‘Gravity’ Does Not Let Down

Breathtaking and nerve-wracking, it is no wonder that “Gravity” has a 97 percent “Fresh” rating on movie review website Rotten Tomatoes. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, it is also number one in box offices, having grossed $179,514,361 as of Oct. 24 (Box Office Mojo) despite being released only on Oct. 2 in the United States.

I went into seeing “Gravity” with moderately high expectations, having heard good things about it from friends but not quite knowing what it was about. I left feeling satisfied and really in awe of space.

The compelling nothingness that is outer space is where the movie “Gravity” takes place. In the movie, Russia launches rockets to destroy one of their own satellites, creating space debris that hurtles towards a team of astronauts that are orbiting earth on the space shuttle Explorer, checking up on the Hubble Space Telescope. The debris hits the Explorer and Ryan Stone (played by Sandra Bullock) is flung out away from the shuttle. Fellow astronaut Matt Kowalski (played by George Clooney) ventures out on a sort of space jet-pack to bring her back. Before they can get back to safety, the Explorer is destroyed and the two of them, although together, are suddenly stranded. Stone and Kowalski find themselves fighting against time to get back home.

“Gravity” reminded me a lot of “Life of Pi” (2012) in that both of them are very visually striking. Stone, in her tidy white space suit, drifts further and further away from the audience towards the void black of space and countless shining stars. The gentle curve of the earth serves as a stoic background to the chaos of an exploding space station. “Gravity” is one of those movies that one should try to see in theaters because the huge screen really helps capture the beauty of it.

But the cinematography is not the only remarkable thing about this space adventure. Being a drama-thriller, this movie keeps you on edge the whole way through. You will be kept wondering if Stone is safe yet or will yet another disaster keep her from getting home? Oh, look, now everything’s on fire! In space! It seems that everything that could go wrong for Stone does go wrong. It was honestly very stressful to watch and I walked out of the theater feeling almost in need of a cup of tea or a warm bath to help calm me down.

Reflecting back on “Gravity,” one thing that bothered me was the improbability of the whole thing. Stone needs to travel from the International Space Station to the Chinese station, Tiangong. Unfortunately for her, the escape module she’s in has run out of fuel but after some oxygen-deprived hallucinations she realizes that she can use the landing jets to get to Tiangong. The reality of space is that it is infinitely huge, and going from Point A to Point B would be especially hard due to how the angle of the trajectory would need to be extremely precise in space.

There was essentially just two characters, only one of which had good development. In fact, the storyline was more or less Stone accepting the difficulties of her past, she just happens to be fighting for her life in space at the same time. Kowalski’s character felt too perfect to me: intelligent, brave, AND willing to sacrifice himself so another may live? Although there (most likely) are people like that in the world, I feel like that type of character is just not believable. Good characters have faults and the way that Kowalski was presented made it seem that he had none.

But “Gravity” is more than its scientific ignorance- it has likeable characters, an engaging plot and some stellar explosions. Besides, most movies do have scientifically incorrect or unlikely elements (just look at any movie with dramatic or huge explosions).

I think that “Gravity” is a wonderful movie to see, so long as you are not too nitpicky. I would definitely recommend seeing it if you like either Sandra Bullock, George Clooney or space. Because some of the definite highlights of the movie are the visual effects and the cinematography, seeing it in theaters and in 3-D will definitely add to the experience.