I wasn't going to watch Gravity (2013, Rated PG-13, Available On DVD). It's just a boring movie about a couple of people floating around in space, right?
But then Gravity won seven Academy Awards, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron (the first Hispanic person to win the award), and I decided I'd better check it out.
I'm glad I did. It's beautifully made.
Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a medical engineer, is on her first space shuttle mission with astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) in command. During what should be a routine space walk, the shuttle is destroyed. Stone and Kowalski float off into the blackness of space, seemingly without any hope of rescue.
The special effects and lighting in this movie are gorgeous. The Internet Movie Database explains:
Alfonso Cuarón, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, and visual effects supervisor Tim Webber decided they couldn't make the film they wanted using traditional methods. For the space-walk scenes, says Webber, "We decided to shoot (the actors') faces and create everything else digitally." To do that, Lubezki decided he needed to light the actors' faces to match the all-digital environment. Whether the characters were floating gently, changing direction or tumbling in vacuum, the facial light would need to perfectly match Earth, Sol and the other stars in the background. "That can break easily," explains Lubezki, "if the light is not moving at the speed that it has to move, if the position of the light is not right, if the contrast or density on the faces is wrong." Lubezki suggested folding an L.E.D. screen into a box, putting the actor inside, and using the light from the screen to light the actor. That way, rather than moving either Sandra Bullock or George Clooney in the middle of static lights, the projected image could move while they stayed still. The "light box", key to the space-walk scenes was a nine-foot cube just big enough for one actor.
More important to me, though, are the themes in the movie. The director and many other people seem to focus on the theme of rebirth. I can understand that, but I see Gravity more as a film about uncaring nature. The romantic poets, such as William Wordsworth, focused on the interaction between the pastoral and the individual. Remember Wordsworth's Intimations of Immortality?
Though nothing can bring back the hour Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower; We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind
Later poets focused more on nature being nature and not something that relates to us. Let's take Wallace Stevens' The Snow Man as an example:
"One must have a mind of winter/To regard the frost and the boughs/Of the pine-trees crusted with snow . . . . "
In other words, we impose order on the natural world. The making of a snow man is an act of imposing the imagination on nature and giving it shape and form.
For all the beauty that Stone and Kowalski see in space, nature does not care about them:
[opening title card]: At 600KM above planet Earth the temperature fluctuates between +258 and -148 degrees Fahrenheit. There is nothing to carry sound. No air pressure. No oxygen. Life in space is impossible.
I wouldn't show this movie to young children. I think it would frighten them. But it should be okay for older children and teens. It has some profanity, but nothing they don't hear at school. :-(I felt a little glow and a touch of magic after I watched Gravity, which earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval.Happy Viewing!Infinities of love,I don't know why these great big spaces are here between my valediction and name and I can't get them to behave and I want my breakfast, so this post is staying the way it is.Janie Junebug
One day I was trying to decide between this movie and another . . . 12 Years a Slave. I searched all over your blog looking for this review. Couldn't find it. Another blogger bud recommended the other movie, so I watched that. Needed some prozac after that! Maybe I'll give it a try. I sent the CD back to Netflix a while back, unwatched.ReplyDelete
Gravity has some tense, sad moments, but on the misery scale, it can't compare to 12 Years a Slave. 12 Years a Slave didn't bother me all that much (except for Patsy) because I knew what to expect. If you ever want to know about a movie and I haven't reviewed it, you can email me and ask if I've watched it. It's been more than a month since I saw Gravity and I'm just now getting around to it. I have dozens of movie reviews in my head and some of them will never be written.Delete
I heard it was a good movie. Like almost all movies, I haven't seen it. I need to start watching more movies soon. I have a lot of catching up to do.ReplyDelete
I try to watch all the movies that are nominated for Academy Awards.Delete
One of my daughters also recommended this, but I've not seen it. It also can remind us of the fragility of life. I love scifi, so maybe one day. . .ReplyDelete
Yes, the fragility of life is a good way to put it.Delete
I can't agree with you on this one, or with most of the critics who loved this movie. I nearly fell asleep several times and the ending was a huge disappointment. I will say that this was the best use of 3-D I've seen so far.ReplyDelete
I've never seen a movie in 3-D. I think it would be distracting.Delete
I thought it was a great movie! ;)ReplyDelete
I'm glad you liked it. IMDb gives it a very high rating.Delete
I've seen Gravity three times. It's a well-done movie!ReplyDelete
Did you see it in 3-D in a theater?Delete
I've not seen Gravity, but shall rectify that situation in the not too distant future. Love Sandra Bullock.ReplyDelete
Sandra Bullock is excellent in this role. She was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award. She didn't win, but Alfonso Cuaron paid her tribute in his Best Director speech.Delete
So is it a movie about two people floating in space? I was picturing it being like that movie "Open Water," which was kind of torture to watch! In Open Water, two people are on a scuba diving trip when the boat leaves without them. There they are, in the middle of the ocean, for the rest of the movie. Not fun!ReplyDelete
No, they're not just floating in space. I saw most of Open Water on TV. I thought it was kind of junky. Gravity is intelligent, tense, and touching. I don't remember who was in Open Water, but Gravity has Sandra Bullock and Gorgeous George Clooney. Need I say more?Delete
OK, now I have to see that movie. You haven't steered me wrong yet moviegirl.ReplyDelete
Now that's a compliment. Thank you.Delete
I haven't watched this one, yet. I think I kind of had the same feeling as you, before you watched it. The concept seems like it would be boring, like Castaway. Everyone I know raves about Gravity, and after reading your review, I might just have to check this out. Another thing, I HATE 3-D movies. They give me motion sickness. Give me straight up high-def and I'm good. Thanks for another helpful review. :)ReplyDelete
If 3-D movies give you motion sickness, then I definitely will not go to them. My stomach rebels at such strange sights and movements.Delete
I love Sandra Bullock, but I have to disagree with you on this one. It just didn't do much for me. Fantastic visual effects, even though I didn't see it in 3D and watched it at home (Netflix). To me it was just so-so and I wondered what all the hoopla was about. Maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind or something, but I usually enjoy movies that make you think--and I loved Castaway and All Is Lost, etc. ??ReplyDelete
I didn't think I'd like it. It was Bullock's performance and the association with poetry that I discovered that put me on the affirmative side.Delete
I haven't seen the movie doubt I will since I rarely watch movies I just don't seem to have the time to do soReplyDelete
You spend most of your time helping your family.Delete
Yeah, I watched Gravity on my phone, like the filmmakers intended it.ReplyDelete
I'm so relieved that someone understands Cuaron's intent.Delete