I just finished watching the film Gravity (opened October 3 in theaters nationwide). First of all, whoa. This film definitely lives up to the hype. A spectacular display of chaos in space with suspenseful moments that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Or in my case, frequently squirming in my seat.
You probably know the concept behind the movie. Sandra Bullock and (one of my cinematic dream husbands) George Clooney are the last survivors of a catastrophic event that happens during a space mission. I appreciate that Warner Brothers left some of the best parts out of the trailer of the film. There are moments that happen that are completely unexpected.
Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, an engineer on her first space mission, and Clooney plays Matt Kowalski, a veteran astronaut on his final mission. They are the only two people you see in the film (well, alive…) but truthfully it is Bullock who carries the weight of the film.
If you’ve seen the trailers, you know something bad is going to happen. You just don’t know what “it” is. So when “it” happens you know it’s only going to end well for Stone and Kowalski.
What you don’t know going into the film is that there are several “its” in this film. I counted (**SPOILER**) 6 “its” during the film. I won’t spell them out here, but needless to say, “it” hits the fan more times that you would expect. And each time the stakes get bigger and the outcome becomes bleaker.
Bullock’s character sums it up perfectly: “I hate space.”
When I first saw the trailer I was excited to see the film. But what really sealed the deal for me was the director. Alfonso Cuaron is a brilliant Mexican director who is best known for directing Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Children of Men. Children of Men is one of my favorite films of all time, and like many film fanatics and critics I considered Azkaban to be the most artistically and cinematically brilliant of the Potter films. Simply put, Cuaron is on my short list of directors whose work I will follow anywhere.
If you have seen Children of Men then you know Cuaron knows how to pull the audience in with his genius use of POV shots. Remember the car chase scene in that film? Beyond amazing (if you are not familiar with that scene or any Cuaron film, this clip is a great intro to the man’s genius!). Gravity incorporates a lot of POV shots that will make you dizzy with fear and anxiety. The use of sound, particularly the uncontrollable breathing of Bullock’s character, will have your heart pounding and anxiously wondering how they will get out of this mess.
My only criticism of the film is that the visual effects surpass the acting. With no disrespect to Bullock or Clooney, we are there to see the chaos in space and see the special effects. The acting simply has to take a back seat.
Overall, this was an incredibly enjoyable film. It displays some of the best space photography and special effects ever seen on screen. I’ll go ahead and predict this film will get Oscar nominations for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, Best Editing and Best Screenplay. It is available to view in 2D and 3D and really needs to be viewed in a theater. I saw it in 2D and don’t think the film needs to be seen in 3D in order to be enjoyed. Fortunately the nature of the film doesn’t mean objects are gratuitously thrown at the screen for the 3D effect (I hate when that happens!). However, I DO think this film is worth watching on IMAX. So if you have that option, I would give that a chance. No matter which format you choose, Gravity is a wild ride through space that is worth seeing.