Category Archives: Movies

Movie of the Week: Gravity

Ever since I saw the first trailer for Gravity a few months ago I was really looking forward to seeing this movie. You can imagine how annoyed I was when Warner Brother postponed the UK release by a month for no obvious reasons. But last Sunday Silke and I finally had the opportunity to watch this film.

Gravity tells the story of two US Astronauts who get stranded in space after their Space Shuttle gets destroyed by a cloud of debris created by the destruction of multiple satellites. With low oxygen reserves and only one Manned Maneuvering Unit their options are very limited. In a desperate attempt to save their lives they  travel through the vastness of space to reach the International Space Station with the hope of using one of the docked Soyuz spacecrafts to return to earth.

Gravity combines spectacular visual effects with an exciting story. Sometimes you experience space as an amazing panorama with a stunning view on Earth. And in the next moment you get shown the view from within the confines of an astronaut’s helmet spinning uncontrolled in zero gravity. You experience both the beauty and the hostility of this environment. The two astronauts have to fight very hard for their survival and face more than only the dangers of space. Sandra Bullock‘s portrayal of Dr. Ryan Stone, a frightened scientist caught in this cosmic catastrophe, is very convincing.

I greatly enjoyed watching Gravity for a number of reasons. It felt like a ninety minute roller coaster ride on many different levels. While I’m usually not particular impressed by 3D live action movies (computer animated movies like Avatar look much better ) the effects work very well in this case. In the vastness of space there are simply no objects in the background which still remain blurry even if your eyes focus on them. The creators of the film also didn’t ignore the laws of physics in the interest of the script, they made them part of the script instead: objects have inertia, there is no up or down in zero gravity and sound cannot travel through space. It is also nice (once in a while) to see a science fiction movie that portrays space travel using our current technology and not some miracle ships with instantaneous travel, shields and artificial gravity.

Overall Gravity is an excellent movie with a lot of action, amazing special effects and good acting.

Movie of the Week: Ender’s Game

When I was looking for a book to read a while ago Silke offered me her copy of Ender’s Shadow. Unfortunately she couldn’t find her copy of Ender’s Game, the first novel in the series. As a result I never read any of these books despite her recommendation. But when I saw the first trailer for the film adaptation I remembered the title and decided to watch the movie.

In the year 2086 a strike force of an alien insectoid race called the Formics attack Earth and kill millions of humans. Only when the desperate kamikaze attack of a single commander destroys one of the enemies carrier ships the invading force is somehow stopped. Ever since humanity almost lost this war they are preparing for a final confrontation with the Formics. To gain an advantage over the enemy humanity has started a program to find a new brilliant commander who will lead their forces. As children can process information much faster and more natural than adults young teenagers are trained as soldiers in a merciless regime designed to find the smartest leader among them. Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is one of these child soldiers. His tactical skills are amazing, because he can sense how to break an enemy to avoid all futures confrontations. But Ender is greatly troubled by his own abilities because in the process of understanding an enemy he always develops sympathy for them. When Earth’s military forces are approaching the home world of the Formics Ender’s superiors have to decide whether Ender is the commander that they are looking for who can save humanity from this threat once and for all.

Ender’s Game is a well made Science Fiction movie with excellent special effects and an interesting story. At the same time Ender’s struggle with his own daemons adds a human aspect. I definitely enjoyed watching it and will try to get my hands on the book.

Movie of the Week: Pacific Rim

As a kid I loved movies with giant monsters, in particular films with Godzilla. My favourite among those movies was Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, which featured a fight between giant monsters and a giant robot. After seeing the first trailer for Pacific Rim I was hoping for a modern version of these monster movies with up-to-date special effects.

In Pacific Rim humanity is under attack by giant sea monsters, known as Kaiju. Every time one of them emerges from the Pacific Ocean it causes massive loss of life and destruction when it reaches populated areas. As conventional weapons like tanks and fighter planes don’t prove very effective against the Kaiju humanity builds giant robots, called Jägers, to defend itself. This plan proves effective for several years until the increased frequency and size of the Kaijus slowly wear down the Jäger forces. When it is clear that humanity is losing the war the commander of the pilots of the Jägers pulls together the remaining working robots and the surviving pilots to launch one final assault. His plan is to close the portal at the bottom the Pacific Ocean through which the Kaiju get to Earth. But it is a desperate plan which has been attempted before and has always failed.

Pacific Rim is exactly what I was hoping for: a lot action and excellent special effects. The Kaiju are fast and maneuverable and look nothing like the rubber monsters of the past. In between the action there is still room for the human aspects of the story: a washed-up Jäger pilot who gets a second chance, mad scientists which try to unravel the mysteries of the enemy and a rookie pilot who wants to prove herself and avenge the death of her family. Fortunately the story is told without the military pathos that you often find in apocalyptic movies.

If you like action movies you probably want to watch this movies, if you like giant monster movies you must watch it. I definitely got what I was hoping for. 🙂