Release Date: October 4, 2013
Cast: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (No, seriously, they credit no one else.)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Studio: Esperanto Flimoj, Heyday Films
Distributor: Warner Bros.
With all the hype I’ve been seeing about Gravity, going into the film, I was already uncertain if I was going to like it at all. Usually I’m not the sort of person who really gets into these sorts of movies – the ones that seem to try almost too hard to tell some dramatic story with flashy imagery and a stellar soundtrack. Also: I just have my doubts about Sandra Bullock in general. I know she’s a fantastic actress but after Miss Congeniality I just don’t remember really many of her movies other than the Blindside, obviously. That was a great movie and she was great in that.
Anyway, the point is that I went into this movie just a little bit of skepticism.
But Gravity really won me over. I don’t know if it was the vivid in-space imagery or George Clooney’s debonair Lt. Matt Kowalsky but I got hooked pretty early on. I mean, once I got over the fact that Ryan (Sandra Bullock) was just going to keep heavy breathing all the time and the baby in our theatre was going to keep on screeching, the only two things that really annoyed me went away. I could actually really enjoy the gravity (see what I did there?) of the film itself.
And let me tell you, this is one beautiful movie.
The space scenes are just phenomenal and one of the things that makes it better is just how much Matt appreciates it. You’ve got Ryan’s character whose just up there but then you have Matt who can really appreciate it. Most of us can only imagine ever going into space and Gravity really does become probably the closest most people will ever hope to get.
They embrace that concept, I think, and really do their best to make the most of it. When Ryan’s tether breaks and she goes careening off into space the camera does, too. It’s impossible to orientate yourself at first because it really makes you feel like you’re also spinning. Though there aren’t many of those moments so don’t worry so hopefully you won’t get too nauseous. They even made the interesting choice at times to switch into a first person perspective that almost felt like playing a first person shooter. There were moments where I was almost having Dead Space flashbacks! But it worked. I think sometimes when movies do that it’s gimmicky or even tacky but the first person perspective added to the audience’s illusion that at times they were the ones in space, they were the ones that were trying to survive.
One of the best things they did was play around with sound and their musical ques. I think we all know by this point that there is no sound in space. (And if you don’t know this the movie very helpfully tells you this at the very beginning in a very loud sequence that’s a bit out of place.) Very rarely do science fiction movies ever really appreciate the sort of experience they can give an audience simply by giving a nod to that simple fact. JJ Abrams did a fantastic job of it in Star Trek (2009) during the scene where Kirk, Sulu, and the redshirt dive through space to the Narada platform. But Gravity really nailed it, I think. The movie utilized an insanely beautiful soundtrack to offset moments where other science fiction films would have relied on massive explosions and other sound effects. They didn’t make space soundless; they made it an instrumental void, supplementing the silence with something more. It’s almost a little disorienting watching certain things happen in the background without hearing them like you would expect.
And I think the story itself – as unrealistic as it probably is in real life – was actually very good. It’s not really an action film or any sort of high-paced thriller. Gravity is a story about individuals, perseverance, and the human spirit. There are plenty of insane moments where you will literally be white knuckled holding on to the edge of your seat wondering what’s coming next. But there are also a lot of other moments where you really get a chance to really just take a moment, step back, and look at the raw emotion that Sandra Bullock so fantastically displays.
Another thing to note is just how insane making this movie must have been. You can find plenty of articles online about the rigorous filming and all the neat little tricks they had to come up with to actually make a movie in space work. So I won’t go into it too much. But I will applaud the cast and the crew for making such a realistic in-space film. I was genuinely impressed and watching Ryan zip through the ISS in zero gravity reminded me a lot of watching Chris Hadfield’s vides on YouTube.
Gravity is a stunningly beautiful film that really hits all the right notes. At no point was I ever bored and I wondered all the way through just what was going to happen next.
So, while I really enjoyed the movie, I do need to ask this: how the hell did Sandra Bullock’s character ever get up into space? Like, seriously. She’s hopeless. She couldn’t even pass all of her training simulations – she admitted that! Even if she did create whatever prototype she was trying to install and fix on the satellite they were working on I’m pretty sure they would have just had her train someone else how to do it and kept her on the ground in Houston.
Go watch Gravity and explain this to me, someone!
Gravity is one of 2013’s absolute must-see films if just for the stunning cinematography. I think Sandra Bullock did a very good job of carrying the film and though the heavy breathing did get really annoying after a while I admit that I would have probably been reacting exactly the same way. Just be prepared at times to be moved to tears. I don’t cry often but when I do it’s for a reason. There were just some absolutely heartbreaking moments in this movie. And once you come to terms with your emotions you will more than enjoy the stunning views from space and the way the movie really makes you feel like what you’re watching and experience is entirely in zero gravity. I can only hope Ender’s Game pulls off something half as good for the Battle Room.