Movie Review: Gravity (2013)

Gravity
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
Written by Alfonso Cuaron & Jonas Cuaron

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First of all movies about anything scientific are usually geared around incurable diseases or outbreaks of some rare disease, think Contagion and Andromeda Strain. This movie is lumped under science fiction, but it doesn’t have the usual components such as aliens like ET, bad guys with super human powers like The Matrix, robotic type weapons like District 9, nor does it have any odd monkeys like Planet of the Apes or Godzilla. Where does this movie fit in?

It stands alone, I believe it is a rare movie that not only breaches the subject of science, but also touches on the inherent capability of human beings to overcome adversity.

Being an astronaut is a profession the majority of us out there know nothing more than what we have seen in Apollo 13 and the closest we have come to being one is eating astronaut ice cream. Gravity brings us closer to the actual feeling more than any other film.

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The movie is about a newbie astronaut, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a scientific engineer, who is going up to space for the first time to install a device onto the Hubble telescope. She is joined by Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) who is on his last mission into space and is helping her navigate the ins and outs of her new job.

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What the film delivers is a simple story about a space mission gone wrong. We get first and third person point of views throughout the film and we get the nauseas sensation of what it must feel like to be floating around in space. Air is precious, every breath one takes has to be done with care, “not to fast” as Kowalski instructs Dr. Stone and we get the sensation and the clench in our chests each time she breathes.

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The conversations that transpire between Kowalski and Stone are deep and give us a view into each one of their lives. He gives us the viewpoint of someone who despite being in a catastrophic mess, still takes time to enjoy the view, he’s experienced, he has been there and done that, but with Stone we see her naiveté in understanding space. Although she is extremely smart, space is like that cold lake one has only run their toes across, but never actually dove into.

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Gravity took over 4 years for director Alfonso Cuaron to create, being that the technology to even make the movie was difficult. He utilized CGI, lightboxes (9x9x9 foot cube outfitted with 4,096 LED bulbs) which allowed for the shadowed images to come across Bullock’s face and puppeteers that literally suspended Bullock when she was going from room to room in the space station shuttle. I mention this solely because I am the type of person when I see a movie of this type I want to know how the hell did they do that?!

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At some points, this movie resembled a documentary, similar to Planet Earth. Many scientists have come out to say that there were many inaccuracies in the movie, but I think that this movie was not aiming to be a full-fledged documentary. Instead despite those inaccuracies, as I guess, the majority of us out there wouldn’t even be able to spot, the film delivers the movie experience people paid money to see. I doubt anyone would pay money just to see images of space or Sandra Bullock wearing long johns and space diapers.

The movie is heartfelt and beautiful. At points, if you stopped your DVR, each still on the screen could be captured as a beautiful photo, like the shot of Stone in the fetal position, absolutely stunning.

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The performances by both actors were great, Clooney’s is subtle yet sincere. Bullock’s ability to carry the entire film is recognition worthy. There are not many actresses out there who can pull that off and her ability to deliver such a profound role acted out against a green screen is phenomenal.

If you haven’t seen this already, I definitely recommend going out and renting this because it does not disappoint. It deserves all the accolades it has received thus far and this film really showcases the capabilities of Cuaron’s mind.

}}Melissa

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47 thoughts on “Movie Review: Gravity (2013)

  1. Fine review! This was my favorite movie of 2013. Personally I think the story has more underlying meaning than many give it credit for and the visuals are simply stunning. It was one of the best movie theater experiences I had experienced in a long time and I too am amazed at what Cuaron was able to do.

  2. If you loved it on the small screen, you would have loved it even more in the theatre. It was one of the most epic films I have ever seen!

    • Yes I know I messed up big time! This year I am trying to get out to the theater more. I hate how expensive the whole movie going experience always turns out to be. Is it like that in Europe?

      • Generally yes. Although my local cinema is part of a franchise that offers “all you can eat” movies for £16 per month plus 10 – 25% off concessions depending on how long you’ve been a member. It works perfectly for me because I can go to the theatre twice a week easily and I can walk there from my house.

  3. Great review here. Although I have to disagree with you on some points. I thought the script was weak, filled with so much blatant, ham-fisted symbolism like the last picture of your review. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, I thought the film was entertaining. However I’m apprehensive about watching it on the small screen because I fear the jump in visual quality may be too much.

    • I agree with you on some points, after I first saw it, I thought umm ok that story was kinda lame, but after watching it a few times I liked it more and had to overlook some of its’ flaws to consider it a good flick. It was almost avant-garde-ish in that sense when you think about the symbolism and how that overtakes the narrative of the movie itself. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Definitely a very good film. I dislike the score’s impact on the narrative (a lot), but I agree that most of the inaccuracies are irrelevant. (The only that matters:

    SPOILER

    is that Clooney didn’t need to die.)

    END SPOILER

    All things considered, though, this was a worthy Best Picture nominee and Cuaron is a worthy victor for Director (though I would have given that award to McQueen, personally).

    Great review, Melissa!

    • You got a good point he didn’t have to! But then I guess it would bog down the story more and it would be less focused on just her. Which is partly what makes the movie interesting.

      AGREED McQueen should have won. Cuaron is excellent, but 12 Years a Slave there is no comparison. Thank you for your comments as always!

      • SPOILER

        They could have changed the scene such that his death was unavoidable – pretty easily actually. If Ryan and Kowalski had been moving of their own momentum, independent of the space station, their momentum could pull loose the ropes. And Kowalski might have released himself to slow Stone’s movement and thereby save her.

        But that sort of scene would have necessitated less talking between the two characters (since they wouldn’t have had time to have a mini-debate and would have been moving too much anyway). Which is why Cuaron stopped their movement, I assume. The only issue: once he stopped them, they’re weightless and are thereby not pulling on the ropes.

        Cuaron would have been better off skipping the talking.

      • Yes I actually was thinking that too. He could have lived, they could have figured a way out of that and kept him alive. I agree with you on all points. Would you have wanted him to live or did it not matter either way to you if he survived or not? To me honestly it didn’t matter as long as the story stayed in tact, but I sort of liked seeing her on her own trying to figure things out.

      • I think he needed to die, for the narrative to have the symbolic weight it was seeking. Gravity is about rebirth and new beginnings – if Stone doesn’t most of the hardest parts on her own, it loses that theme.

        But the way he died pulled me out of the movie. The first time I saw it I thought they were misrepresenting weightlessness (scientifically speaking) but wasn’t certain. The second time, I had done my research and knew they were misrepresenting it, which entirely dulled the emotional impact of the character’s sacrifice.

  5. Pingback: Gravity | Chewy Reviews

  6. Glad you loved this one! : ) What a shame you didn’t see it in the theater, though. I went the whole hog – travelled quite a way to see it on a big IMAX screen. SO worth the journey & the cost! : )

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