Bird Box - What's the Hype?
Before you go any further, please note that this will contain spoilers for the new Netflix movie, Bird Box. Tread with caution. We may uh, spoil an older Sandra B. movie as well.
Okay, let's get into it. (If you're expecting a rave review of Bird Box, this isn't the story you're looking for.)
The internet is going crazy over Bird Box. It seems everywhere you go, someone has a complex and intellectual theory about the deeper meaning of the movie. Some say it's a narrative on faith, some say that the invisible monster is racism and Malorie's character is White Privilege, many say that the movie is commentary on the mental health stigma, while others claim it's a scathing critique of the harmful impact of social media.
Well. I'm not buying it. So I developed my own first impression crackpot theory, or my *ahem* hot take. (Sorry, it took a minute for me to seriously type the phrase hot take).
Bird Box is just the movie Gravity, with white water rapids and a shitty boat instead of gorgeous outer space scenes.
Let's Unpack This
So the above theory popped into my head, in the typical wise-crack sarcastic fashion that my brain typically offers. But then... then... I really started to think about it. I couldn't remember many of the plot details to Gravity, but I had to go look them up and I was shocked at the actual number of parallels. Now, before anyone gets upset, I acknowledge that some of these things might be reaching (but certainly not any further than the other theories).
Let's start by laying out some character names for those who might not remember so we can keep things straight:
- In Gravity, Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Stone and George Clooney plays Kowalski, the love interest.
- In Bird Box, Sandra Bullock plays Malorie and Trevante Rhodes plays Tom, the love interest.
We'll use character names from here out.
The Backstory and Buildup
- - In Gravity, Dr. Stone tells her backstory in which she has tragically lost a daughter.
- In Bird Box, Malorie has an unborn child when the disaster strikes, causing her to move into premature mourning and act like she's already lost the child.
- - In Gravity, Dr. Stone finds herself amongst a new crew of friends in a new place - the space shuttle.
- In BIrd Box, Malorie finds herself amongst a new crew of friends in a new place - the cozy apocalypse survival home.
- - In Gravity, a disaster is caused by Russia, when they launched a missile strike on a defunct satellite. The US assumes no responsibility, and doesn't really notice the risk until it's too late.
- In Bird Box, the disaster is started in several countries abroad including Russia. The US assumes no responsibility, and doesn't really notice the risk until it's too late.
(Author's note: Theories aside, this one's just good social commentary that Hollywood seems to have a better grasp on than the political sphere).
- - In Gravity, Dr. Stone finds herself quickly separated from her entire crew, aside from her love interest Kowalski.
- In Bird Box, Malorie finds herself quickly separated from her entire crew, aside from her love interest (and two children who she refuses to name so she won't have to bond with them, despite having plenty of emotional reserve to bond with Tom).
Are you with me so far?
The Big Action and Crisis Moments
Now as things start picking up in both movies, you'd think they would be very, very different. Hear me out though, we're not done.
- - In Gravity, Kowalski fades away into space. It's a slow moving scene and Dr. Stone keeps on hearing him until he's so far away that she can't tell for sure... but she knows he's gone forever.
- In Bird Box, a group of crazy people show up and get into a good old fashioned shoot out with Tom. Malorie is outside, within earshot, but ironically she can't *see* anything. So while she can't know for sure... she knows he's gone forever.
- - In Gravity, Dr. Stone begins a long, solitary journey fighting against the nearly invisible title force in space.
- In Bird Box, Malorie begins a long, mostly solitary journey (she still won’t give the kids names, after all), fighting against invisible monsters.
- - In Gravity, when Dr. Stone has almost given up, she hears Kowalski's voice. Reassuring her. Talking her through things. She realizes shortly thereafter that it's a hallucination.
- In Bird Box, when Malorie is trying to follow the bird noises to Rick's shelter, she hears Tom's voice calling out. Reassuring her. Talking her through things. She realizes shortly that it's some sort of demonic monster ventriloquism... or something.
Still with me? How many similarities can we have?
The Big Finish
Surely, as we get to the endings we'll see the two movies diverge. They have to have wildly varying plots by this point in time, don't they?
- In Gravity, Dr. Stone crashes into the ocean after successfully re-entering the Earth's atmosphere, somehow not being crushed by space debris or running out of oxygen along the way. She comes out victorious, back on a beach.
The audience is left, confused and baffled by such an anticlimactic ending. But to this day, they will still tell you it was a cinematic masterpiece.
The movie wins lots of awards.
Tagsges to the safety of a School for the Blind, and in a small act of victory, lets her bird prisoners free into a slightly larger prison and finally gives the human children names after 5 or 6 years of life.
The monsters still exist, and nobody knows where this magical refuge is getting its food supply.
The audience is confused, and looks deep into themselves to search for any deeper meaning. Ten years from now, they will tell you it was a tale of moral dilemmas.
The movie will win lots of awards.
The only difference between the two movies?
In Gravity, we get beautiful outer space scenes. In Bird Box, we get mild animal cruelty, blindfolds, and a crappy boat.
Do you have thoughts on Bird Box? Do any of the theories out there really stick with you?
Drop them in the comments below.