Friday, October 4, 2013

'Gravity'- A Space Flick to Keep You Strapped to the Edge of Your Seat!

In Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, Sandra Bullock plays Ryan Stone, an astronaut careening through space after an accident.

Ever since "Avatar", I've been patiently waiting for a movie that did justice to "Real 3D" and wasn't merely a 2 .5 D ripoff. Alfonso Cuarón's  film 'Gravity' more than qualifies and even surpasses 'Avatar' because it's set in space - 658 km above the Earth, and the viewer literally feels every twist and turn of the spacecraft, every lurch, gyration, leap and misstep - especially when one of more of the astronauts becomes untethered and is free floating. Several times, on account of the realistic effects (working platform rotating relative to the Earth below), I had to avert my vision in order to avoid motion sickness. That is how real the 3 dimensional effects were!  (The film is also available in IMAX 3D which, I am sure, accentuates the effects even more.)

The scene of Earth below conjoined with the closer field view of the two astronauts ('Matt Kowalski"  - George Clooney, and "Ryan Stone" - Sandra Bullock) puts the viewer right with them  at that altitude - looking down at the Earth, as Stone attempts to repair the Hubble telescope. Stone is a high profile medical engineer, and Kowalski is her "driver" as he puts it. It is up to her to get a critical panel interface installed within an hour....when all of a sudden.....well, you have to see the movie. But let me say it is the most realistic, physics-based science fiction film since '2001 - A Space Odyssey'.

In that sense, let us be clear that the laws and principles of physics are as much "co-stars" as the two headliners, Clooney and Bullock. Indeed, one might even go so far as to suggest the laws of physics steal every scene. How so? Because every scene is totally faithful to the effects that would occur in a gravity-free environment, from when bolts come loose, to when one of the astronauts sheds a tear, to when an attempt is made to open an air lock (on the space station nearby).

The film was four and a half years in the making, and you can see it with every scene in the meticulous attention to detail and particularly the harshness of the space environment.  The unrelenting tension in the movie - continually amped up by the REAL 3D effects- is triggered after debris from an exploded Russian satellite (the Russians destroyed it on account of  its having become unstable in orbit) crashes into their shuttle,  catapulting them into pure survival mode.

With oxygen rapidly depleting and time running out, Ryan and Kowalski must use a combination of flight training, physics and luck to get them back to safety. How they do it is the whole gist of the story, and I don't intend to spoil any of it for potential movie goers.

Suffice it to say, if you are into 3D special effects  - I am talking seriously realistic ones that make it seem as if you're right there amidst the action- then you need to see this flick! If you love settings in space, as I do, and are looking for a combination of Disney World space ride simulated adventure and taut story, don't miss 'Gravity'.

It not only kept us bolted to our seats for 90 minutes, but totally took our minds off politics and the ongoing shutdown of the government, and that's saying a lot!

This is one movie you will not mind spending $9.75 to see (matinee), to obtain genuinely 3D special effects that will make you dodge objects coming at you when you least expect it!

Oh, and it might be a good idea to have gravol handy just in case!

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