By Shelby Parker
“Gravity,” the new thriller starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, has been the talk of fans in Hollywood, social media and fans since its box office opening on Oct. 4. It raked in $55.6 million its opening weekend, with 80 percent of that coming from the 3D sales, according to NBC News. It doesn’t look like ticket sales will be slowing down anytime soon.
I’m normally one who sticks to romantic comedies, but Sandra Bullock is my favorite actress, so I wanted to go a bit out of my comfort zone and give this one a shot. The equipment and techniques they used to shoot the movie allowed the audience to feel as though they really were floating in space, not knowing from minute to minute what was going to happen next. I never really felt like I was watching a movie, I felt like I was part of the journey.
At first glance from the previews, the movie might not seem all that thrilling due to the fact that there are only two people shown floating around in space. I mean, what kind of story line can they possibly build around that? Thanks to the brilliance of the directing, acting and visual effects, it will have you on the edge of your seat the entire time. Think of it as a 91-minute roller coaster ride in the world of outer space that is a little more intense than Space Mountain at Disneyland.
The plot centers around medical engineer, Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), who is on her first trip to space, alongside Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), a professional astronaut who has made several trips to space prior to this expedition. Not long into the movie, they get a notice from Houston that a Russian satellite has exploded, and pretty soon, debris is flying right toward them, causing them to lose their ship. The two of them are then stranded, trying to survive and make it out alive. There is never a dull moment from the time the characters fade in to the time the end credits roll.
Though the camera angles made me a bit dizzy at times, with Clooney and Bullock constantly spinning and turning about, it was one of the features that made it extremely realistic. It was also an interesting perspective when they’d switch from third person, viewing from the outside to seeing what Ryan sees from inside her helmet, as if you were role-playing for a few minutes.
What I found interesting is that most movies tend to rely on music playing in the background to build the climax or to make a scene more dramatic. However, this movie opted to moments of silence to build the suspense, and it worked. There is only one song used in a couple scenes of the movie, and that is Hank Williams Jr.’s, “Angels Are Hard to Find,” in the more silent scenes, where not much is going on.
Clooney’s character, Kowalski, is like the human version of Buzz Lightyear in the film, adding a bit of humor and trying to lighten the mood for Stone, which I enjoyed. But, the true star of the film is Bullock, who pulls a Tom Hanks in “Castaway” for most of the film, and truly embodies this character. It amazes me that she can go from playing silly characters in movies like “Miss Congeniality” and “The Heat,” to something with depth and a real back story that you get to see unfold as the movie plays out.
The film’s director, Alfonso Cuaron was also amazed by Bullock’s acting abilities, saying, “I always knew the amazing truthfulness she brings to a performance, but I was not prepared for her amazing discipline and precision,” according to Daily Mail UK.
While there is plenty of action and many scenes that will have you holding your breath, wondering just how the movie is going to play out, I enjoyed most was the larger than life themes. It’s about second chances at really living your life and that no matter what the outcome of your circumstance is, just enjoy the ride.