When the whole world is watching what Hitchcock would do next, he announces a horror movie about a perversive murderous psychopath and when a young woman crosses his path. Against everybody's vociferous repulsion including his wife Alma (Helen Mirren) initially and no studio backing, the stubborn director makes a movie that the world reels in terror becoming one of his biggest accomplishments.
Hopkins gets it right to an extent as the repulsive, authoritative and tyrannic man. However as the moments pass with obvious emotional sequences go untapped, it more becomes a '60s tabloid feature. Helen Mirren gets a lot of unnecessary screentime and ends up deviating from any other interesting elements that the writers could have bundled. The sound mixing was good in parts and some supporting performances especially Johansson's was particularly good. It feels disappointingly long even with its short runtime and a little undercooked at times. Having never been a fan of Hitchcock's renowned handling of climax, this one came as a surprise to be so flat and to be honest disrespectful of the man.
Not particularly a solid tribute but sure brings some interesting moments
It starts off as a movie with a disaster waiting to happen just as advertised showing off happy moments, family bonds and future expectations just enough to ensure when the disaster hits, it hits hard. It did hit hard. If you forgive the occasional pacing issues and consistent coincidences (being a true story it is nothing short of miraculous), the actors will leave you with a feeling of unease with their brilliant natural and touching performances. The tsunami scene was quick, short, devastating and mostly well executed. Naomi Watts deserves a special applause along with the kid who played Lucas.
Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry (Ewan McGregor) are moderately happy couple who comes down to Thailand for a vacation with their 3 sons Lucas, Thomas and Simon. Just when the holiday mood kicks in the disaster strikes without a warning. With utmost perseverance and love for life Maria and Lucas endure themselves to safety badly beaten, scarred but not broken. On the other side, Henry is in search of his family. How their unbroken spirit and persistence help them to find each other constitutes the rest of the story.
The scene where Maria is stuck in a frenetic underwater current makes you look away but could have been done a lot better. It was also difficult to watch with my ardent fear of water. If not for a true story credit, the near misses and the way the family finally reunite looks a bit undercooked. Naomi Watts shoulders the first half of the movie but Tom Holland (Lucas) steals the show for a short while by portraying a kind, confident yet vulnerable character. Runtime could be edited by a good 20 minutes and the melodrama and over emphasis of the power of human spirit (though apt in this instance) was a bit too much. Background score does not leave a mark and nor does the Thai locals performance.
Touching and powerful occasionally but a little flat overall.