Posted by: ckckred | October 16, 2013

Gravity

GRAVITY

If there is another movie in 2013 that is about half as enthralling as Gravity, then we are in for a store of a year.  Gravity, the newest film from Alfonso Cuaron, the director of the overlooked masterpiece Children of Men, is a grave yet dazzling look at the world above us, exciting and intoxicating while terrifying and real.  Much like Children of Men, Gravity is about its characters struggling with both external and internal issues, trying to accept themselves.  Cuaron told Children of Men in an apocalyptic landscape that had hints of post-9/11 fear and hysteria; with Gravity, he puts his creations in space, where their courage and faith is tested.

Gravity, boiled down, is the experience of Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a rookie astronaut who is sent to space with experienced veteran Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) to repair the Hubble Telescope.  Matt is fun-loving and friendly (he continuously listens to music through a radio) and is also on his final expedition in space.  Ryan, in contrast, is nervous and frightened.  A former hospital medic, Ryan feels out of place in space, anxiously repairing the ship with Matt helping her out in the opening scene.

But calamity goes awry and morphs into chaos as a series of debris from a Russian satellite goes through orbit.  The wreckage, initially put off by Huston as a minor distraction, proves to be lethal as it destroys the shuttle and Hubble.  Ryan, who attempts to rush into the ship, is thrown off-course into the depths of space, hurtling away from all sight.

To discuss more about the plot would be a great disservice to my readers, as viewers should enter feeling as nerve-wracked as the characters, but any preconceived notions that Gravity is about two people stranded in space is quickly put away.  Cuaron instead turns to film into a real-life horror story of survival, much like movies such as 127 Hours or Cast Away.  Those pictures, while featured strong performance, were hindered by their own limitations of action.  But Cuaron gives life to space.  He can move a camera with such vitality and speed; yet keep in ponderous when exploring the beauty of Earth.  Much of Gravity is composed of lengthy takes (the intro shot is about fifteen minutes long), filmed entirely in a studio, which allows viewers to see space through the astronauts’ eyes.  3-D also enhances the imagery; unlike so many movies, Cuaron uses the photography to further beautify and illustrate his movie.  While there are other films that used 3-D effectively, such as Hugo and Life of Pi, out of all the pictures I’ve seen, Gravity does it the best.

In fact, Gravity is the first movie since Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey to take conceptions on space and apply them on a humanistic level and perspective.  Like Kubrick, Cuaron concerns himself on the realities of space.  He utilizes no sound effects for the monstrous debris wreaking havoc on the satellite (though he does employ rushing noise to create a darker mood), instead relying on the pure heartbeats of Ryan and Matt.  There’s a huge appreciation for visual effects to emphasize the brutality of an endless atmosphere.  And Gravity often gives subtle references to 2001 (an image of Ryan crawled up in a ball reminded me of the glowing star-child).  But while 2001 is about the future of humanity, Gravity is about the preservation of human lives, despite that there are only two living people we actually see on frame.

An absorbing take on a disaster above us, Gravity is the best and most courageous film of the year thus far easily, the best sci-fi movie to come out since Cuaron’s own Children of Men.

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Responses

  1. It’s great that no sound effects are used in space but the soundtrack could have been dialed down a few decibels. It came off at times as being more overpowering and important than the peril on screen.

    • Thanks for the comment. The soundtrack definitely was pretty booming but I felt it helped the movie.

  2. Nice review mate. We have to wait until next month for this but all the great reviews have got me pumped for it.

    • Thanks! Try to see it on 3-D. Worth the admission.

  3. The 3D definitely adds a lot. After this I watched the trailer for the first time and it just doesn’t have the same impact. Reason enough for me to go see it a second time tomorrow (in 3D IMAX). Favorite movie this year so far.

    • Thanks for the comment. I agree, the best for me too. I saw it in regular 3-D and wish now to see it on IMAX.

  4. Nice review! Looking forward to checking this out, it seems the positive response is unanimous!

    • Thanks! Definitely check it out. Easily the best of the year.

  5. I gotta see this, nothing but good reviews. One that has bothered me though, and maybe it’s explained in the film, but what is a hospital medic doing repairing the Hubble Telescope in space???

    • Thanks for the comment. I don’t remember if the movie explains why Ryan’s repairing the telescope, but the film is so powerful it doesn’t really matter.

  6. Solid review! It’s really great isn’t. It’s an experience all its own. I was blown away by it and I hope to see it again this weekend.

    • Thanks! I was blown away as well and couldn’t find any fault. I feel like I should see it again on Imax next time.

  7. What Keith said. Still thinking about this film.

    • Thanks for the comment. Can’t get the film out my head as well. Superb stuff.

