Gravity

*****

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (3 People gave this 5.00 out of 5)
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“Life in space is impossible.”

GRAVITY

The H-Bomb: U.S. astronauts Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are wrapping up a shuttle mission when they get word that the Russians have blown up one of their old spy satellites and that the debris might be headed their way. Surely enough, the storm of debris does descend upon them, shredding their shuttle and dicing up the other members of the crew, leaving only Stone and Kowalski alive. Stone is a medical engineer and this is her first time in space, whereas Kowalski is a veteran astronaut who must now figure out a way to get them both back down to Earth.

Unfortunately, that’s going to be a wee bit difficult, since they have no spacecraft, they’ve lost contact with Houston, and the panicky, inexperienced Stone is running low on Oxygen. Their only hope is to make their way to the Russian Space Station, where they could maybe use one of the escape pods to get home. However, Kowalski’s thruster pack is almost out of fuel, and the odds of them making it out of this alive seem just as remote as the big black vacuum where they currently find themselves stranded.

I’ll just stop with the plot right there, since saying more would simply ruin what is the single most intense film I’ve seen this year… Perhaps the most intense film I’ve seen in the past five years. Now, I promised myself that I wouldn’t give in to the temptation to say something as lame or obvious as “Gravity is out of this world!” But, well, Gravity is, in every sense of the term, out of this fucking world!

Director Alfonso Cuaron has already made one landmark Sci-Fi epic, 2006’s Children of Men, which, with it’s lengthy, elaborate camera shots, was a true technical marvel. Now, with Gravity, Cuaron has created, with no small help from cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and a legion of special effects artists, a stunning 360 degree landscape of outer space that would even make the great Stanley Kubrick cream his own panties.

Make no mistake, this is far and away the most immersive depiction of space ever put on film, completely surpassing James Cameron’s overrated tuna, Avatar, and providing a 3D spectacle that demands to be seen on the largest IMAX screen you can find. To think that pretty much every single thing on screen, down to the space suits, was a CGI effect, and that for the entire time it didn’t cross my mind even once that I was looking at a bunch of special effects, is a true testament to the incredible work on the part of the filmmakers. If this doesn’t sweep every technical award at the Oscars this year, I will be truly shocked.

But, as I’ve always said, amazing effects will only carry a movie so far. It’s really, when all is said and done, the story that matters above all else, and this is where Gravity really kicks Avatar’s aqua blue ass. In the lead up to Gravity’s release, I read some statements made by a couple of true intellectual giants on the interwebs claiming that the film was going to be nothing more than waiting around for people to die. It took every ounce of self restraint that I could muster to keep from telling these two mouth breathing knuckle-draggers that they were completely full of shit.

Gravity is a story of survival, survival against the most impossible odds, and it is one of the most exciting I’ve ever seen. Fuck After Earth, this is the real deal. Up until the final moments, I was on the edge of my seat, my hands gripped firmly on the armrests, my stomach tied in knots. The movie builds a level of hopelessness the kind I haven’t seen since Apollo 13, which this film naturally reminded me of, and when the suspense peaks, it’s almost unbearable. (H-Man Aside: The head of mission control is voiced by Ed Harris, who played the head of mission control in Apollo 13)

Now, all of Cuaron’s visual razzle-dazzle wouldn’t amount to a pile of moon rocks if we weren’t given characters to get behind. Fortunately, we do grow attached to Stone and Kowalski, and we want to see them pull through. As for the performances, Clooney plays the space ace Kowalski with his usual cocky charm, and he delivers a solid turn. It’s Bullock, however, as the inexperienced Stone, who has to do the real dramatic heavy lifting. As we come to learn, Stone has a tragic past and a very lonesome present, but despite that, she has an immeasurable will to live. Bullock gives a raw and honest performance, and she carries the picture marvelously. Considering she was covered head-to-toe in those ridiculous motion capture dots, and acting opposite nothing but a green screen for the most part, she, without a doubt, nails the role beautifully.

In case you haven’t caught on, me loved Gravity. A lot. It is a true science fiction masterpiece that is, to put it bluntly, downright brilliant. As a technical feat, Cuaron pushes the envelop and takes cinematic wizardry to a whole new level, and if that’s not enough, he, with Bullock, delivers the goods emotionally, as well. You don’t merely watch a film like Gravity, you fucking experience it, and that’s exactly what I’m telling you to do. Buy the ticket, take the ride, experience Gravity, now.


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