Popcorn Bowl 15 – Gravity

After August finally something more contemporary in my movie reviews. The bloggers I follow make me feel slightly guilty for not being more regular about my movie reviews and for not covering titles still in the cinema. Well, here’s a movie you can still watch in the cinemas, and I promise to be really quick about movies I’m eagerly anticipating (Hunger Games, Hobbit, 12 Years a Slave…).

Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone – tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. (Imdb)

I was kind of ambivalent about the premise of Gravity – I love Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, but a movie set in space? The trailer left me cold, truth be told, so the movie was not even on my radar. It was on my siblings’ that much more; so much, in fact, they looked up the screening time and planned the evening accordingly. Wonder of wonders, usually it’s me proposing a visit to the cinema. They persuaded me to give the movie a chance and I’m happy I gave in. It was pathetic how easily they got me out of the apartment, really.

We watched Gravity in 3D – a brilliant choice on my sister’s part. If there’s a movie out that utilises the technique at this level I’d be amazed. The empty, almost sterile scenes of the dark space and the space stations make it easier to see 3D objects, floating in space look wonderfully graceful and realistic, and I was just fascinated with flames, and drops of perspiration, or tears floating in the air. Not to mention the constant switches in perspective that make us experience the emptiness and loneliness of space first hand. These scenes reminded me of brilliant movie sequences in games – my siblings immediately remarked on that and expressed a wish to see more movies that would utilise that.

Watching Gravity I was continually amazed at what one can to do with some clever, inspired camerawork. I enjoyed every single minute of it. I did not mind that some things are clearly far-fetched and even scientifically wrong; I was too involved with the story, flinching at every piece of shrapnel shooting by at breakneck speed. Can I admit I was scared? 3D really makes it feel realistic, in your face even. The utter silence of space, the claustrophobia even bring home how utterly fragile astronauts are out there. This realistic portrayal gave me goose bumps. It also brought to mind the tagline from Alien (1979): “In space, no one can hear you scream.” Isn’t that chilling, especially when you see this same scenario play out? No help forthcoming, not even radio contact with Earth – you truly feel for poor Ryan Stone – the protagonist. At the end of the movie, the entire hall held their breath, some even exclaiming out loud their support for her.

The story certainly did not disappoint despite the somewhat dodgy science and weak dialogue at times. Though I wish we did not have the obligatory sob story – a woman losing her child and not grieving properly is such a cliché. I feel that took something from the character who is a strong woman through and through, albeit emotionally fragile. I also doubt the psychologists would have allowed her to go up there with her unresolved issues. Still, I liked the movie and really rooted for Ryan to reach Earth safely. I also grieved for all the lost lives. The given culprits for the catastrophe made me chuckle – it’s such a cliché the Russians get the blame. Well, there’re only so many suspects with spying satellites, so it’s just funny.

To sum up – go and see the movie. You won’t be disappointed. The visuals are stunning, as is expected. Acting too is wonderful. I sincerely hope the movie will make you more interested in space programmes and new discoveries in science.  And I must say; I love how our beloved Earth appears to an astronaut; it’s a miracle of life in a cold, cold space.

Web links and other reviews I read:

 

 

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