Science Fiction is somewhat of a broad term. On one end of the spectrum, there are films like Star Trek that stretch the possibility of what is possible with space and technology. In the middle, you have your 2001: A Space Odyssey’s that are very interesting and truer to space than other films. On the other end of this spectrum, are the films that emulate the reality of spacial conditions and still grab our attention with their amazing imagery and story. Gravity would fall into that last category. I dare say that it might be the most realistic and best film about space that I have ever seen.
The film opens with a single-shot scene that lasts for over ten minutes. We get text describing the conditions in space, ultimately ending with the quote “Life in space is impossible”. The next thing we see is a gorgeous shot of planet Earth. As the Earth slowly spins, the shuttle Explorer comes into view. Astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is seen jetting around in a NASA Jetpack created for space, as Engineer Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is out fixing part of the shuttle. The two admire the view and all seems well, until a report from Houston comes in that a Russian Satellite was destroyed and the debris field is picking up speed and headed their way in an orbit around Earth. Upon the debris field striking Explorer, Dr. Stone is flung into the depths of space and must do everything in her power to make it back to Explorer to try to find a way home.
I apologize for the brief synopsis, but that is all I am willing to say about the film as far as the plot goes. The trailer will show you as much as I’ve said and that’s all you should know when you go into Gravity. Many friends of mine have laughed and poked fun at Gravity for its trailer and premise and I get extremely mad and defensive when that happens. The movie is 90 minutes long and it has a cool plot that unfolds very well. It’s not just a film about Sandra Bullock floating around in space. I can’t spoil anything more but I’m asking you to take my word on this. Gravity is phenomenal, plain and simple.
There are many breathtaking moments in Gravity and that speaks words about the dedication that Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Tree of Life, To The Wonder, Children of Men) put into this film. The stunning shots of The Earth and the stars are captivating and awe-inspiring. Combine that with the incredible direction of Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien) provide for one of the most visually stunning movies of the year. The opening shot is 14 minutes long and the anti-gravity is amazing. The ability to simulate all of that took extreme effort and the decision to extend the film’s production a year made a huge difference. You will be amazed by what you see, especially if you see it in IMAX 3D.
While George Clooney does add a fun and charming bit to the movie, it’s Sandra Bullock who steals the show. I know that she won Best Actress for The Blind Side, but she is much, much better in this film. Her range of emotions and endurance were stupendous. As she drifted and spun deeper into space, she made you feel everything that she did. Her will to survive brings out a remarkable side to her character and you find yourself getting attached to her in only an hour-and-a-half. The work she does here is nothing short of great and I foresee her receiving a nomination for her wonderful work.
For such a short film with a simpler plot, it’s not too hard to see why people would dismiss the film. However, it’s what the actors and the film do in that short time that make Gravity so good. The technology used in this film is groundbreaking and I’m going to bet that most big-budget directors will be trying to create a film like Gravity in the near future. Not only did Alfonso Cuaron make it look easy, but he also made it look incredible. The look of the film is cleverly and masterfully edited and it will have you wanting to go into space to see the same kind of view in real life. Gravity is simply the best looking film that I’ve seen all year.
The thing that I really appreciated about this film is how accurate it is to space. Most films revert to having lasers make noise in space and that’s just not true. Ridley Soctt clearly stated that “In space, no one can hear you scream”. The only sounds in Gravity come from the astronaut’s microphones and the film’s score. Other than that, the movie is silent. There were more than a few moments where the film built up sound and then in a single moment, quickly turned to dead silent. It was almost an eerie silence, as the entire theater was silent but there was something happening on the screen. All the information that the astronauts provide you with is true and we get to see how different things actually act when they’re in zero gravity and aren’t provided oxygen.
As you may have noticed, I loved Gravity a whole hell-of-a-lot. I struggled to find something that I didn’t like about this film. In the end, I didn’t find anything that I would have changed or that I didn’t enjoy. This is without a doubt, the best film about space that I have ever seen and that I’m aware of. Alfonso Cuaron has another solid film to add to his resume and that film will be receiving quite a few nominations later this year. Forget what the uniformed people say about Gravity. You need to see it and you need to see it now (preferably in IMAX 3D)! It’s definitely one of the year’s best films and it’s one that is going to go down in history. So, why not be a part of that history?