We went to see Gravity on Friday night, finally. I’m not going to get into the scientific inaccuracies (Phil Plait, who is far more qualified for it than I am, has already done that), I’m just going to say that it was spectacular.
Gravity is not a movie that’s heavy on plot or even dialogue. There’s a LOT of footage of Sandra Bullock just breathing. And somehow, it all manages to be very, very character heavy. The cast consists of seven actors and a truly ludicrous number of visual effects people. It’s personal on a level that very few movies manage and scary on a level that very few horror movies manage without actually aiming for it like horror movies do. It’s incredibly beautiful like only the world in space can be beautiful and the sound design is brilliant.
You should see it, see it now, and see it in 3D. Seriously. This is one of the VERY few movies in which having it in 3D makes a world of difference. (Although if you’re one of the unlucky who get nauseous from the use of shakycam, you want to be prepared to have your eyes closed every once in a while).
With that out of the way, the rest is rather spoilerrific. You have been warned.
I need to geek out about the cinematography for a while, because I can’t help it. Sandra Bullock’s character, Dr Stonebegins the movie rather sad and small and insignificant despite being one of the Chosen Few who get to go out into space. This is shown throughout the first half of the movie in how she’s shot. Even when her face fills half of the screen, the rest is used to show just how small she is by showing it against the Earth far below her. This changes when she decides to head for the Chinese space station. From that moment on, she looks bigger, even in relation to the Sojuz, and when she gets to the shore back on Earth, she is shot as a giant. Not only a giant, but a hero. I would be lying if I said that that moment didn’t make me cry. The same trick was used brilliantly in 12 Angry Men and it still works brilliantly.
As if anyone needed it, this movie is also proof positive that Alfonso Cuarón could teach more than a thing or two to most male directors (especially J.J. Abrams) about how not to sexualize their female characters. Sandra Bullock spends maybe a third of the movie in only her underwear with a lot of footage where her hole body is in full view and none of it is objectified in any way. Even in the last scene where she is only in wet underwear, her body is only shown as hers, her way to interact with Earth and the world around her. And in a business where big science fiction movies always include at least one objectified female there’s something incredibly beautiful about it.
Last year was pretty great for movies but I think Gravity may just be the best of the lot.