Writers: Alfonso Cuarón , Jonás Cuarón (Year of the Nail)
Stars: Sandra Bullock (Blind Side, The Heat), George Clooney(Ocean’s 11, Inglorious Basterds) and Ed Harris (Apollo 13, Enemy at the Gates )
Two quick words of advice before going any further in this review.
1. While buying your drinks outside the screening rooms before going in to see this movie, please do not get an energy drink. The movie alone is RED BULL High on Cocaine…I mean it.
2. If your kid (I am guessing it is too late for you already) has a dream of becoming an astronaut, and you want to see the worst scenario he/she can find himself while in space, well then go see this and stop that kid right now.
That said, welcome to the review of Gravity a 2013 movie made by Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón which has successfully given me Astrophobia (fear of space).
After their shuttle gets destroyed in a collision with debris floating through space above Earth, Gravity tells the story of two astronauts (Sandra Bullock as Dr Ryan Stone and George Clooney as veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski) who get stuck in space while undergoing a mission on the international space station. They both have to survive the ordeal and make it back to earth in one piece while being tethered together.
The beauty of gravity laid not in its story, or better put its character development, but in telling a simple story of a lady’s odyssey through space and her unrelenting goal of making it back home in the most visually enthralling way possible. In my opinion, Gravity didn’t even need a more complex or complicated story. This movie didn’t set out to give an “Inceptional” experience nor does it try to be a “Clowd Atlas”. It is what it is and it is beautiful as it is.
Definitely one of the most talked about movies of the year, I recognize this movie has had some of the biggest and best adjectives being used to describe it since its release. As we speak, it already sits on the IMDB “Top 250 movies ever made list” in just two weeks after its release.
I felt inclined not to follow that trend of praises and try as much as possible not to be impressed while going in to see the movie, but then I had my shield dropped after seeing the brilliant one-take tracking shot which lasted for the first fifteen minutes of the movie.
For a movie which features one person (Sandra Bullock) for the most part of the movie and undoubtedly keeps you at the edge of your seat with your clenched fists at all times, it is a beautifully written screenplay by Alfonso Cuarón and his son Jonas Cuarón.
In a year which has been unremarkably remarkable for poorly written stories and movies, Gravity easily distinguishes itself by floating high above most of its peers. What impressed me most about the story was the fact that almost everything about the movie was a metaphorical account of Dr Ryan Stone’s life on earth.
“The way I approached Gravity is such that Sandra Bullock’s character and background are equally important; one informs the other. Sandra Bullock is caught between Earth and the void of the universe, just floating there in between. We use the debris as a metaphor for adversity. She’s a character who lives in her own bubble, and in the film she’s trapped in her space suit. She’s a character who has trouble communicating, and here she literally starts having communication problems. She’s a character who needs to shed her skin to move on, and in the film she needs to get out of her astronaut suit because it’s suffocating her. In the end, the story is about rebirth as a possible outcome of adversity” – Alfonso Cuarón
The hype this movie is getting is totally justified and I impatiently await another 2013 movie which will have a more mind-blowing story than this.
The four and a half year research which featured consultancy from astronomical experts on even the most unlikely to be noticed things such as the tethering between Bullock and Clooney amongst other things definitely puts this movie as one of the best sci-fi space thrillers ever made alongside 2001:A Space Odyssey and Apollo 13.
The movie paid very impressive attention to details and was as scientifically accurate as possible. An example being the sound design which is the best sound design I have ever heard in a movie. The only sounds heard in the movie was as it would have been heard from Sandra Bullock’s perspective and the sounds from external sources were only heard as vibrations.
Other notable details are the first steps taken on landing on earth, it never comes easy. The floating through the station and the fact that the Chinese Space station is designed as it would look in the year 2016. Talk about a movie ahead of time.
During the four and half year development period, Alfonso Cuarón invented new techniques for directing and lighting due to the fact that light behaves differently in space. This achievement which some argue is as remarkable as James Cameron’s innovative works on Avatar was made possible by one of the best cinematographers of our time Emmanuel Lubezki who even with his 5 grueling nominations, is yet to pick an Oscar in the best cinematography in a movie category. (Pretty sure he has given up…lol)
The only thing I regret about this movie was the fact that I didn’t see it in 3D to best appreciate the outstanding CGI which even though I have never been to space, I am sure it wouldn’t be much of a difference being up there. Even with the 2D experience, a lot of first person shots were used in the movie which had me feeling like I was out there floating helplessly.
This is definitely Cuaron’s biggest work yet and even he admits to that. I would seriously like to see who his contenders will be this year for the best picture and director award at the Oscars.
Sandra Bullock delivers the acting of her career in this movie and just like Tom Hanks did in ‘Cast Away’, she had us drawn in so much into her struggle to go home, I felt like I was just landing on earth when I walked out of the theater. It’s also worth noting that her character was so strong, it could have easily been handed to a male actor, but she took it up and delivered an absolutely stunning performance. She is definitely getting an Oscar nomination this year as early oscar buzz predicts
George Clooney as always had the highest level of charisma with his portrayal of space veteran Matt Kowalski. In a movie running high on tension and thrills he does a good job being the comic relief.
The first movie of 2013 which is earning an over deserved Popcorn & Soda rating. They most impressive parts of this movie are unseen when the cameras start rolling and so to some, it may seem over rated, but like I said before, it is what it is.
The only reason this isn’t getting a Popcorn, Soda & Hotdog is because only one movie in the year gets handed that at the end of the year and I must say, any movie to snatch this away from Gravity is going to have to be beyond amazing.
Thanks for reading the review and if you have seen the movie, please don’t forget to drop a comment below and let’s know what you think.
Popcorn & Water-2/5
Popcorn & Hotdog-3/5
Popcorn & Soda-4/5
Popcorn, Soda & Hotdog-5/5
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