Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Film Review: Gravity

Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures
It’s undeniable that Gravity is awesome to watch. When I’m confronted with incredible images like these, I feel like they should be followed by some deeper meaning that will in equal measure intrigue the rest of my mind, and not just the visual cortex.

This assumption of mine is wrong, and Alfonso Cuarón thought the same way. This glorious lifeboat scenario was dreamt up by him long before technology could properly depict it in the images he desired, so he waited. Finally, when he decided that the CGI and robots are good enough, he made the film. Its story is a simple survival tale set in the most inhospitable environment imaginable (I’m not counting things like the center of the Sun as a possible option).

In outer space, maintenance of the Hubble telescope by a space shuttle crew is interrupted by a disastrous event. Dr. Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalski are the astronauts working on it in open space when it happens. Sandra Bullock, as the main character, is the first-time-astronaut slash scientist, while Kowalski, played by George Clooney, is much more experienced in outer space. 

In a blink of an eye, they are left on their own, without a way home, and their suits are the only thing that separates them from the empty void that could kill them in seconds.

The whole rhythm of the film is fast and exciting. Some scenes take place in total silence, enriching the destruction and the way the protagonists escape it. Every scene is presented in a way that is so out of this world that it has a completely engulfing effect on the viewer. I never saw a film like this one, and I think that Cuarón truly made something unique at this point in time. Many will surely try to copy Gravity, but like Avatar, I think it will stand the test of time for at least a few years in the domain of CGI.

All of this praise refers purely to the dynamic atmosphere and the visual ride it gives to its audience. On the cognitive side, it’s not even science fiction. It presents a few interesting facts about real space (no sound, actual space stations and vehicles), but still remains an action film in every aspect. There is nothing to think about in it apart from the ideas that outer space is really dangerous and that it really sucks to be stuck out there.

All Is Lost, another movie that uses the lifeboat scenario, is a film about the human condition. Gravity is a film about how powerful the technology used in Hollywood has become.

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