Gravity (2013)

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The most nerve wracking movie experience of the year (with Prisoners taking a respectable 2nd place), Gravity mercilessly holds the viewer captive. I'm a pretty firm non-believer in the use of 3-D, but man am I glad I made myself get over it for this one. Gravity is about some astronauts out for a lovely jaunt in outer space. The view is beautiful; there are some good tunes on the radio; and HOLY SHIT MAN-MADE SPACE DEBRIS IS TEARING EVERYTHING APART! Including an astronaut or three. Usually when a movie consists of one horrendous thing happening after another, it just leads to a lot of sighing and eye-rolling on my part. A bit like watching Precious Based on the Folk Song by Amethyst, you know? But not during Gravity. In fact, my only eye rolls were brought on by the unfortunate lines given to George Clooney, god bless him. The dialogue, in general, in this movie is abysmal. Luckily, there's not much of it. The bulk of the movie is Sandra Bullock panting and making panic sounds. Speaking of Bullock, she carries this movie admirably. Coming from me, that must mean she's stupendous. My road to recovering from Crash and The Blind Side has not been an easy one.

This movie is a damn sight to see. It's no surprise that floating in space would be gorgeous, but my gosh, if this is the closest most of us ever get to making Lance Bass's dreams a reality, I'd say it's mighty satisfactory. Just try not to flinch too much.


Upon moving to New York in September of 2005, one of my first encounters with the so-called tourist traps of New York involved a trip to a themed restaurant called Mars 2112. Decked out in neon colors and featuring an array of people dressed as optimistic martians, Mars 2112 afforded me the opportunity to experience the homey joys of space here on Earth. While the effect was campy at best, it was safe to assume that it would be the closest I would get to actually hanging out in space. How wrong I was.

While Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity may not promise the delights of overpriced Cydonia spring rolls and Saturn sangria, it does provide a stunningly realistic feeling of co-existing in the cosmos with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney for a little over 90 minutes. This, in and of itself, is worth the price of admission alone. While gripping onto the underside of your cup holder for the films duration may seem an unnecessary effort, the vastness of the void created by Cuaron leaves one feeling as if we just can't be too careful. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney shine as Dr. Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalski (respectively), two astronauts sent on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. After The Weather Channel (kidding, Ground Control) warns them of an impending storm of debris heading their way, the two tumble around in space like a pair of socks in a clothes dryer. To say much more would be to ruin the suspense, and my lips are sealed as tight as a (SPOILER ALERT) capsule hatch.

Gravity belongs to Sandra Bullock. After giving her the finger a few years ago due to her undeserved win for Best Actress in The Blind Side, she certainly had the most to gain from pulling this movie off. While the Sandy we expect to see would struggle to pencil in her eyebrows while wielding a gun and driving a lunar module, the Sandy we get see has little concern for tweezing or wearing much more than a sports bra and black biker shorts. In my opinion, the story of her character's evolution is a little thin, but she commits to it wholeheartedly and makes it work. George Clooney's performance seems like little more than a cameo, but he fulfills our need to stop holding our breath sometimes and chuckle at his Dad jokes. Cute.

Alfonso Cuaron's use of the latest technology to create a world we've only seen in photographs and fake videos of the 1969 moon landing is jaw dropping. Gravity is set up to win all of the technical awards at this years Academy Awards, and their isn't a person in that room more deserving of cradling a gazillion Oscars when he hits the press room after the ceremony is over. Unfortunately, I think he's only nominated for 3 awards, so that will have to suffice.

The closure of Mars 2112 left a huge hole in my heart, but that hole has now been filled, thanks to this gem of a film. It's also of note that a 3D Imax ticket to Gravity is significantly cheaper than a trip to Mars 2112, even if one includes the price of 4 large popcorns, 2 small sodas, and about a dozen Dramamine. As far as I'm concerned, Gravity is... out of this ballpark.


When I first went to see Gravity, I expected to be bored by a typical high-octane space disaster movie. Although it is a high-octane space disaster blockbuster, it is so much more due to incredible ingenuity in its filming techniques, a beautifully executed artistic vision, and some deeper universal themes.

The visual aspects alone are enough reason to see this film. Dazzling high definition pans of the Earth and space glisten on the screen with long, continuous, smooth pans that make one feel out there alongside the astronaut duo. Orientation is lost. Occasional close-up details of tears, sparks, trinkets, and the like add to the richness of this film providing layers of artistry and humanity. An incredible score by Steven Price weaves in and out of the film at times pulsating with loud scratching dissonance when we are faced with disaster, at times softly mesmerizing with delicate piano pings when we are faced with calming awe. The score is so appropriately unique and adds to the outer-worldliness.

Sandra Bullock meets an incredible challenge carrying the bulk of the film's acting, being put in awkward physical positions, and still making the audience feel her fear, loneliness, frustration, and hopelessness. Through her, we really feel a story that focuses on humanity with themes of loss and survival.

Gravity is an incredibly smart, ingenuitive, well-paced, gorgeous film that sits nicely alongside Alien and 2001 as one of Hollywood's best space thrillers.