|Gravity; Source: Warner Bros.|
That's what I said as the ending credits rolled. I thought it was an amazing movie with stunning visuals, heart-pounding action, and great performances.
Most movies about modern space travel revolve around the wonder, beauty, and science of it. Gravity tackles the uncomfortable side, which is that it's extremely dangerous. While on a spacewalk to repair a damaged satellite, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is caught in a deadly cloud of debris in Earth orbit. The debris destroys her space shuttle, forcing her and her partner Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) to survive and find their own way back to Earth. I was impressed with the story, which I find hardest to write, taking the worst thing that could possibly happen, throw it at the hero, have the hero solve it, throw the next worst thing at the hero, and repeat. It's easy to throw a bunch of easy challenges than it is to truly come up with a real challenge and try to figure a way out. I lost count of how many times I truly thought Stone was doomed with no way out.
I found the special effects amazing in every respect. The CGI is realistic and immersive, bringing the vast expanse of space and the intricate spacecraft to life. The moments where Sandra Bullock drifts aboard space stations are the most authentic depictions of null gravity I've ever seen. At times, Gravity felt more like a documentary to me than a movie.
I saw Gravity in 3-D, and it's the first movie I've seen since Avatar that used 3-D as more than just a gimmick. The whole movie worked to put you into Sandra Bullock's place, seeing things from inside her helmet to hearing muffled sounds as if inside her spacesuit. The 3-D worked as another layer of depth to pull viewers in. When she looked down at Earth, the sense of distance was both thrilling and terrifying.
For a movie about space, Gravity had surprisingly little techno-babble. Most of the problems involved simple things like running out of air, fire, and getting caught on wiring. The solutions were equally easy to understand. Compare Gravity with Apollo 13, which pivoted around a faulty CO2 scrubber and calculating trajectories, and you'll see why that's such an achievement.
Of course, such simplicity comes at the cost of accuracy. The movie overly simplifies space travel and puts spacecraft way too close together, but I can forgive the flaws for everything it gets right.
The movie has little characterization, but I was surprised at how well it worked. With her predicament, sympathy came automatically, but they threw in just enough details to hint at a deeper background and make Stone a more rounded character. I thought Bullock did an amazing job, essentially carrying most of the movie by herself. It's hard to do, but she truly brought the character to life, and made her vulnerable, heroic, and realistic.
Overall, I thought Gravity was a remarkable movie that put space travel onto the screen in a way that's never been more exciting or awe inspiring.
What did you think of Gravity?
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