My family likes to discuss and analyze movies after we watch them.
There are two fine movies we watched where the theme was survival.
Both movies have been given critical acclaim and awards. They have
outstanding casts and performances. One is about man against the
sea while the other one is astronauts against the odds, up in Space.
My brothers, particularly, are science-oriented, while I am more into
character development and overall “impressions” or “feelings.” I liked
both of these movies, for different reasons. We agreed the following
movies are worth your time, if you have not already seen them:
1. 2013’s “All Is Lost,” with Robert Redford, playing a man who has
decided to embark on an ocean adventure aboard a boat. It is directed
by J.C. Chandor, who also wrote the intensely fascinating screenplay.
This story is about a veteran and resourceful sailor lost at sea, in the
Indian Ocean, when the movie opens.
Having been a member of Mariner Scouts, co-ed sailing experiences
aboard sailboats on Lake Erie, I know I would not be fully prepared
for being stranded on a lake; let alone the barrage of challenges the
man is faced with in this film.
In most cases, the mariner (R. R.) is able to cope. For example, when
the boat fills up with water, he can use a hand operated pump to get
the water out of the boat. When he wishes to find his location, due
to loss of radio waves, he is forced to use a hand-held sexton. I was
amazed when I looked this navigational instrument up to find how
old this was. Before 1757, the sextant was built differently and was
called an ‘octant.’ Both devices use the angles of the sun’s position
to figure out location. It has to due with comparing two locations,
one can be ‘celestial’ and using the level of the water or the horizon,
as the other ‘fixed’ location. When the character is able to find a ‘busy
section of the ocean,’ which means it is a thoroughfare for water
vehicles, I am amazed. But I believe this is possible due to his vast
knowledge about the sea. This is called ‘the shipping lanes’ in the
water of the ocean. He compares and measures them, using a map.
He is able to naviagate this way, which they show him carefully
calculating this procedure.
I don’t want to let you know any further details about this movie,
since you may sometime spend a few hours watching this great
actor, showing his ability to literally carry out many of the physical
tasks presented to him, as a strong, older man. Along with “carrying”
the whole movie on his shoulders, as an actor. My youngest brother
took it home from my Mom’s house, (where both brothers, Mom
and I had watched this) so that he could view this one more time.
This expresses something impressive to me. It means it was such a
powerful story, it captivated his interest enough to see it twice in one
weekend. He will help ‘weigh in’ on the next movie’s review, too.
2. 2013’s “Gravity,” with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney
playing two astronauts with different levels of experience, while
out on a space shuttle proceeding through what was supposed to
be a routine journey.
This movie was co-written by and directed by Alfonso Cuaron. It is
“billed” as a science fiction thriller, but many scenes seem very real
and believable. The astronauts who watched the private screening,
were pleased, overall, with the emotions and the beautiful filmography.
They may have seen some imperfections and mentioned them, along
with flaws in the details. They probably were thrilled to have been
asked along for the ride, since there were not many complaints among
My brothers both had a few times asked to ‘stop the movie,’ to rewind
along with discuss something that seemed to be ‘far-fetched.’ They
really felt the scene where the debris was flying at the astronauts,
shuold have sent them to hide behind the sturdy Hubble spacecraft.
Also, one brother felt that Matt (George Clooney’s character) should
have not been using up his extra energy and jet packs by ‘playing’
and ‘tooling around the stratosphere.’ He is often characterized as
an easy going character, this is true once again in the action movie,
“Gravity.” He has the qualities of ‘laid back’ and confident astronaut
definitely ‘down pat.’ Matt is senior officer and experienced veteran
while Sandra Bullock’s character, Ryan is on her first mission. She is
the medical engineer. There were ‘holes’ in her choices, not showing
a strong ability to think ‘outside the box,’ nor being aware of her
surroundings. (She passes some wires that are giving off sparks,
but doesn’t think about potential fire danger. I gave a sharp intake
of breath, with a strong premonition when she did this. It was very
apparent to me; so not sure why Ryan doesn’t notice them.)
There are a lot of loopholes in “Gravity’s” plot. Which if I mentioned
all of them then you may not be surprised when they occur. If you
are like I am, you prefer to hear a short synapsis and not be given too
many plot devices. I am sure that this would not be a good review if I
let you know too much ahead of time. Nor will I reveal the endings of
either movie I am talking about.
Summary of Mom’s and My Opinion on Both Movies:
The way Mom and I are, we were enthralled by the way Earth and
Space looked. The much played comment by Matt (George Clooney)
in movie trailers was (paraphrased), “Enjoy the view.” This would
be our strongest reason to suggest you see, “Gravity.” It is why people
leaving theaters would be so excited. There are many positives that
outweigh the negatives.
When Mom and I watch movies, it takes a major upset to get us
to give up on a movie. We would have probably let the problems
within the scientific and technical realm, ‘go.’
We sometimes sit together, leaning against each other or holding
hands. The excitement and danger in both “All Is Lost” and “Gravity”
seemed quite realistic. We held on tight in several parts of the man
facing eminent death upon the sea and when the astronauts kept
drifting away from secure holds on their positions. Both movies tell
engrossing stories, gripping and holding your attention.
We felt when “Gravity” was finished, (Mom and I) one must suspend
your disbelief and enjoy the adventure of the movie.
When we concluded our discussion about “All Is Lost,” we felt this
could have represented a real person’s experiences. At the end, we
wished we could learn his name. It seemed totally believable, which
makes this movie almost like you could be able to read an autobiography
of this man.