Sunday, October 6, 2013

Gravity (2013)

"Clear skies with a chance of satellite debris"

What makes Gravity one of the best in the history of space exploration-themed sci-fi movies? It pulls you in. The visuals will enrapture you, the score will mesmerize you, and aside from that, there's an emotional pull - you're not just feeling the action, but you're also feeling the terror & threat that Bullock is experiencing. At last, a space movie that deserves to be recognized for its grandeur alongside Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. I won't compare the two because that's not fair, all I'm saying is that after all these years, finally we have a movie in this era that has a vision pretty much like what Kubrick did in 1968. And I'm so happy I have witnessed this in the cinema (and in IMAX). I thought it's gonna be a sucky movie experience because behind me, there were three girls with foreigner boyfriends chatting non-stop, and passing the vinegar (yes! you heard me!) for their isaw (chicken intestines) or chicharon (I'm not even kidding), but when the movie started - complete silence. And not another word about the damn vinegar all throughout the film. That's how powerful the opening sequence was. It makes you forget about vinegar.

A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.
Directed by:  Alfonso Cuaron
Written by: Alfonso Cuaron and his son Jonas 
Music by:  Steven Price
Cinematography by:  Emmanuel Lubezki
Starring:  Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Running Time:  91 minutes

"Houston, I have a bad feeling about this mission."  George Clooney playing veteran astronaut, Matt Kowalski, is as usual, being George Clooney. Dandy, wisecracking, charming. A portrayal, while it was passable, fit for another actor of similar style and the first choice for this role - Robert Downey Jr.. Of course I may be biased because I absolutely adore RDJ and I would sell my soul for him (but that's another story), but I seriously think that he would have given more depth to Kowalski, despite of the character's obviously flippant nature. 

Now let's talk about Sandra Bullock. Yes, America's Sweetheart and one of the most consistently likeable (and bankable) actresses in Hollywood. I've read somewhere (I can't remember the link, but this will do)  that there were other actresses slated for the role of Dr. Ryan Stone, with Angelina Jolie & Natalie Portman on the top list. While I love these two actresses, after seeing Bullock's performance, I can't picture Jolie, Portman, Johansson or any other bigshot actresses that Cuaron or Warner Bros. would have preferred, to pull off what Bullock did. I just can't. Jolie would have projected another image; probably a kick-ass, cool, genius doctor, spouting one-liners and probably would save all the astronauts and all the satellites in space and would still manage to show us a glimpse of her derriere.  Bullock's likeability made it easier for the audience to relate to her story. Her skills as an actress made the terror her character is experiencing so tangible that I felt I too was stranded in that vast, dark, scary void we call space. Bullock spent six months in physical training (accdg. to IMDb) and that is evident in the film. Her movements were graceful and felt natural. It added to the realistic vibe that she is indeed floating in space. Another reason why she is perfect for the role is her flexibility in portraying a nervous first-timer (in space that is) with a past that made her how she is in the first half of the movie, and to being "reborn" finally embracing her kick-ass side. Her determination to fight, to survive, and to come home. She has delivered the thematic vision of Cuaron. So yes, Sandra Bullock is perfect for this role. Woof woof!

Bullock's backstory (which I didn't enjoy hearing about) made Gravity a typical sci-fi film banking on human elements (the opposite of Kubrick's baby), but on the other hand, Bullock's execution made it one of the film's stronger points. I didn't like her speech (talking to Kowalski about him meeting her daughter) as she was about to take off - I mean that was just too much talking. Even when she's already low on oxygen, she was still talking. But that's just a minor issue. It's me, not Cuaron. Other than that, I totally love this movie.

Oh and by the way, there are several shots of a floating pen, and it greatly reminded me of the pen in 2001:  A Space Odyssey. I think it has a similar design (I'm not sure), and if it is, then that's a great way to pay homage to the king of all sci-fi/space movies.

In conclusion, Gravity, with all its innovations, stunning visuals & apt musical score, add in Bullock's highly satisfying portrayal is a movie that you shouldn't miss. Kudos to Cuaron (and his technical team) for making a movie so terrifying and claustrophobic (to think that you will feel that in such a vast territory) and yet so amazingly beautiful that you just can't let go. This is easily one of the best movies in 2013. It's just something new to a moviegoer's senses. Given that there are reminiscent shots/feel from 2001, but Gravity is a movie that stands on its own. I highly suggest you watch it in the big screen (in 3D if possible), either way whether you like it or not, at least you have witnessed a film that's gonna be a classic and a benchmark for space movies in the years to come.

My Rating: 4.5/5 - Watch it in 3D. Just watch it, damn it! (melodramatic voice).  It's worth it. Save your ticket stubs. 
It's a cool souvenir ;)

Here are 10 Things to Know about Gravity from Mental Floss.

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  1. Wow!!!!! Outstanding, and well done review.... I want to watch this film now, just because of your perfection in describing its brilliance.... Thanks :)

  2. The film was a visually stunning masterpiece. It was the closest I have ever felt to being and astronaut in space! I loved the universal themes in the film when it comes to faith and spirituality. The camera work in the film was mind-bending with no limitations. Afterwards, I learned that almost everything in the film, with the exception of the actors faces, is GC! I really could not tell, it all looks so realistic and beautiful! I will also say that I have never known such heart pounding
    stress in a film. It was a non-stop nail biter! It is my favorite film of all time out of the hundreds of films have seen.It was the most immersive experience I have ever had at the cinema.

    1. Yes, it's truly an amazing experience to have watch this film in the cinema! It's just something else.. really unforgettable. That's the power of cinema. I just wonder how Gravity will be seen by future generations? Will it be as dated as say sci fi movies from the 80s?

    2. I think it is timeless and people will be watching it for years to come!



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