Writer: Naseem RandhawaWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"2001: A Space Space Odyssey", "Moon" & "Apollo 13"
Yes, the entire movie is based in space, and yes, there are only two faces that you would mostly see throughout it. In what could be the best movie delivered this year, Alfonso Cuarón "Gravity" is an enthralling visual spectacle which save to say, is unlike anything you've ever seen before.
From the very beginning we are brought to space and no time is wasted as we meet the crew of a Space Shuttle mission; country music loving veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), a nervous medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) on her first space mission, and an Indian or Pakistani member of the mission, Shariff, whom producers found to be so irrelevant that they didn't bother showing his face. When the lighthearted introductory moment in space suddenly shifts when debris from a nearby satellite come speeding like bullets, that's when things get so catastrophically scary, that from that time onwards, audiences will be at the edge of their seats hoping that the astronauts somehow survive the ordeal, despite the harrowing problems that seem to come for them again and again like a domino effect when the gathering debris in Earth's orbit hits other satellites as well.
This father-son production, for which director Alfonso Cuarón ("Black Swan") co-wrote the screenplay with his son, Jonás, seems like it was written for Sandra Bullock, which is a good thing, because despite the story being about two astronauts, it is completely a main meal of Bullock with Clooney on the side. Since no time was spent exploring the character's backstories via flashbacks or lengthy 'getting-to-know-you' scenes, it was crucial that the filmmakers got a very likeable actress to fit the role for whom people can already relate to from the start and Bullock was a fine choice indeed. The same likeability factor applies for the male lead, George Clooney, who is also another affable personality in Hollywood. But despite Clooney's wit and charming character, he is no match for Bullock, and one can help to wonder if the movie could be better than it already is if the originally planned male lead, Robert Downey Jr. didn't pull out from the project. The same can't be said for the original lead Angelina Jolie though (who pulled out because the studio didn't want to pay her USD20 million fee) as audience relate-ability has never been her strong suit.
Perhaps the greatest challenge of filming this movie was to make explosions and objects disintegrating in vacuum, look and feel colossal enough without sound, because in space, as we all know, there is no sound. Thankfully "Gravity's" marriage of physics and suspense, is greatly enhanced thanks to composer Steven Price ("Attack The Block") whose music sounds like a mix of Clint Mansell ("Requiem For A Dream") and Trent Reznor ("The Social Network") with a dash of Hans Zimmer ("Inception"), who keeps the momentum of your heart throbbing to its haunting beat, making "Gravity" one of the most panic inducing films one has ever seen.
To say the 3D effects of the film are good, just does not suffice. It's not just bits and pieces of the film, but the whole film utilises the effect so well, that it'll be a shame to not watch it in IMAX 3D. We often see the movie through the eyes of Bullock via her breath fogged up helmet and her dips and journey in space, creates this out-of-body floating experience which may be nauseous for those with vertigo. Try hard to not flinch when objects come flying towards you on screen and you'll find it practically impossible. This is as close as you can get to experiencing zero gravity in virtual reality at its very finest.
Giving the Hollywood space genre a run for its money, "Gravity" has a definite pull factor so great that it claims its spot amongst the greats like; Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey", Ron Howard's "Apollo 13" and Duncan Jones much acclaimed debut, "Moon". This visually stunning film of the year defines the not often enough explored genre and deserves to be seen in IMAX 3D its full glory.Cinema Online, 29 September 2013