Director: Alfonso Cuarón
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
In the interest of full disclosure and to make sure that people fully understand my take on this movie, I need to mention that I saw the 2D version of this film, not the 3D version. I’ll explain in a moment why that’s important.
“Gravity” is a disaster film that follows one person for most of the movie. Sandra Bullock plays Ryan Stone, a medical engineer and rookie astronaut sent into space to install a new instrument to a satellite. When a satellite is destroyed, the debris sets off a chain reaction the showers their orbit with high-velocity debris, severely damaging their shuttle and equipment, leaving one person dead, and Ryan and veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) stranded. Thus begins a desperate attempt to try to return to Earth safely as everything seems to go wrong.
To start, the cinematography is brilliant. But this is also why I wanted to mention that I didn’t see the 3D version. Right from an opening shot of a loose screw floating towards the screen, it is very obvious that this film is intended to be watched in 3D, but it can be distracting when watching it in 2D. Now, even in 2D, this film is stunning, even dizzying, so I can imagine that motion sickness is a major problem with the 3D film. But it can actually feel like you’re floating in a zero gravity environment with the combination of cinematography and visual effects.
As for the acting, the fact that Sandra Bullock is alone on screen for most of the movie is a difficult task, and one that she takes on and nails amazingly well. It feels like we’re watching a rookie astronaut desperate to get back to Earth. And she’s fantastic. It’s honestly stunning that it’s taken this long for her to get this meaty a role in this strong a film.
Admittedly, it’s not completely perfect, mostly when you look at the technical aspects. There are some odd things, such as the way Sandra Bullock’s hair doesn’t float quite right, or the fact that the space stations would not be orbiting that close together. That’s the science geek in me talking, but I’m sure that someone who knows more about this could nitpick it for you. Also, by the end, the story disasters get a little excessive. In a story where everything that can go wrong does, it can start to get annoying and a little unbelievable, and we want to say, “We get the point already!” Oddly, it was another Sandra Bullock movie, Speed, that had this problem as well.
However, what we get is still an intense film, with great visual effects, cinematography, and incredible acting. This is an awesome achievement. It’s a shame that this film will likely get labeled by some people as “science fiction” rather than “drama.” This is a great film that should be seen by everyone.
I also want to add that, to add a new dimension to this movie, a short film, Aningaaq, has been released and is available to watch online at the link. It depicts the other side of the radio conversation that Ryan Stone has one point during the movie.
“Gravity” earns 4.5 out of 5 stars.