  8. Nice write-up. I can not *$%@ing wait to see it. I despise 3D but am heading straight for IMAX 3D for this one.

    • Thanks! I’m no fan of 3-D as well, but this definitely deserves to be seen on IMAX 3D. Best movie of 2013 thus far.

  9. Good review. While it was a very pretty movie, the script didn’t quite work for me like it should have. Then again, the focus wasn’t necessarily on that so it was a bit easy to get by. Just a bit.

    • Thanks! I didn’t have any issues with the story since there was such a strong grip on the characters. Really feel I should watch it again to see if it has the same impact.

  10. Yep, best movie of the year for me too and I don’t think anything will come close. So great that Cuaron created actual story here that I think anyone can find something to relate to, in terms of Dr. Stone’s struggle. The visual side never overshadowed her character and that was an amazing achievement.

    • Thanks for the comment and I agree, the special effects never cloud the characters.

  11. A good to honest spectacle that simply must be seen in IMAX 3D. I have to concur with Thomas above. While it was admirable that no sound effects were used for the explosions, the soundtrack in essence were the explosions. Some of those horn blasts were LOUDER than the score for Inception. lol

    • Thanks for the comment. The soundtrack was pretty loud but it didn’t bother me.

  12. Great review man, glad to see you enjoyed it! I can’t wait to watch it at home and see how it goes, because the IMAX 3D was just something spectacular.

    • Thanks! I saw it on regular 3D, but it blew me away.

      • Ahh good to know, I might go see it again than

  13. Yes, I couldn’t agree with you more! It’s a great film.

    • Thanks! It is a great film for sure.

  14. Everyone loving this it seems 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment. Don’t think I’ve heard a single person who disliked this movie. Best of 2013 thus far.

      • There are a handful of critics who dislike it. A small handful to be sure, but a handful nonetheless. Their prime complaints are the simplistic plot, Ryan’s melodramatic backstory, the script’s one-note characters and the booming score. A secondary complaint is the mistakes Cuaron makes with space (and to be sure, he makes a bunch).

        But all that said … I completely agree with you. The score helped the film, in my opinion, and the plot and characters were as developed as they needed to be for a film that was primarily about artistic brilliance, not narrative complexity. As for the mistakes in space … Well I choose to ignore them, because, well, he got the most important stuff right. 😉

  15. Good review, and right on board with you. Gravity certainly was great. Though I actually haven’t checked out Children of Men myself yet, but after reading your additional thoughts on that, it’s definitely on my list of films to get to! 🙂

    • Thanks! Definitely try Children of Men, a great movie as well.

      • Actually, I think Children of Men is better, though not by much. Y Tu Mama Tambien and Prisoner of Azkaban are also stellar.

        I guess I’m saying: since the late-90s, Cuaron does no wrong for me.

  16. Sounds brilliant – I have only read one other review for this, and decided I wouldn’t read another until it came out in the UK and I saw it, but couldn’t resist! Nice review and thanks for not spoiling it – and I totally agree that Children of Men is an overlooked masterpiece.

    • Thanks! Hope you enjoy it. It deserves to be seen in 3D, an amazing spectacle.

  17. Great review man. I agree with pretty much everything you said. If it is not my favourite film of the year so far, it is very close. I was worried that all the hype surrounding this film before I saw it would mean it couldn’t live up to expectations. But it most certainly did.

    • Thanks! I was a little worried that it might be disappointing, but it exceeded my very high expectations. Best of 2013 thus far.

  18. Looking very good. Still gotta wait till November though 😦

    • Thanks for the comment. Best of the year thus far in my opinion, I’m not sure if anything could top it.

  19. High praise indeed! It’s not over here yet but needless to say I can’t wait!

    • Thanks for the comment. I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like about Gravity, easily my favorite of the year.

  20. This remains the best of the year for me as well, though 12 Years A Slave is a very close second. It’s amazing that Cuaron managed to top even the already muy excellente Children of Men!

    • Thanks for the comment and I agree. I’m also glad to hear a good word about 12 Years a Slave, I’m trying to see that soon.

  21. Can’t wait to see this. Excellent review sir.

    • Thanks! You won’t be disappointed. Best of the year thus far and I’m not sure anything could top it.

  22. Another one who has to wait until November to see this. Excellent review. Bullock was on the Jonathon Ross Show a week or so back, and the legs on that woman! Wow! Can’t believe she’s nearly 50!! I’m guessing we don’t see her legs in Gravity though. 🙂

    • Thanks! Can’t believe Bullock is nearly 50 as well. This might be somewhat of a spoiler, but she does show her legs in one scene.

      • YESSS! 😀


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