Philosofiction

Steve Bein, writer & philosopher

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Gravity

So far I’ve been unimpressed with Hollywood’s movement toward 3D movies. The 3D effects spoil my suspense of disbelief much more often than they suck me in to the story. Thor throws his hammer at a giant and all of a sudden it’s coming at me, knocking me right out of the world of the film and back into my seat in the theater. Illusion shattered. Magic dispelled.

Don’t get me wrong. I liked
Thor. I just didn’t like it in 3D. As near as I can tell, there are only two directors who understand what the 3D tech is for: Werner Herzog and Alfonso Cuarón.

Cuar
ón’s Gravity opens with a 17-minute single take, panning from the Earth to a space station to the astronauts space-walking around it, a shot that The Onion’s A.V. Club calls “one of the great feats of modern special effects.” That’s a bold claim if ever there was one, but I’ve got to say it’s the most memorable single take since the iconic opening shot of Star Wars.

I adore this movie. Not everyone will. A certain cynic who is very close to me summed up the plot as, “Bad things keep happening to Sandra Bullock.” That’s not altogether wrong (though I’d point out that it’s pretty hard to tell a good story if
nothing bad happens to your protagonist). But in the case of Gravity, it’s not just bad things; it’s jaw-dropping special effects that -- because Cuarón actually understands what 3D is for -- feel completely real.

And that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? To draw us in so deeply that we forget we’re sitting in a theater?
Gravity will do that for you. See this one on the biggest screen you can get to.