From beginning to end, Gravity is a gorgeous and thrilling ride that will leave you short of breath.
This review will be spoiler-free.
Director Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men) has been working on Gravity for years, waiting for the technology to catch up with his vision, much like James Cameron had to do for Avatar.
It was worth the wait, Gravity is not only one of the most visually stunning movies ever made, it has an amazing score and the sound effects themselves are perfect.
If Chris Hadfield helped us fall in love with space again, Gravity may just scare us a little.
Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is on her first mission to space and is tasked with repairing the Hubble Space telescope. Unfortunately for her, the call comes in from Houston Space Centre that debris from a destroyed satellite is hurtling towards them and they’re ordered to abort their spacewalk and the International Space Station is given the order to evacuate.
It’s too late however and the space shuttle is hit by the debris, causing Dr. Stone to float away into the nothingness of space with only the soothing voice of astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) to try to calm her down and thus make a rescue attempt. After that, they have to try everything to get safely back to Earth.
The entire movie is seen from Bullock’s point of view, sometimes literally by way of seeing what she’s seeing from inside her visor, but mainly by focusing on her the entire time.
This helps build up a strong connection to the character, which is needed as Clooney’s character feels a little one dimensional and a bit too blasé for a serious astronaut.
A lot of noise has been made about scientific inaccuracies within Gravity and while it does take a lot of liberties with space travel (pointing where you want to go and hitting the gas pedal doesn’t quite work in space) and the suit themselves (lack of space diapers!), the attention to detail with how everything moves and reacts within a zero gravity environment is perfect.
So perfect in fact that Buzz Aldrin himself has praised Gravity for the portrayal of moving around in a weightless environment.
Gravity is a thriller more so than simply a space movie, and not only does it highlight how dangerous the daily lives of our astronauts can be, it genuinely is eye opening – during the course of the movie I couldn’t help but think if the general public would even know or care if there was such a catastrophic event happening above their heads, or just that their 4G was down.
But in that deeper sense, Gravity really is a movie about hope for humanity and a personal rebirth story for Dr. Stone, kind of proving that you do have a hand in how things go for you.
Gravity left me literally open mouthed during every big scene, and had me welling up at some of the more intimate points.
The sound is terrifyingly brilliant and the visual effects are ground-breaking, I think Alfonso Cuarón could have told people that he actually went to space to shoot the movie and we’d believe him.
Cuarón’s famously long shots are here in spades, with some other impressive camera work too. Notably, there’s a seamless transition from outside Dr. Stone’s visor to inside of it, looking out, and then back outside again which made me literally “woah”.
Of course it’s best experienced in IMAX or at least a good 3D screen, the 3D isn’t forced and only adds to the immersion – I noticed myself actually dodging pieces of debris a few times.