Gravity – Movie Review
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Writers: Alfonso Cuarón, Jonás Cuarón
Stars: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Paul Sharma (voice), Ed Harris (voice), Amy Warren (voice)
3D Science Fiction Thriller
In space, no one can hear you scream.
Wait, wrong movie.
Gravity is a movie about fear. And loneliness. About reaching deep inside yourself for courage in the face of adversity. Then reaching down again and again, even after you’ve lost hope.
Those who remember the space shuttle Challenger know how easy it is for something to go horribly, terribly wrong in space. That was over in seconds–what if things start to go wrong and you need to figure out how to get back to Earth?
In real life (and the movie), the Apollo 13 mission showed us human ingenuity on Earth solving problems in space. In Gravity, they’ve upped the stakes and the tension by cutting down on communication with Mission Control, leaving the astronauts to figure things out on their own. Anything you could ever imagine might go wrong in space does, as Gravity strives to complicate things.
Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical doctor with a bare six months of training to be a Mission Specialist on the shuttle Explorer, adding new technology to the Hubble Space Telescope. Mission Commander Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is a NASA veteran, calm under pressure–a man with a plan.
This begins ninety minutes comprised of nervous Doctor Stone and confident Commander Kowalski in zero-g, in and around objects in space, trying to figure out the next step in the problem chain. Sandra Bullock gives an incredible nuanced performance, conveying terror, despair, and quiet conviction, George Clooney plays a guy who’s been there, done that and has a story for every occasion. Most of the rest of the cast is just voices (has Ed Harris always worked for Mission Control?), helping to stress the emptiness and loneliness of space.
The failure here is on the part of the script. In order to keep the tension up, too many coincidences were introduced, dropping the believability. This movie had the potential to be amazing, for me, it ended up simply average due to the plot issues. If you’re a space science geek, you’re going to have even more issues, as the science is improbable at best and impossible at worst.
In contrast, the radio and communication protocols seemed effortless and appropriate. The space sequences are incredibly, unbelievably well done and visually stunning–they use a variety of techniques to simulate weightlessness, and are incredibly successful. Earth as seen from space is truly inspiring, and it’s used to great effect, thanks to the fabulous cinematography.
And you get to see the macarena. In space.
This is a must see for fans of Bullock and/or Clooney and anyone who dreams of going into space.