Believe the hype: ‘Gravity’ is the sci-fi experience of the year
October 10, 2013
Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” does what no other space sci-fi has achieved in recent movie history — it presents to the audience not just a visual spectacle but also an overwhelmingly frightening, yet pleasurable, experience.
Starring Sandra Bullock as biomedical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone and George Clooney as veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski, “Gravity” tells the gripping story of a normal space operation gone bad.
Visually, the movie is a stunning masterpiece and stands as a testament to the importance of a cinematic experience. From the beginning, “Gravity” hurtles the audience into a head-spinning journey to outer space. The camerawork and the panorama will take your breath away in the most literal sense, as the two spacefarers hover in zero gravity with emptying O2 supplies. Cuaron’s signature long single-shot takes also heighten the surreal movie experience — the 17-minute-long unbroken opening sequence adds a chilling reality that will keep you hanging onto your seat.
What is most satisfying about “Gravity,” however, is that beneath all the high-tech drama of space disaster, there is an earthly emotional undertone. Like a musical score, the movie flows effortlessly but with impact, with a spectacular intro that is followed by the deafening silence of space, interspersed with the fear of the impending climax. It is during these moments of calm, when Dr. Ryan Stone floats helplessly amid the stars gazing at the majestic Earth, that you will realize the essence of this movie. It is not a disaster film like “Titanic” or a heroic flick in the style of “Armageddon.” While hovering in deep space, “Gravity” tells a story of heavily grounded human values of love, survival and dreams.
Although it occasionally slides into the seemingly inevitable pitfall of generic sci-fi action cliches, “Gravity” makes up for it through masterful camerawork, seamless visuals and a layered script that will make you want to revisit the frames in your head over and over again.
“Gravity” marks Cuaron’s dramatic comeback seven years after the universally praised “Children of Men” (2006), and thus far the stars seem to have aligned for this daringly unconventional project — “Gravity” set the October box office record after earning a stunning $55.6 million over the weekend.
You might be tempted to wait for the Blu-ray release or even an online stream, but think again. “Gravity” is an experience not to be seen — but rather to be felt.