My wife and I just got back from watching Gravity and I wanted to write this review while it’s all still fresh in my mind.
Every once in a while a movie comes along that transcends your usual movie-going experience and turns it into an Event. I don’t just mean it’s a great movie. I mean it’s a movie that takes your breath away and truly gives you something you’ve never seen before. I remember feeling like this the first time I saw Jurassic Park, the first movie to give us living breathing dinosaurs. Well, dinosaurs that looked living and breathing anyway.
Most films that get this much hype generally fail to live up to that hype in some way. Sure, the effects might be good, but the story is sadly lacking. Avatar, anyone? But from time to time a film comes along that not only lives up to the hype, but is actually so good, it’s impossible to overhype! That prety much sums up Gravity. Words like astounding, jaw-dropping and breath-taking are bandied about so much these days. For once these words are no mere hyperbole. And yes, this movie really is out-of-this-world.
The stars are Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Both are excellent in this movie. Especially Bullock. Surely she has to get best actress performance in the Oscars next year! And don’t let the fact that these are the only two principal characters in this film put you off. They both do more than hold things together. They even manage to outshine the effects.
Bullock plays a character called Ryan Stone, a bio-medical engineer who is on her first mission in space. Clooney is Matt Kowalski, a wise-cracking but experienced astronaut. They are working with a team to perform repairs to the Hubble telescope. A freak accident wipes out the rest of the crew, leaving Ryan and Matt as the sole survivors. They are left stranded in space and must try to find a way to survive against overwhelming odds. At its heart, that’s what this movie is: A survival story. But you have never seen a survival story like this. The perils they face will test them to the maximum.
This has to be the best performance Sandra Bullock has ever given. She is extraordinary. When the disaster happens, her character, Ryan, is flung out into space. She is cut off. Alone. Adrift in her spacesuit. The sense of fear is so palpable you’d almost swear her situation was real. She is spinning helplessly out of control. We see the earth rotating from her point of view and this, together with her panicked breathing, imbues the moment with a real sense of claustrophia. Her first task is to reunite with Matt. Then they must figure out what they need to do to survive before their air runs out. The whole story takes place with the earth as a truly stunning backdrop. The effects are jaw-dropping, leaving you constantly asking yourself ‘how did they film that?’ As well as the biggest question ‘how on earth are they going to get back down to earth safely?’
This film is dizzying, claustrophobic and exhilerating. When you come out after seeing this, you’ll be glad your feet are planted firmly on the ground. The 3D visuals enhance the experience more than any other 3D movie I’ve ever seen. They really make you feel right there in the middle of the action. If you haven’t seen this film yet, you need to. It has to be seen on the big screen to truly get the best of the effects. You also need to see it in 3D if you can. There is no better way to see this one. Just don’t forget to breathe…