For months, the only images that were available of Gravity were that of Sandra Bullock hurtling through space. The amount of hype this movie received seemed unreal and it looked like Gravity would not be able to deliver. Once Alfonso Cuaron’s movie debuted however, it quickly climbed to be the #1 Box Office movie.
The plot to Gravity is not too strong. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are two astronauts that become stranded in space after flying debris destroys their shuttle. The two astronauts are not only cut off from communication to and from Earth, but they are left stranded in space with very limited oxygen and even more limited options. So right away this becomes a mash up of Cast Away (2000) and Apollo 13 (1995). Despite the weak plot, Cuaron does an excellent job of using great cinematic elements to complement the themes in the movie. Sandra Bullock also did a phenomenal job of portraying her character’s emotions throughout the film. Clooney also played to his strengths and actually fit into his character perfectly. This film being very character driven, having these actors play their parts well was important.
The visual elements of Gravity were breathtaking and I don’t think anyone can deny that. I had the privilege of watching it in IMAX 3D and I was not disappointed. I’m personally not fond of any movie that uses 3D but Gravity did not rely on it. The 3D element did not overpower the movie but rather, complemented it. The film would have been just as great if it had been in 2D.
Themes were the most important part of Gravity. If it weren’t for these themes that were placed across the movie, the visual effects and acting would not have saved this film. The main themes that caught my attention were that of survival and birth.
The opening line of the movie, if I recall correctly, was “Life in Space is Impossible.” This little line tells the viewer how much the odds are going to stack against the characters. Once the debris sets events in motion, the ordeals that the astronauts face seem unlikely and even impossible to overcome. But despite how impossible it may have seemed, life persisted to existed. This was not just a character’s journey to survive, it also seemed to parallel how mankind struggled to survive despite all odds placed against it.
The next theme in the movie was that of (re)birth. This was probably the most prevalent of all themes in the movie. Ryan Stone (Sandara Bullock) has to deal with some inner demons throughout the plot. Eventually she begins to “let go” of her past and overcomes her struggles. This may not seem like such a deep theme but the way it’s presented is overwhelmingly beautiful. It begins with a shot of Sandra Bullock in a position that can no doubt be a comparison to a womb. After that there is a sort of growing phase where our character is faced with the choice of fighting for survival or facing death. This theme of birth, just like the theme of survival, beautifully continues until the end.
Gravity did not fail to live up to the hype that it got. It was not the most impressive plot but it was a great example of what can happen when there is a unison between themes and cinematography. Alfonso Cuaron did not just create a story of survival, he orchestrated an ode to mankind.
Rockit Raccoon Rating : 9
Rotten Tomatoes: 97 %