Cinematic Gravitas – A review of Gravity

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in Gravity, a movie about astronauts trying to survive a space disaster and return to Earth
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in Gravity, a movie about astronauts trying to survive a space disaster and return to Earth

Title: Gravity

Production Company: Warner Brothers

Run Time: 90 minutes

Rated: PG-13

Director: Alfonso Cuaron

Stars: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

5 stars for Gravity

Summary: As visually stunning as it is compellingly thrilling. You have never seen a movie like this before and it is well worth viewing it either in 3-D or IMAX as long as you don’t get motion sick..

In 1979, Ridley Scott reminded us, in Alien, that in space, no one can hear you scream. This is especially true if you’ve been cut off from communication with Mission Control.

In Gravity, a space shuttle crew finds this out first hand when a satellite from a foreign power starts a chain reaction of destruction which ends up heading their way. The resulting collisions develop into a debris field that cannot be avoided.

Mission commander Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is a bit of a rogue. Zipping around space with his jet pack, he oversees the work of the mission specialists until the crisis breaks out. At that point, he works diligently to try to save his crew.

The main thing that upsets him, though? He won’t get into the record books for the longest space walk.

Sandra Bullock is the mission specialist in charge of fixing the Hubble telescope. She’s just about done with it when the disaster strikes.

At this point, the movie shifts its focus from the lighthearted banter of working in space to the much more thrilling adventure of finding a way for the surviving members of the crew to return to this little blue ball of air and water on which we live.

Alfonso Cuaron has pulled out all the stops to create a believable picture set in space. I’m not how they did it, but the magic of Hollywood is noticeably at work here.

There are scenes which absolutely appear to have been shot in zero gravity. When Bullock’s Dr. Ryan Stone manages to get on board a space station, she strips out of her astronaut space suit and just floats for a moment as she catches her bearings.

Try as I might, I couldn’t see any wires, but she really appears to be floating in space. Along with droplets of water, pens, nuts and bolts and a variety of other things.

This is one of the most powerful and exciting movies I have seen in quite a while and what works so well is that they did it right.

Cuaron previously brought the third installment of the Harry Potter franchise to life on the big screen so he’s no stranger to handling scenes that are tough to shoot. This movie has no shortage of those, either.

It’s a nice homage to one of the greatest space rescue epics, Apollo 13, that Ed Harris is cast as the voice of mission control. But where that mission commander was at least able to work with the crew to devise the rescue plan, here the shuttle crew are completely cut off and on their own.

This movie is especially riveting and exciting in 3-D or IMAX, however if you have a weak stomach or get motion sick, I’d recommend staying away from those two presentation types. There are a number of very disorienting scenes.

But it’s that attention to detailing that makes this movie a must see. This isn’t really science fiction. What transpires is based on very real possibilities. Space can be a very dangerous place.

And that’s what makes Gravity a true experience rather than the fluff that we are so used to seeing at the multiplexes. This film gets a well deserved 5 out of 5 stars from me.

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