From the opening sequence to the end credits, Gravity is truly an unforgettable movie experience. Rarely does a film possess the kind of “movie magic” that Gravity displays. Movies used to be simpler, but every once in a while, a movie would come out that would change how you viewed them. Star Wars is one that comes to mind. What helps the “movie magic” is the appeal of going to see a movie without knowing much, if anything, about the movie. Trailers were never as prominent as they are now. You could have went into Raiders of the Lost Ark and have no idea what kind of movie you’re going to see and where that story is going to take you. Nowadays, we know the plot of almost every movie just from the trailer. Secrets are no longer an appeal movie-goers want.
However, Gravity bucks that trend, as the trailers leading up to the release revealed very little of what the movie was about, but once it starts, buckle up for a journey into filmmaking that has never been attempted before. A film that pushes the boundaries of exactly what film can do. With awe-inspiring and breath-taking images of Earth, we truly feel the helplessness and enormity of space. When it ends, we feel as though we have been a part of the journey, because, in a way, we have.
Sandra Bullock plays Ryan Stone, a bio-medical engineer on her first space shuttle mission. But don’t fret, Stone, Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is by your side! As the astronaut that has seen it all, Kowalski has a story for every situation and adds a bit of humor to go with Stone’s cold demeanor.
Clooney gives a solid performance, but the substance of the narrative comes with Stone and Bullock’s performance is sure to give her an Oscar nod. With every tense breath, we are eagerly alongside Stone’s journey, which will end up being one helluva story. Stone goes through a transformation in space, as she is still dealing with the death of her young daughter, who suffered a tragic and sudden death. I would say, being in space is as far away as someone could get from their problems and it seems that is exactly what Stone is doing.
Gravity is more about the human spirit than it is probably given credit for. Cuarón’s storytelling ability equals his creativity, as he pieces together the feelings and sufferings of Stone. That is, until she is able to overcome both the death of her daughter and the darkness of space. Different people have different ways of dealing with adversity, but no matter how strong someone is, sometimes all you need is to do is to talk about it. At first, Stone is apprehensive to talk to Kowalski about anything, but as the story moves along, she becomes more and more willing to shed her emotions, until she is finally able to open up about everything. It is then that she acts efficiently and clearly to save her own life.
Once she manages to land on earth, the gravity makes it difficult for her to walk. She goes from crawl to first steps – almost as an infant would – as she starts her new life, one without the burden of a child gone too early. She is able to move past those feelings with the same resolve that enabled her to overcome every other obstacle. And with those wobbly first steps back on Earth, she begins her new life. A rebirth.
Visionary director Alfonso Cuarón, who wrote this film with his son Jonás, did a splendid job in creating a succinct, yet descriptive film. And a lot of credit needs to be given to cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and visual effects supervisor Tim Webber, who add life and visuals to this stunning masterpiece. And I don’t use masterpiece lightly. Gravity will forever be remembered as one of the all-time best science-fiction films and puts into question – rightfully – just what a great imagination can do.
Ultimately, Gravity hits on all cylinders, as its emotional impact is nearly as profound as its technical impact. It thrills you, but grounds you in humanity. Just a masterful job of filmmaking by Cuarón, whose imagination knows no limits. If there was ever a time to see a movie in IMAX 3D, this is the movie. Hollywood plows out 3D movies to no end, usually lessening the impact the technology can serve all to make an extra buck, but Cuarón uses the 3D technology at hand and then some to create the most visually stunning film of 2013, if not ever.