I’ve got to admit, when I saw the trailer for Alfonso Cuarón’s new movie, Gravity, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But let me assure you, for a movie that only features two actors, Gravity has plenty to offer. Mission specialist Dr. Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock and veteran astronaut Matthew Kowalski, played by George Clooney are thrust into an impossible situation when they must survive alone in space. Unable to contact mission control, the pair must use their training, wits, and a good bit of luck to survive the perils of space. From stunning 3-D Graphics, to compelling performances, Cuarón’s Gravity covers all the bases for a great suspense film.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Cuarón acknowledged that since he was seven, he has always been intrigued by space, saying, “Space fascinated me because I’m from the generation that saw Neil Armstrong walk on the moon live on TV.” The Director also went on to highlight how he saw TV and space come together opening his mind, “Lost in Space was one of my favorite shows on TV back then.” I believe he used of his love for Lost in Space to inspire the story of Gravity. I can see elements of the TV series in Gravity, and Cuarón built on it to make an outstanding movie.
As the movie begins, the crew of the Explorer is performing repairs on the Hubble Telescope in what seems to be a non-threatening procedure. But before the repairs are complete, mission control warns the astronauts of impending danger headed their way. After a myriad of unfortunate circumstances, including a complete loss of communication with anyone on earth, our protagonists are stranded in the challenging wilderness of space with nothing more than a thruster chair with a diminishing supply, the savvy of Kowalski, and the quick thinking of Dr. Stone. Amidst all the dangers our characters face, we learn who they are and what brought them to this mission. Gravity is able to keep us on the edge our seats wondering what dangers are around the corner, and how these astronauts will ultimately overcome them.
I chose to watch Gravity in 3-D and for me, watching Bullock and Clooney float in and around a spaceship in 3-D made me feel like I was joining them on their mission. The way that we see Bullock “swimming” through the hull of the ship, Clooney thrusting his chair through space, obstacles hurling around the planet’s orbit or even the breath-taking views of our Earth and glimpses of the Sun are all examples of how Gravity uses special effects to wow audiences. I believe some 3-D movies over do it and force the technology down our throats by adding unnecessary scenes. But these movies are forgetting the only goal of 3-D; make it realistic. Every 3-D scene in Gravity was purposeful and brought a feeling of weightlessness to the environment our characters traverse. The effects in this movie give us a realistic view of astronauts in space, but those effects do not dominate the story. I would recommend everyone watch Gravity in 3-D, just as I did.
In contrast to the overwhelming odds stacked against the astronauts, the always charming Clooney masterfully keeps us believing there is a chance for survival by remaining cool and collected. He comes across confidently, calming the audience, giving us a voice to believe in. He is able to use his experience as he and Bullock’s character fight against ever-present dangers. Stone, being her first mission in space, doesn’t have as much knowledge as Kowalski, but she is able to recall all the information from her training to try to find a way home. Bullock performs exceptionally as Dr. Stone, showing us how uncomfortable a first-time astronaut would react to disaster in space. And after things go awry, we see the growth in her character, now relying on her instincts and will to live, giving her the best chance to survive. Even though there are only two actors, those two actors fill the screen in a way that will impress you from the opening scene to the ending credits.
In my opinion, Cuarón tells an epic story of survival by displaying basic human instincts proving to us, when all odds are stacked against us, we can find a way to keep going. The way Gravity utilizes special effects places us in the situation is enough to make any action-seeker salivate. Additionally, Bullock and Clooney, steal the stage with their authentic depiction of human survival in the midst of chaos. Gravity is the best movie I’ve seen this year and I recommend you to check it out.