Gravity – the sublime terror


The choice for the night’s movie is either About Time or Gravity. I search both the films up on Google; one’s a romantic-comedy, and the other is a sci-fi thriller. Remembering my last experience with a sci-fi movie (Oblivion), I opt for the rom-com. When Gravity wins the majority vote, I inwardly groan.

“Please don’t let there be aliens and laser guns,” I had thought as I entered the theater. To my relief, there were none – and to my great appeasement of not having watched the movie I initially wanted, Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity was a spectacular, heart-stopping thriller. Even with an urgent bathroom break necessary, I didn’t dare leave my seat for fear of missing another nerve-wracking moment or beautiful space scenery – that, and my hands were also gripping the arm rests too hard to dislodge.

Gravity starts with a routine space walk. Medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock, and veteran commander Matt Kowalsky, played by George Clooney, are carrying out their mission on the Hubble Space Telescope. The two become the only survivors of the team when disaster literally strikes, and the “thriller” part of the movie comes into play as they fight for their lives. The set up is perfect: No audience could possibly enjoy the scenery while their heart is spluttering from the suspense – so the tranquil portion before the disaster amply shows off the superior cinematography.  Close-ups of the astronauts’ faces give a more dramatic aspect as they reveal their emotions as well as the reflection of the galaxy. Realistic scenes of Earth and space suck viewers into the setting.  Along with the eerie silence and darkness, it’s mesmerizing.

– At least until debris moving at speeds faster than a fired bullet comes ripping through the space shuttle. Then, as previously emphasized, it’s non-stop stunning action. A new emotion emerges not just in the characters, but also in the viewers: fear. Much of the scenery is simply black emptiness, and yet, it brings more terror than any fiery hell scene.  It’s a setting that no one can truly imagine. All motion that applies to Earth is changed in the unforgiving nature of space while Bullock battles the laws of physics.

Of course, Gravity is not without flaws. Both Sandra Bullock’s and George Clooney’s characters lacked development. It’s forgivable, however, as character development is limited in a movie that eventually consists of one lone survivor. What was not forgivable was Clooney’s cringe-worthy statement, “This is gonna be a wild ride!”, and other sub-par script. There were flaws in the realism as well; space debris does not wreak havoc only when, nor every time, someone is in a precarious situation. According to physics George Clooney did not have to die, and it is doubtful that it takes 5 seconds to “zip up” an astronaut suit.

Don’t let the flaws stop you from watching the movie though. The superb acting, scenery, and thrill completely overshadow the mistakes – mistakes that are inevitable in Hollywood movies. This top-rated film is indeed the perfect combination of beauty and terror that is well worth the money, as well as the extra ten dollars to watch it in IMAX 3D.

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