Gravity

Written by Ian Kimbell

As a blockbuster with plenty of Oscars, Gravity must be the kind of thriller toward which people are pulled. Gravity, a film starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, has been widely praised for its stellar acting, exorbitant special effects and spine tingling suspense. Alfonso Cuaron, the director of the film, clearly knew what he was doing. I agree with the general reviews, and I believe it deserved most of the seven Academy Awards it received.

Gravity centers around biomedical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) who is sent to the space shuttle, the Explorer. It is her very first time in space. Meeting her there is a crew of astronauts, including light-hearted and charming Matt Kowalski (Clooney). The movie opens with Stone, Kowalski and a few others doing repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope. The operators get reports from Houston about Russian debris orbiting at high speeds. They originally dismiss it, but keep getting high alerts. It becomes a serious situation and all officers are told to get in the Explorer immediately. However, few make it inside. Stone is pushed away from the spacecraft, at this point a floating gathering of debris, and is sent helplessly spinning and floating around the Earth. She reunites with Kowalski, and both of them are in a race against time as they must find a way to get back to Earth before their oxygen depletes or the speedy remnants of satellites return.

One of the main factors toward Gravity’s success is its stunning special effects. The green screen and computer generated effects make you feel like you are in space. The visuals are very realistic, something you wouldn’t know fully until seeing the film. These visuals make the whole movie what it is, from building suspense to making the whole experience more interesting and engaging. I remember one scene in particular, close to the beginning, where Sandra Bullock is panicking while helplessly spinning around in one spot. You don’t see what is fully going on until the movie switches to the first-person camera. I marveled as I watched Earth and stars being blurred as the camera was rotating rapidly. It made me feel like I was a part of that movie. The shots of Earth during the movie were wonderfully realistic and beautiful. This is why Gravity was an Oscar vacuum. That being said, if you are planning on watching Gravity, please watch it on a television. The small screen of a laptop, smartphone or tablet does not have the same effect.

However, Gravity is not just a pool of breathtaking special effects; there is also acting involved. With Gravity as a story where there are few characters to begin with and half of those originals die, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock are the only actors who, for the most part, have more than a few lines.  As Matt Kowalski, George Clooney flawlessly pulls off the calm, charming aura his characters usually have. George Clooney has comedic bouts even when being stranded in space. Sandra Bullock, for the most part, does a great job of playing the part of the main character who is in an extreme state of panic and is slowly being severely mentally scarred by the most traumatic experience in her life. On the other end of the chain, however, some scenes are not as interesting as others, as Bullock has much of the movie as a solo performance. You hear Bullock’s character grunting, yelling, murmuring for scenes on end. Of course, there is also the panting. Oh, boy. During many periods of Gravity, Bullock delivers constantly what can only be referred to as a pant. I know that her character is in a severe state of panic, but the panting was sometimes a bit too overused. I overheard more than one fellow viewer say, specifically, “She just kept panting so much. It happened all of the time.” Keep in mind that all of these people were in different groups. All viewers in that theater knew that Sandra Bullock was, indeed, a panter.

Enough of that. Other than the pants, Sandra Bullock’s performance was out of this world. Having a monologue for an hour and a half with no other characters within miles is quite a feat, but Bullock pulled it off quite astonishingly. Both Bullock and Clooney portrayed their characters very well.

Gravity is a movie that I would definitely recommend to all audiences, other than the faint-hearted. It kept me on the edge of my seat while also showing spectacular views. However, keep in mind that the visuals are most of the experience. Please watch Gravity on a fairly large screen for the full effect. Because of spectacular visuals and superb acting, I give Gravity an eight out of ten. If you haven’t already seen Gravity, then I suggest you planet.

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