When I was a wee boy I always wanted to be an astronaut. The idea of strapping myself to a massive rocket, leaving earth, floating around space, going home and getting paid for it sounded brilliant. However, after watching Gravity I have decided I am quite happy on earth. Space is s a beautiful and infinitely scary place.
Gravity is the brainchild of Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón who brought us films such as Children of Men and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (the best film in the series). If you haven’t seen the trailers the film is about two astronauts having to survive in space after a spacewalk goes wrong. Basic plot, basic idea, minimal characters and on paper not really that groundbreaking. Instead this film is all about the effects and the visual.
The film stars Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone who is on her first space mission and George Clooney as Lieutenant Matt Kowalski who is on his last space mission. Overall however this is very much the story of Ryan and her fight of survival. Bullock does a magnificent job in her portrayal and I would not be surprised to see her pick up at least an Oscar nod during awards season. Clooney adds some lightheartedness to the film keeping the story flowing but also allowing the audience to catch their breath and have a laugh before being thrown back into seriousness.
The film opens with the statement that in space there is no sound. Then there is perhaps the most beautiful shot I have ever seen on the cinema screen. A breathtaking view of earth the camera then floats around to meet the characters and twists and turns about to really drive home the point that in space there is no up or down. This opening shot also quickly establishes that the film is a mixture of live action performances but also CGI effects seamlessly blended into each other. At no point in the film was I taken out of it due to bad CGI, which for a movie with that much of CGI going on is a tremendous feat. At some point the camera even shifts from a third person perspective into the helmet
Even though the movie goes out its way to tell the viewer that sound doesn’t exist in space the sound in the film is on par with the visuals. In the opening scene we are treated to radio chatter from ‘Houston’ which helps to establish the characters, relevant backstory and of course the ‘problem’. This friendly chatter seems extremely naturalistic and helps make the mood shift from happy spacewalk to a serious fight for your life even more intense. I thought one of the most intense parts of the film was when ‘Houston’ tells them to abandon their mission and get out of there. The soundtrack does a brilliant job of creating atmosphere even during the action scenes. I think that the decision to be unable to hear the crashing and explosions of various space components helps to create a strange amount of extra intensity.
This is a film that demands to be watched on the biggest screen possible. You have to watch this at the cinema and you have to watch it in 3D. Simple as that. This film is just incredibly breathtaking on so many levels everything about it is awe inspiring and it makes you want to see it again and again. Even James Cameron has said this film in the best space film ever and I can’t disagree. You should defiantly go see this film is you like cinema. It has something for everyone.