by Christian Ruvalcaba (Cobbster Reviews)
Remember when you were a kid and you dreamed of becoming an astronaut? Well consider all of those dreams shattered. Gravity has proven to me that space is a cold hearted bitch. I adore many films that take place in space which have some of the greatest villains: Darth Vader, HAL 9000, and George Lucas himself (you know what I’m saying). However, not once had I ever considered the single most important element to space films could be a great villain as well: space!
Gravity is directed by the well-known and dark looming Alfonso Cauron who has previously directed movies such as Children of Men and my favorite wizard flick, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The beautiful “Miss Congeniality” herself, Sandra Bullock, helms the lead role as a paranoid doctor assisting with a space mission for various space and scientific reasons. Alongside her performance is the real life Bruce Wayne (NOT BATMAN), George Clooney. Clooney plays a veteran astronaut who is on his final mission and when chaos emerges, Clooney does what he can to keep the paranoid Bullock from losing her integrity.
Heading into this film I had high expectations and much anticipation. The trailers looked intriguing, the actors are definitely my cup of tea, and Cauron is a great director. And I’m happy to say that Gravity is a fantastic film and one of my favorites this year. Cauron does an amazing job at truly making you feel like you’re in space. There are several moments in the film when Bullock and Clooney are spinning in Zero G (that’s Zero Gravity for you cool kids), and you float with them as if you’re there. Space has never felt so real until now. By far, this is one of the best representations of a realistic space voyage that I have seen to date.
The story strives with simplicity in that it deals with two people trying to survive in outer space. What really carries the film is Sandra Bullock’s performance. Bullock is remarkable as she struggles to cope with her own emotions and how she’s going to survive this bizarre ordeal. You almost get a sense that she is so paranoid that she has feared space her entire life. Struggling with the idea that she might be lost in space forever, she maintains her composure with the help of encouragement from the greatness of Clooney’s performance. What I loved most is that Bullock’s character has great growth to her and she proves that despite her fate might end for the worst, she will do what she can to assure her survival. One scene in particular toward the end of the film granted her a spot in the Oscar department. And Clooney is terrific in the film as well. He basically plays himself… as an astronaut: confident, a seemingly ladies’ man, and intelligent. Though he isn’t in the film as much as I hoped, he shines well in the scenes he’s in.
Aside from the great acting, the special effects as well as the sound design make this film come full circle. From the space stations and satellites to the beautiful look of earth, everything looks so real. There is such great detail from compartments inside the space stations to the protecting atmosphere of Earth, all of it was almost too real to handle. However, the most impressive aspect is the sound (well technically there is no sound but you know). It really captures how space is supposed to be: soundless. There are moments when the characters use their tools and there was a subtle muffling sound as if you covered your ears. And when objects crashed into each other objects, your ears will scream with pleasure. I was happy to see that Cauron wanted to respect the nature of space and he did so willfully. What worked well with the sound design was the score: an almost triumphant but also extremely terrifying sound to say the least. All in all, the sound design has my vote for one of them shiny looking gold statues.
Overall, Gravity is a visual masterpiece with great acting and a simple but effective story. My only small gripe with the film is that it can be a slow burner at times, but that doesn’t really affect the movie in a negative way. I loved the idea of focusing on a character for a long period of time, as they dwell on the horrible outcomes of their future. Some of the slow pacing worked well to calm you down until the intensity hits you in the face and you begin to sweat nervously, hoping these characters can make it out alive. This film is a major thrill ride that will keep you guessing of what will happen next. Consider this film to be a tutorial to stray people away from ever wanting to become an astronaut.
Final Grade: A