Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Written By: Alfonso Cuarón, Jonás Cuarón
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 1 hr 31 min
Gravity is the reason I love going to the movies. Every once in a while you get to experience something really special. I dare say historic too. Gravity in my opinion is one of the few movies I’ve seen that justify the extra charges for 3D and IMAX. Technically, I’ve not seen anything like this before, and I believe it’s the closest most of us are going to get to the experience of being an astronaut. The camera slips beautifully between point of view shots, and external views of the astronauts trying to survive as satellite debris rips apart their only means of getting back to Earth. The effects are astonishing, and very detailed. The sound effects and mixing are also carefully thought out, and a great deal of respect is paid to the physics of space exploration.
This isn’t just a technical and visual exercise though. At its core there is a superb performance by Sandra Bullock as Dr Ryan Stone. Dr Stone’s story is one of survival, but also a refection of a painful past that tests her will to live. At times her performance is just heart breaking, and it’s certainly one of the best performances I’ve seen this year.
The feeling of isolation and danger experienced by the characters in this story is so well realized, it might be a little disconcerting to some viewers. If you made a strong connection to movies like Apollo 13, you’re likely going to enjoy this as well.
Best viewing format:
I saw this in regular 3D and it was amazing. I will be watching this again on a 3D IMAX screen before its run at the theater is over. It’s absolutely worth the extra ticket price in my opinion. Movies this special don’t come around all that often, and it’s just not going to be the same watching this at home. Not that that’s going to stop me buying this on Blu-ray when it becomes available!
Best element for me: << mild spoiler >>
It’s all good as far as I’m concerned. But I did also appreciate the humor injected into the story. The crew make it back to the space shuttle and part of the debris floating about is a model of Marvin the Martian. Nice!
Jon’s Two Pence:
It is a technical marvel but outside of the dangerous situation I wasn’t interested in the characters. The problems our astronauts face are truly sickening as even though you’d imagine having to handle some vertigo, the film really does unsettle the stomach with the spinning and not knowing which way is up! It’s pretty effective in making you feel the danger but I thought Bullock’s character didn’t need this sad back story and a constantly talking Clooney was fairly annoying in his smug Clooney way. The hazards become too many for too long though and by the time the film was nearing the end I was thinking enough was enough and the realism became just too strained. The rebirth scenes were too heavy-handed too. See it at the cinema or it won’t work half as well.