“It’s lonely out in space”
Forget for one second all the technicalities and technologies of modern astrophysical science; forget verisimilitudes—in fact don’t take into account anything before you go see one of this year’s most talked about films Gravity (sorry, Neil deGrasse Tyson), because that’s not the point (besides, since when did rocket scientists review movies?).
Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, like most of his other works, is intended for nothing but the viewer to simply enjoy a space film in a way that’s never been seen before. Usually I’m not into the whole 3D hype, but as the movie went on I found myself really enjoying the effects (as opposed to getting a dizzy headache) and felt as if I were really there with Clooney and Bullock orbiting around beloved and beautiful Mother Earth.
And going to space seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? A rocket ship flies you thousands of miles up in the air, then suddenly, well, you’re up there gazing at Earth’s horizon. But it’s not so easy; there are many dangers astronauts face that put their lives at risk in order to get that stellar out-of-this-world view (the stuff NASA doesn’t tell us!).
One second astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) and medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) are preparing for a safe landing, and the next they are being attacked by space debris from another failed space mission—leaving the two detached from the shuttle spiraling out of control, even encountering run-ins with their dead space mates. The two must do everything they can to find the rest of their crew or possibly connect to a foreign space shuttle—which, kind of hard when you’ve got 5% oxygen levels left and you’re being tossed around in total darkness.
Four and a half years in the making, Gravity’s visuals are pure magic. Combining a variety of effects like computer animation and principal photography with another touch of re-animating, Alfonso Cuarón and his talented team (including cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki) were on point with the storytelling of physics. As far as the actual plot goes, it’s a fairly simple survival story that you’ve seen many times before, except for the outside world conditions, of course.
So if you’re in it just to pin point mathematical and situational errors, probably avoid Gravity and stick to watching official NASA footage. But if you want to see a movie that’s a true rarity to see at the theater (BONUS: James Cameron called it the “best space film ever done”), I’d say the extra cash is worth it to see Gravity IMAX-style. Enjoy this one while it lasts, too, because it’s more than likely this specialty sets the bar for all future space movies to come.
(photo via Slate)