Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Released: October 4, 2013
Viewed in theaters: October 12, 2013
It's too bad the Academy were falling all over themselves to give Sandra Bullock the Best Actress Oscar a few years back for a role that wasn't very memorable in a mediocre movie. If only they had waited, they could have given her the Best Actress Oscar for Gravity, an Oscar win that would be much more deserved and revered. But she could always pull a Hilary Swank or Christoph Waltz and win a second Oscar just a few years after winning her first.
I will be the first one to tell you that I'm not a fan of 3-D and will only see it if it's highly recommended (Avatar) or I have to (Titanic re-release (damn you, James Cameron!)) I have to say, though, that this was probably the best use of 3-D I've ever seen and I kinda forgot I was even wearing the glasses after awhile. Usually they're bugging me and I'm taking them off because I'm one of those weird people who have to take off the glasses to see what the movie looks like if you're not wearing them.
The very first shot is the looming Earth and you see a very small speck moving slowly and gradually getting bigger as it gets closer. You quickly notice there's an even smaller speck behind the already small speck and the closer it gets, you realize it's a space craft with astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) attached to it with a long cord in his space suit. With the 3-D effect, he seems to come out of the screen and hover over the audience. It's really cool how the 3-D is used.
Kowalski and Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) are in space to...do something important. To be honest, I have no idea. Even though I find the solar system fascinating, I am not a NASA nut. Whatever it was, they needed Stone's expertise as she was the one who was using tools to put something together. Keep in mind while Kowalski was a veteran astronaut, this was Stone's first time in space. They are there with another man who doesn't have much screen time. Make that as you will.
They hear a warning from the mission control headquarters (voiced by Ed Harris, do you think it is a coincidence that he was also in The Right Stuff and Apollo 13?) that a Russian missile strike has caused a chain reaction that has caused space debris. Do I have any idea if this is even plausible? No, of course not! They are told to abort their mission but don't have enough time to avoid the debris. There's a lot of it (and some pieces are quite huge) and it's coming up fast on them.
Stone's cord becomes detached and she just goes tumbling head over heels for what seems like an eternity. She was already feeling nauseous to begin with so just watching her tumble like that, you know she's gotta be feeling like she's on one of those amusement park rides that spin you around, but just multiply that by ten! I wonder what happens if astronauts have to throw up...luckily that didn't happen! This movie really makes you appreciate just how big space is and how much....space there is (in space!). One is just an infinitesimal speck in space. Her oxygen is getting low and the more she is moving away from the base, the more it seems impossible she can be retrieved. It has to be a scary feeling when you can't control your movements and there's nothing you can do about it. This happens very early in the movie and I was thinking that she was going to get to far away, lose her oxygen and die and that this would be the shortest movie ever. Miraculously, Kowalski gets in contact with her and asks her to flash her light and tethers her to him.
As they make their way back, Kowalski keeps Stone talking to calm her down and we learn that she had a young daughter who died in a playground accident. This will come up later in the film as Stone is struggling with trying to survive and making it back to Earth or accepting death and being able to join her daughter soon.
This is a very tense movie and it moves quickly. One thing after another happens. Just when you think there's a chance for them to get back home, something happens, they fix that problem, but then another problem arises until you think there's no way they will ever make their way home. Now, what are you waiting for? Go see this movie if you haven't yet! And if you haven't seen it, stop reading this right now!
SPOILERS....DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!
Okay, so George Clooney is not in this movie very long and this movie belongs all to Sandra Bullock. When she is in the Chinese (or was it the Russian?) shuttle, ready to give up because she's out of fuel and she's ready to accept her fate and just die and we see Kowalski come into the chamber and tell her another option she has, for just a moment, I was really happy that he was back and that she didn't have to go through this alone and would have some moral support to get home, but then I realized, duh, it was obviously just a dream or a hallucination. Several hours had passed and there's no way Kowalski would still be alive (ugh, I just realized that his dead body would be up there floating in space...creepy...) and even if he was, there would be no way he could find his way to the shuttle Stone was in because space is huge! So, yeah, for just a few seconds, they got me.
Also, Dr. Stone was very lucky when she landed that she ended up in water (which would have been the higher probability because isn't the ratio of land to water 70/30?), but she ends up in a lake that is very close to land. I was worried that she was going to have to swim a long ways and would get too tired and drown, but no, just a couple strokes and she's to the shore!
Oh, and when the third astronaut (who doesn't last very long) is shown, obviously dead with his helmet cracked, I gave an audible "Ugh!" That was not a pretty sight! If I want to see some creepy, freaky outer space movie, I can always watch Event Horizon!