Check out Josh and Violet’s male vs. female perspective movie reviews on the space thriller, Gravity! The film, directed by Alfonso Cuaron, was an original story written by Alfonso Cuaron and his son, Jonas Cuaron, and stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Read on to see what the Mr. and the Mrs. thought about the film! If you haven’t seen Gravity yet, don’t worry, these reviews are spoiler-free!
His Gravity Review:
Gravity is a film one might first classify as a sci-fi genre film, but in my opinion, it is more of a thriller movie, and has a similar feel to it as Castaway, the Tom Hanks film where he becomes stranded on a island and talks to a volleyball. Gravity is directed by Alfonso Cuaron, and stars only two on screen actors: George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. The other well known actor heard is Ed Harris, but we only hear his voice, as he is communicating with Bullock and Clooney’s characters from Earth as Houston.
Since Comic-Con I have been giddy to see this movie. Space exploration is such a fun concept for me, so I was hoping this would be a great film. Now, back to why I do not classify this as a sci-fi film: Everything that happens in this film, and every action the characters take I feel is something that could already be done now. There’s no aliens, no futuristic technology, just a space shuttle in orbit around Earth. For those unfamiliar with the premise of the movie, Sandra Bullock and Clooney are working on some satellite device, when some space debris gets out of control, wreaking havoc on their shuttle. Losing communication with Houston, Sandra Bullock’s character, Ryan Stone, and George Clooney’s character, Matt Kowalski, are forced to figure out how to deal with their situation. Let me reiterate what their “situation” is: They are stranded in space with no way home! How much of a mind trip would that be? Just thinking about it is creepy. That is why I was hoping this film would be great. This is the type of “horror” movie I am interested in. Something truly unique, and an experience that plays on our more rational fears than ghosts, demons or other supernatural “events”.
Both Sandra Bullock and George Clooney nailed their roles. Clooney plays the veteran space walker, (who funny enough is out to break the record for the longest spacewalk for one person’s lifetime), who is charismatic, level headed, and perhaps a bit more carefree in a zero gravity environment than one would think. Meanwhile, Sandra Bullock plays the “green” spacewalker scientist-type, who is a nervous wreck, but is trying to keep it in check. When stuff goes down, this dynamic really takes off, and they really begin to play off each other in the film.
There is a big direction change in the film that I did not expect, which when it began, I thought might be a problem for the film as it happened, but Alfonso Cuaron knew where he wanted to go with this film, it seems, and I was happy to go right along with him. The best part about this film, is there wasn’t a whole lot I couldn’t believe actually happening.
The suspense in Gravity was beyond nail-biting as well. As the characters bounce around in space, hoping to not drift off into oblivion, I could not help but cringe as they would flail about in zero gravity, trying grasp any object they could. It is so hard to fathom lack of gravity, and this film does a great job of making you fear the blackness of space.
And of course, the Cuaron’s long shots make the film even more exciting. The initial scene of the catastrophe is one long take, that is breathtaking. I would literally be pivoting my torso with the camera leaning, hoping miraculously the objects would miss their inevitable targets. That is how invested in that scene I was. What makes this movie even more spectacular is learning how the scenes were done. If you are at all curious, I would recommend YouTubing a video of the Comic-Con panel for Gravity, as Alfonso Cuaron discusses the apparatuses that had to be constructed in order to achieve the weightless environment the film has.
I have to give this film a 9 out of 10. It was an amazing film, masterfully shot I felt, with a excellent story that drew me in more than movies have in a long time. It does have some flaws, which unfortunately I can’t go into too much detail without spoilers, but suffice it to say, they are petty issues when looking at the film as whole. Considering that I also loved Children of Men, another Alfonso Cuaron film, I really can’t wait to see what else he has in store for us.
Her Gravity Review:
When I first started seeing the teaser trailers for Gravity, I was interested in the premise, and thought it could be good. But then I kept seeing that same teaser trailer over and over again, which pretty much just featured Sandra Bullock’s panicked cries, and I started to get annoyed every time I saw it. However, when we went to San Diego Comic-Con, we attended a couple of panels featuring Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron. The first was the Visionaries panel, which included Cuaron and two other directors, and the other was the Gravity panel, which included Cuaron and Sandra Bullock. What Cuaron had to say about the movie during those panels really piqued my interest about the movie. Additionally, we got to watch a nice long clip from Gravity, which was really good, and made it look like the rest of the film was going to be as well, so by the time Comic-Con was over, I was very much anticipating this movie.
Gravity is about a crew of astronauts in space, working outside of their space shuttle, when they get word that some debris is headed their way. The crew includes Dr. Ryan Stone (played by Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (played by George Clooney). They try to pack up their stuff and get inside the shuttle, but the debris comes at them very quickly, and they don’t have much time to take cover. Things get knocked around, including Stone, and she finds herself adrift in space. I don’t want to ruin what happens next, so I’ll just say the rest of the film is about Stone and Kowalski fighting against the odds to survive this space catastrophe.
I thought it was pretty amazing. Although it was a bit of a stretch to believe Sandra Bullock as a biomedical engineer when she’s trying to act all technical, I thought she did a great job as Dr. Stone, although a bit overdramatic at times (such as her long panic attack that almost made me lose interest in seeing the movie initially, but placed in context during the film didn’t really bother me). I liked that her character was able to hold her own and make smart decisions in the face of immediate danger, even though some of those decisions were very difficult. Meanwhile, George Clooney pretty much played his usual charming, arrogant self, and therefore nailed it.
I liked how Cuaron tried to make things seems as realistic and believable as possible. For example, at Comic-Con, he talked about how there is no sound in space, so if there were an explosion, you wouldn’t be able to hear it. Additionally, there were several shots where we got to see from the perspective of the astronaut — from inside the helmet. I also liked how solutions don’t just come easy, that characters really have to work to accomplish the things that they want to get done, even if it’s life threatening. There was one scene where I questioned the credibility of what was happening, but my doubt was quickly resolved.
The imagery is beautiful. This movie makes you really want to go to space – but at the same time leaves you terrified of all the possibilities of what could go wrong. Each time Dr. Stone had to leave the spot she was at to propel herself to the next spot, I tensed up, cringing every single time, not knowing if she was going to make it or not. It was that intense. I highly recommend seeing the movie in IMAX 3D, on as big a screen as you can find. It really brings the movie to life, almost making you feel like you are really floating out there in space. (Tip: Not all IMAX screens are created equal. We saw it at Edwards Irvine, which is a true sized IMAX screen. However, the IMAX screens at theaters such as AMC Orange and Edwards Long Beach are significantly smaller. The only other true sized IMAX screens in Southern California are at Universal CityWalk, Rave 18 in Los Angeles, and Edwards Ontario.)
Going into films where there is a small cast of only one or two people, I’m always skeptical of how the movie could possibly entertain me for the full run time. Although parts of the movie are a little slow, I was pleasantly surprised by how consumed I was the entire time. Granted, only lasting an hour and a half, it is a bit on the short side, but still.
All in all, an unexpectedly pulse pounding, breathtaking ride that sucks you in very quickly, builds suspense without you even realizing it, and does not let you go until the very end.
My rating: 9/10