Dee Discusses: Gravity

Posted: November 20, 2013 by Dee in Dee, General Media, Movies, New Movies, Reviews
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SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW (OBVIOUSLY)

I heard this movie was supposed to be spectacular, although I admit I didn’t see much about it in trailers or interviews. I had two of my favorite actors in it, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, and I love Alfonso Cuarón. I loved both Y Tu Mamá También and Children of Men. I knew it took place in space and that is basically it. RottenTomatoes still has it at 97%, and I think that number is completely warranted. This movie is amazing. It’s going to be hard to put into words, but I’m going to try. I highly recommend IMAX 3D, but I realize by  now that it’s probably out of the IMAX. Still, try to see it in 3D at least. It’s clearly designed to be viewed that way.

Gravity is about Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a Mission Specialist scientist who is trying out these new prototypes on a space station. She’s been out there for a little while and this is her first go. She’s being overseen by veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), who mentions that this is his last rodeo, so you already know where that is headed. Still, he’s an expert and he really loves space, he sees the grandiose beauty around them and tries to convince Ryan of the same. Something goes terribly wrong when a Russian missile strike on a bad satellite causes a chain reaction of explosions and debris is flying at them. Right away their third companion, who doesn’t get any real definition, is killed. Ryan waited just a little too long trying to fix the Hubble Station Telescope, and she is cut off from her companions. She’s floating in space with no hope at first, and her suit is running out of oxygen. She’s trying to get people on her communicator but nothing is going through due to interference. The movie does an excellent job of showing just how terrifying and mind numbing this would be. I’m shocked she didn’t vomit, since she was tossed around so hard by the debris.

Luckily Matt comes to save her. Hero! He attaches himself to her and uses these little engine boosters on his feet to pull them toward the nearest station. The problem is he knows in about ninety minutes the debris is coming again, and her oxygen is still running out. Matt tries to talk her down into calm as they go. They talk about themselves and Ryan reveals her daughter died in a random accident, and it’s haunted her for a long time. Matt says that one of these shuttles in the nearby system can move them to the NEXT one, since it’s dead and destroyed. At this point though the two of them get flung, and he realizes that he has to cut himself from her. He sacrifices his life for hers, floating away into space, although she cries and begs him not to go. She swears she’ll come back for him, and he talks her through the last struggle into the space station. Once inside she realizes he’s gone for good, and then the shuttle isn’t working. Seriously she can’t get a break.

For a moment, Ryan loses hope entirely. She accepts she can’t survive this, and she lets herself fade away. Unexpectedly, Matt shows up. Obviously it can’t be him, since he opens the door and she doesn’t die immediately from space. Instead he talks her into not giving up and gives her the strength to fight again. She uses landing rockets to propel her from there. Unfortunately OF COURSE the next station is down too, so she has to just crash land herself onto the ground. She’s aware that this might kill her just from the landing alone, since it’s setting on fire around her. But she makes it … only to almost drown when she crashes into the ocean. I joked to my mother at this point that next she’ll have to fight a shark and then a bear and get kidnapped by spies or something equally ridiculous. This woman just can’t have anything go for her. She does manage to survive and touches down on ground, relieved and waiting for a pick up. And that’s the movie.

There’s something very simple about this film and it works because of the atmosphere and excellent acting. It’s fairly direct: everything goes wrong. She manages to survive by fighting her way every inch to Earth. There’s only two people in the film, and I thought that would be a problem, but instead it is perfect. Sandra Bullock is completely alone for most of this film and does an extraordinary job. Ryan is far from flawless, she is tough and brilliant, but she does give up and she is terrified through the whole thing. I know people have pointed out that it’s not exactly accurate. I can’t say that I care? I get why other people would care, especially since the Director/writers said they tried to be accurate. But I’m okay with a few things being messed up for creative license. I can easily say I didn’t think to myself oh this is absolutely true. It’s emotionally resonating, that’s all I needed. And it’s simply gorgeous. The space can be both horrifyingly bleak and absolutely beautiful at the same time. I’ve never seen anything quite like this movie. It should have been simplistic and boring, but it was moving and tense. I knew that she wasn’t going to die, but I still feared for her.

I’m trying to come up with some criticisms, and I’ll be honest: I don’t have any. Outside of the inaccuracies, the ones I don’t really know, I think this movie was almost flawless. It’s tense, well crafted, well acted, and the special effects are exceptional. Maybe the only criticism is that I’m not sure if I’d want to watch it again? I might want to buy it just so I can see all the extras, because I am fascinated to see what went into making it and the behind the scenes. I saw it once and it felt perfect, and I’m not sure if I’d get the same experience at home. That being said … I probably will want it. Because someone I know might not have seen it and then I can share it. Gravity is amazing. I’d rate it as one of the best movies of the year, and I will not be shocked if it’s nominated for several Oscars.

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