Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) a medical engineer. Is testing equipment in space when a slight mishap snowballs into a full-blown disaster. Now Stone and astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) must work together and use their ingenuity if they have a chance at survival.
Many movies really solely on their story for entertainment. So worrying about the type of movie Blu-ray or 3-D is not necessary. So this would not normally be entered into a review. However, in the case of “Gravity” (2013), the visuals of Lake Powell, Arizona, space and Sandra are important enough to warrant Blu-ray and even 3D treatment. I suspect it is just a matter of time before it gets the “4K” treatment. And even though space is silent the background music adds character and does not distract from the presentation.
Next, to you, I am probably one of the last people to see this movie. I watched all the hype for and against it. And for people who think Sanders hair didn’t fluff up at the right time that’s a bunch of fluff. This film will keep you on your toes and ends way before it should.
In space, no one can hear you scream... or your last gasp.
On the final space shuttle mission headed by astronaut Matt Kowalski (Clooney), Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) is brought along to install a new type of software she designed. Disaster strikes when the team is endangered by debris from an 'accidentally destroyed' Russian satellite. The wreckage also damages other satellites in its path, disrupting communications. Stone becomes separated from the now-destroyed shuttle, and the race is on both to find her and get to the safety of a nearby space station before the next orbit brings the fast-moving debris back around again.
The cinematography is, without question, amazingly beautiful. Photos of deep space always illicit a thrill in us earthbound mortals, and this one's no different. Some of the visuals and creative imagery, such as reflections on the astronauts' visors and the views of Earth from low orbit and Bullock spinning uncontrollably in space, will absolutely grab you. There's also sub-text of being born again- with Bullock being framed in some shots as if she's in utero, complete with a loose cable symbolizing an umbilical cord, and her new life when she finally returns to earth, readjusting to gravity.
This is a brilliant concept, and it only takes two (three if you count Ed Harris' voice only performance as Mission Control) to pull it off. Clooney as Kowalski is a great supporting character- a consummate professional, cool under pressure, knowledgeable of the situation and a storehouse of personal anecdotes which he'll happily regale you with. Bullock's Stone is the complete opposite- quiet, withdrawn and nervous. We get to see the wonders and terrors of space from her perspective, and it mostly works.
The problem is two-fold: one is Bullock's character. She's intelligent and moderately resourceful, but also extremely high-strung and prone to panic attacks- exactly the kind of person that would not be sent into space. After enduring the third instance of her going OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG in ten minutes, I wanted her to die already so we could get back to Clooney.
Second: because of her character's flaws, the script has to be dumbed down to accommodate them. Kowalski rescues her and hauls her back to the space station via tether, but somehow keeps her TALKING, so she's continually using the oxygen she's running low on! No reason for this other than to set up the no-more-oxygen-get-inside-quick-before-you-die scene, since he could've simply kept up the chatter himself and let her relax... and save her air. Upon reaching the International Space Station, their inertia makes them collide with it; Stone gets her foot tangled in wires, barely hanging on but manages to snag Kowalski's tether before he spins away, his momentum pulling them away from the ISS. Here all Kowalski had to do was pull himself forward and let his new inertia carry him back towards the ISS, saving them both, but again... Once she's returned to relative safety aboard the ISS, she completely misses a small fire starting in an alcove- that she literally went right past and couldn't have missed, except the script called for her to- so our next crisis is ready to go.
Gravity is one of those movies that was a great idea, and delivers for the most part but falls short in key areas for trying to stretch out the tension. Not that it's a bad idea, but they just did it in the wrong ways.