I remember when I first saw the cinema trailer to “Gravity”, which showed a frightening scene of an astronaut surrounded by debris and spinning frantically in space while still attached to a destroyed NASA space shuttle 372 miles above the Earth. That scene seemed to instantly grab the attention of the whole theater and made the audience feel just as frightened as Sandra Bullock’s character must have done while falling through the endless vastness of outer space.
Needless to say, I was instantly hooked along with the rest of the theater, and I couldn’t wait until the movie was released so that I could strap myself into my seat for 90 minutes of nail biting intensity, and see how Mexican film director Alfonso Cuarón went about realizing such a chilling premise for a space survival movie. Well, eventually “Gravity” did stretch its celestial wings across numerous screens (ultra, IMAX and regular), and the radical thrill ride which ensued certainly proved well worth the wait.
Experiencing her very first shuttle mission, medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) helps veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) on what is supposed to be a routine space mission. However, a Russian missile strike on a decommissioned satellite inadvertently releases a shower of debris into orbit which eventually engulfs and destroys the American’s space shuttle; hurtling Stone and Kowalski into space and leaving them stranded without a means to return home. They must then use what little resources they still have in order to stay alive, and avoid falling into the endless blackness of outer space.
If you were fortunate enough to see this movie in IMAX, or on another type of theater format then you experienced the very best way to see “Gravity”, a film that was well framed, well shot, and of exceptionally high viewing quality. In any case, the falling/floating into the depths of space sequences makes the film tense and suspenseful, and the movie should be lauded for the vividness of its CGI and the artful camera perspectives which manipulates our sense of direction, and creates an uneasy feeling of helplessness and solitude.
While the somewhat mundane character sketching of Bullock and Clooney doesn’t quite allow Gravity to reach the same resonance of absolute solitude as portrayed in such sci-fi classics as 2001 (1968) or Dark Star (1974), the director obviously decided to focus his main attention on creating a SFX entertainment thrill-ride, combined with stellar space visuals, and that’s what the movie certainly delivers in abundance.
Ultimately, Gravity is all about survival, beating impossible odds and dealing with unforgiving environments, and the movie’s awe-inspiring execution make you get behind Stone one hundred percent, and want to see her pull through and survive somehow. In other words, Gravity is a thrilling movie-going experience, and after finishing watching it you will be thankful to be able to feel the solid ground beneath your feet.
I give “Gravity” 2 and a half star out of 4.