Continuing on in the journey of Oscar nominated films this year, and my thoughts about them, we head next into Gravity. My first impressions of Gravity, upon seeing the initial trailer, were of a strong mixed feeling about the project. Obviously I didn't know much about the movie or what it was going to be about, but between the crazy visual spectacles that were the action sequences, and the light touches into the story line, I had very conflicting thoughts. The visuals of space, and all of the crazy chaos were just phenomenal. However, the small peaks at what the story was about left a lot of doubt in my mind. How were they going to pull off a stranded in space story?
So, with enough doubt that I was given, I did end up skipping the movie theater experience. That isn't too much of a loss for me for two reasons; one, I can sink deep into a movie without the need for a huge screen, and two, between my sound system and my access to a very high quality 3D television, gaining the "real feel" experience doesn't take a trip down the road to my local Regal Cinema. In hinsight, I don't regret this decision, even despite the following review I am giving you right now.
The movie starts a bit beautifully, and abruptly. We are given some very excellent views of space and Earth, as we travel to the location where the story begins. The story jumps right to the mission without any explanation, however we can just assume that we will get it explained with some cunning exposition at some point. Not very long into us meeting the characters of the movie, we are struck with the primary event that sends the entire mission into turmoil. Missiles were shot and destroyed a Russion satellite, sending debris moving faster than bullets into an orbit around the Earth. Clearly, this poses a direrct danger to the NASA mission. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical scientist of some sort, if they explained exactly what she was, I totally missed it. She isn't an experienced astronaut, but NASA paired her with the token "this is my last mission before I retire" character named Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). After their ship is destroyed by the debris, they are set forth on a journey across space to find and board the Interrnational Space Station (ISS). I am going to leave it there, so I don't give away too many spoilers of the movie more than I already have.
Clearly, as mentioned, the visual effects of this movie were spectacular. There were very few innaccuracies about the actual "in space" experience. For example, sound does not travel through space because science, and they made sure that any sound you heard was based on vibration on the suit or inside any of the capsules the character(s) were in. I can say right here that I am very happy I did not watch this in 3D, because I am sure that I would have been quite terrified of the entire experience. I heard one of my scientific idols, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, talk with Buzz Aldrin all about this movie and more, and even they were pretty impressed by how well they did with it. I honestly would recommend watching this based solely on the space aspect, if not the story.
As far as the story goes, I can say I was a bit pleassantly surprised. I obviously had hesitations about it going in, based sheerly on the content in the trailers, but this time the trailers didn't really do it justice. The acting was surprisingly well done, and the story was extremely believable. George Clooney's character was very well written, as the cocky yet experienced astronaut with a clearly overused and "no longer funny" catch phrase. Sandra Bullock's character could use some more depth, but they did pretty good with what they were given.
This movie from beginning to end, is intense. That has been the best word I could come up with for it. It will definitely take you for a surprising ride, and by the end you will be relieved, actually relieved, like the whole harrowing experience actually happened. I definitely recommend watching this, but on top of that, I recommend purchasing it for your home movie collection as well. It is well worth the cost, and you will not regret it. Okay, okay, that is very presumptuous of my to assume. Of course, you may be one of the few that hated it, sure sure, but hey that's what movie rentals are for. I am not sure if this movie is available from Redbox as of yet, due to the ever wonderful limitations that can bring. If that is the case, hold off until it is, and rent it when it comes.
As far as the Oscar's are concerned, I would definitely put this into the category of "Best Picture" with the others. If only for the visual effects, but the plot didn't do much to bring it down, so kudos to Alfonso Cuarón for a spectacular film.