‘Gravity’ offers window on life in space

Posted March 20, 2014


As a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” from 1968, I was pleased to find a space movie I found comparable. “Gravity” is a visual marvel in the same realm as “2001: A Space Odyssey” with a different plot and purpose.

The minimalistic movie is a tale of survival consisting of astounding cinematography and on-point sound effects. “Gravity” has the most realistic space scenery and I recommend/plan to watch it again in IMAX 3-D, because the impact it had in standard 3-D format was already phenomenal.

Mexican director Alfonoso Cuarón Orozco, known for “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004), “Paris Je T’aime” (2006), and “Children of Men” (2006) to name a few, has been nominated for three academy wards. Cuarón’s strong passions for space and childhood dreams of being an astronaut are apparent throughout the well-directed film.

“Gravity” is scripted by Cuarón and his son Jonas and tells the tale of Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone and George Clooney as Matt Kowalski, who initially are on a mission to repair the Hubble Telescope.

After briefly getting to know the only two characters that are formerly introduced in the entire film, unexpected debris rapidly destroys the telescope. The sole mission of this expedition then changes to Ryan and Matt simply getting out alive. The impressive opening shots exhibit space and the view of Earth in a distinctive and realistic manner.

After witnessing what happens to their space shuttle and the rest of the crew as a result of the debris, I was on the edge on my seat and biting my nails hoping Kowalski and Ryan could find a way to make it. Through a series of unfortunate events, Kowalski and Ryan assist each other in attempts to make it out alive but, with oxygen running low and low compressed air, the two face an uncountable amount of issues. Every time I started to build up hope, Cuarón would throw in a plot twist.

A majority of the movie is Sandra Bullock (Ryan), a one-woman show in extreme isolation, and her acting is even more astounding than usual. Her physical performance makes every moment of the film so believable, her turns and movements at zero gravity and her emotional mindset enables the film to be minimalistic. I must say, I am not usually a fan of these limited character films because often times they seem redundant or just boring; but this one is executed in a manner that had my undivided attention throughout.

After the first round of deadly debris makes way, Kowalski warns Ryan to set her watch for 90 minutes to keep track of the next time the debris will make way around the Earth while destroying everything in its path. We witness a few rounds of deadly debris each affecting the protagonist in different scenarios yet never seeming repetitive.

As I learned the unconventional story of this heroine, I began to sympathize even more so.

Typically, you have your hero with her family, loved ones or support system, but not for Dr. Ryan Stone. Eventually, her story is revealed and we learn that the only person close to her or relevant in her life has passed away and that later becomes her hope and motivation for survival.

Another aspect of the film I really admired was the choice of sound effects. Two of the artists, sound designer and supervising sound editor Glenn Freemantle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) and sound re-recording mixer Skip Levsay, a frequent Coen brother collaborator used techniques to bring the film to life.

The sounds effects really portrayed the characters basic functions (often times hearing Dr.Ryan Stone’s breath and heart beat) and the objects they touched. Most admirably there was often silence. Whatever the actors did not touch directly has no sound. Gravity did not bombard me with unnecessary loud sound effects because the visuals were powerful enough.

Aside from the entertaining plot, spectacular acting and cinematic experience, this film was an educational experience. This film provided a window into the world of zero gravity and the events that occur. The overall cinematic experience this film provides is truly one of a kind. If you want to feel as though you have traveled to space, and witnessed an eventful, inspiring and suspenseful story while there, I highly recommend this film.

  • Gravity
  • Released originally in October 2013, but re-released on Jan. 17, and in IMAX 3-D on Jan. 31, 2014.
  • Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
  • Written By: Alfonso Cuarón and Jonas Cuarón
  • Cast: Sandra Bullock & George Clooney
  • Currently Playing: AMC Aventura, AMC Sunset Place,