“Gravity”: an epic, atmospheric thrill ride


Photo courtesy of snowflakes-88.blogspot.com

Dr. Stone (Bullock) and Kowalski (Clooney) work on the Hubble telescope.

Reynaldo Garcia, TSV Staff Writer

Imagine being an astronaut. It’s your first tour of duty in the vastness of space. And you’re working on repairs. But on the horizon, you can see movement. A cloud of debris is heading your way. Houston, we have a problem.

The film stars Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side”) and George Clooney (“Oceans…” trilogy). In fact, they’re the only actors who appear physically in the film. Masterfully directed by Alfonso Cuaron, the film follows newbie astronaut/bio-medical engineer Ryan Stone (Bullock) and veteran Matt Kowalski (Clooney), who’s on his last mission in space, as they’re detached from their spaceship due to a collision from debris.

Gravity truly sets a precedent for film. There never was a film that captures the feeling like you’re actually there. The movie is immersive and mesmerizing, so much that you can feel (or not!) the weightlessness of space. You feel like you’re another astronaut accompanying Stone and Kowalski on their harrowing adventure through the perils of space. Through and through the movie plays like a simulator ride, the kind that are commonly found in movie studio theme parks.

Both Bullock and Clooney display a strong chemistry, even though their characters are polar opposites. Kowalski’s banter with the anti-social Stone couldn’t have been more affable.

The graphics are top-notch. There is no noticeable cut between the actor’s head and the CGI body. The visuals are beautiful to take in. Whether it’s just the darkness of space, or shots of our beautiful Earth, the visuals are gorgeous. The 3D effects are seamless. They don’t pander to the audience. Since there is no sound in space, Cuaron masterfully took advantage of this. During explosion scenes, there is no sound. You can see the big explosions but all you hear is nada. The only sounds you’ll hear is Stone’s heavy breathing or the radio talk from command or between Stone and Kowalski. Cuaron also incorporates sound effects that reach a crescendo during key moments and music that fits the mood of the scenes. Cuaron’s expert directing creates the immersive atmosphere of the movie.

Another area that adds to powerful environment is Cuaron’s decision to change the point of view on occasions. Sometimes the point of view changes to that of Stone. You can see the Earth appear and disappear and appear again as you wildly spin out of control. Or hear her labored breathing and see the condensation form on her helmet.

Gravity is a movie that needs to be experienced in theaters, especially on whatever max 3D there is available. It is a beautiful, atmospheric movie that could possibly change how movies are made in the future. Gravity has brought an awe and amazing experience to theaters.