When I first heard about the Alfonso Cuarón movie Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, and the voice of Ed Harris, it sounded like a space version of Open Water and I wasn’t interested. I heard that it was stunning to see on the big screen or in iMax format but I managed to resist. I later heard that Clooney was killed near the beginning of the movie like Steven Seagal in Executive Decision and that almost made me want to see it. I still managed to resist. Now that it’s out on video I set aside a couple hours and put it on. Actually, the movie was only 90 minutes long.
The first 12½ minutes of the film is one continuous long take. I thought the scenery was beautiful but I was too distracted by Cooney’s MMU antics. There’s very little character development before the incident happens. We see the Space Shuttle Explorer on mission STS-157. Note that the Shuttle program ended in 2011 on STS-132 and the Explorer is now on display in Houston and renamed the Independence. We’re expected to believe that this story is taking place in the near future when, probably around 2022 when the Chinese space station Tiangong (天宫) will be open.
Yes, it is like Open Water and All is Lost. The story ignores orbital mechanics and the laws of physics but in the end you just don’t care. Bullock’s character decides to survive and we see her emerge literally from the incident safely on the Earth. The way that Clooney’s character dies is just stupid. All Bullock had to do was flick a finger and he would have been saved. I think she let him die on purpose so she could have the second half of the movie all to herself.
If you can ignore the science problems with the story then it is very pretty to look at. It’s like an amusement park ride. Just enjoy it. It’s worth a rental if you have a nice big screen to watch it on.