Who else would you want to be stuck up in space with other than good ol’ George and Sandra?
In space, no one can hear you scream. Or hell, they can’t hear you do much of anything if you’re stranded out in the middle of the vast universe, which is what happens to both to rookie medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and smart and skilled Commander Matt Kowalksky (George Clooney). After debris from a nearby crash comes to attack their ship, both are left not having any damn clue as to what the hell to do except trust one another and use each other’s skills to the best of their ability. The only problem is that she’s always panicking and not ready for this type of excitement and havoc, hence why it makes the job of getting home safe and sound a bit harder. However, if Stone can reach deep down inside, to the inner-levels of her soul, she’ll find a brave woman that’s ready to fight for her life.
As you can see, I definitely tried my hardest right there to stretch this out as possible as I could, but in case you’re still confused, let me lay down the law for you like this: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney get lost in space. There, that’s it. In a nutshell! Bada-bing! Bada-boom! Seems simple enough, right? Well, it totally is, but what makes this movie not-so simple in its own way is that it’s directed by Alfonso Cuarón who, if you don’t know already, has a keen-eye for detail and finding the inner-most beauty in anything he’s filming.
He did it with the near-catastrophic, post-apocalyptic vision of the world in Children of Men; he did it with a bunch of horny Mexicans venturing all throughout paradise with Y Tu Mamá También; and hell, he even did it with A Little Princess, showing us the imaginative mind of a young girl! So why the hell not space? I mean, there’s simply nowhere else for the guy to go out and explore except for up, up, and up. However, if anybody can make a 90-minute-movie dedicated solely to getting lost in space and somehow make it appealing both visually and emotionally, then it is sure as hell him.
Where Cuarón excels in the most, above all else, is his vision. The movie really does seem like it was filmed somewhere up in outer space and doesn’t make you think twice about what you’re watching, where you’ve been placed, and just how you got there. This movie could have easily gone down the “Hollywood route” and made this come off as just two big-time stars getting lost in space while looking as bright and as beautiful as possible, but Cuarón wouldn’t have it that way, and that’s exactly the way he got. Just the way space itself looks, from the alignment of the stars, to the way the planets spin so slowly, you just feel as if you are lost in space along with these characters, and begin to expect the worst, but hope for the best. The camera glides all throughout this action as it’s happening, giving you the idea that not all thrillers need their cameras to be shaken until they break just to get a rise out of an audience. All you need is some simple tricks of the trade, an acute eye for what’s appealing, and a wonderful pair of ears that allows you to hear everything and anything, just as its happening. Almost as if, you got it, you were right there along for the adventure. I definitely sense plenty of Oscars for visual effects and all of that yiddy-yadda for this in the future, and I have no problem with that whatsoever because it’s obvious that Cuarón put a lot of work into the way this film looks, and he should definitely get some love and adoration for that.
However, it isn’t just looks all the way, there is actually a story to be had here, and as ordinary as it is, it still gets you and never lets loose of you the whole time.
Right as soon as we’re placed into this movie, automatically, we get a somewhere near-17-minute tracking-shot that did not lose my attention for a single second and needless to say, neither did the rest of the film. Once the ship is hit and these two get taken away from one another in space, you are brought right into the story, thinking of all the worst things possible that could happen, and are also left imagining what might happen next, regardless of whether or not this is a Hollywood production. You just automatically feel tense, as if there’s a knot in your stomach that won’t go away, and that’s what Cuarón wants. He isn’t necessarily playing with us, as much as he’s constantly spinning us around (sometimes literally), having us expect what we usually know from movies about survival in a not-so natural instinct, and continue to throw us curveball-after-curveball, while giving us the cheerful, happy moments we as an audience, oh so deserve.
You’ll feel tense at every step-of-the-way and if you can appreciate what Cuarón puts in front of you in terms of visual grandeur, then you’re going to love the hell out of how this movie makes you feel. It’s the go-to definition of what a big-budget, Hollywood movie, with big names, and an inspired premise, as simple as it may be, should to, and then some.
But here’s the weird thing about me and this movie: When I originally left the theater, I was automatically thinking 9, like how the hell could I not?!?! Not only was it a gut-punchingly tense movie, but it also had plenty of emotional moments that made it all the more compelling and easy to care about. But when I began to think about it, I started to think that some of the writing for this movie was in fact sloppy, and probably really manipulative. For instance, rather than giving the character of Ryan Stone the simple dilemma of having to try and get out of space in one piece and alive, she also had to have a kid of hers die and make her seemingly numb to the rest of the world that surrounds her. Not only is this is a bit hokey, but it seemed like such a lame-excuse to write Stone as someone more than just your average, ordinary astronaut; she just HAD to have a cause and/or reason for surviving, and that in and of itself felt a bit ham-handed, not something I’d expect from Alfonso Cuarón. Maybe from his son, Jonás (who he co-wrote this one with), would, but not Alfonso. I know him too well.
That said, I can’t take any of that away from Sandra Bullock at all considering that she gives a great performance that’s both physically, and emotionally demanding of her every talent. Bullock definitely shows hints of that inner-charm she has, but that’s all down-played to give us a female that won’t give up and stop fighting for her life, even when the obstacles set in front of her seem like they’re almost too mighty or powerful to hurdle-over. Stone sounds like a corny character, or maybe I just make her sound that way, but Bullock gives her a believeability to her that makes her easy-to-root-for and understandable as a human-being when she has to make some questionable decisions on her path to living. George Clooney is also very solid as the gruff, wiser astronaut of the two and displays that same old type of charm and likability that we love to see from the dude, and the scenes between him and Bullock make the friendship/relationship between these two characters seem more worth caring for. Now, why the hell these two won’t just get hitched and whisk off together in real-life, is totally beyond me! However, that’s for TMZ to gossip about. This is DTMMR, bitches! We couldn’t care less about that crap!
Consensus: Gravity may be stretched upon its very limits at times, but most of the time, it is a very compelling, intense, and utter-beauty of a flick that demands you pay attention to it, and feel like you’re along for the ride, even if you don’t want to be at times.
8.5 / 10 = Matinee!!