Rated PG-13 4 1/2 stars of 5
I am a big fan of “Gravity,” as I use it every day, but seldom do I see it presented so well in a feature film. I have to admit, this movie is out of this world.
The Earth is ever-present in the background and serves to unify the characters, the story, and of all mankind. This global view comes from Writer/Director Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men), his amazing Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men), and a couple of American movie stars from Virginia and Kentucky.
There is a plot among the pretty pictures. Some critical maintenance is needed on the Hubble telescope, and Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock from The Blind Side) makes the house call. Commander Matt Kowalski (George Clooney from The Descendants) pilots the shuttle with the calm confidence you want when you are 350 miles above the Earth.
For you budding screenwriters, this is how you start a movie – in space inside a kaleidoscope of stars and satellites and character traits. The hack version of this movie would have put us through 30 minutes of backstory on the ground and a dozen setups you know will be paid off in the third act. Cuarón takes us right to where the action is and just a few minutes before they run into trouble. From there on, our characters are on their own, and a long way from home and not tethered to any typical story format.
I am not sure what the theme of the movie was meant to be, but for me it was “keep going.” The IMAX screen kept moving, rolling and reeling through Space, as a way of saying life will keep going. Even if you stand still and do nothing, the world and everything else is going to keep going. You can tap out if you like, take the easy way, or decide you have something to live for.
Bullock’s performance carries the story amidst the most real Space imagery I have ever seen. I am not talking about science fiction – I am talking about science fact. Everything looked, felt and seemed real, and it kept me at the edge of my seat. The only way I can describe how intense the movie was is to tell you I did not get up to pee in the middle… and I always pee in the middle.
I never felt stable or comfortable during the entire movie. I lost sight of the horizon and could not get my bearings or figure out what was going to happen next. I know, “in Space no one can hear you scream” (Alien – 1979), but from this movie I learned if you cry, the tears will float on in space forever.
This is a movie to see on the big screen – a screen so big that it makes the Earth look small, and all the problems on the Earth become small when compared to “Gravity.” I am giving this movie 4 ½ stars out of 5 and a warning to pee before the movie starts.
Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker.
Here is a link to his movie review site: http://bashmovies.wordpress.com/