Gravity: An Uneven Pull

Due to a Russian missile striking a defunct satellite, a cloud of debris orbits in space, endangering the lives of astronauts Dr. Stone, played by Sandra Bullock, and Commander Matt Kowlaski, played by George Clooney, who are on an expedition. A “Mission Abort!” warning is issued by Mission Control and the two astronauts, along with their team, are commanded to return to the “Explorer” and head back home.

Director Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity”, a sci-fi movie set in space, is thrilling; at least initially. The beginning of the movie grabs the viewer’s attention, causing one to wonder if the astronauts will make it back to their shuttle in time and what the chances of their survival are. The story is intense, playing on the very fundamental human fear of being lost in space. After Stone is detached from her shuttle due to the cloud of debris that hits it, she loses all contact from Mission Control and her fellow crew members. As she floats in space, she starts to panic, not knowing what to do or who to reach out to for help. The only thing on her mind is that she is going to die.

Even though the beginning of the movie is captivating, the pace of the later parts slow dramatically, as Stone floats in space without much else to it. Furthermore, the characters aren’t compelling or strong enough in the story to balance this problem, with the exception of the writing for Kowlaski’s character, which stands out. Kowalski brings humor in tense situations and keeps his cool while the rest of the astronauts figure out a way to get back to Earth. Unfortunately, the inferior writing of Stone’s character distracts from this.

Even though some of the characters aren't well written, the acting is. The visuals are also beautiful and the cinematography is pleasing. The audience sees Earth and the universe as though they were floating in space themselves. A number of shots in the movie are completely breath taking. The attractive cinematography can be attributed to Emmanuel Lubezki, who spent months planning and years shooting the scenes to get the perfect lighting, movement and special effects. The CGI and computer animation is flawless; 80% of the movie was a result of CGI - more than any other movie done before.

The director and cinematographer had to work together to make the movements of the characters realistically resemble like they were in zero gravity, which is ironic because the movie is titled “Gravity”. This was no easy task and took three years to complete. Moreover, even though the parts where Stone is just floating in the silence of outer space or when she loses hope that she will return to Earth does make one feel how taken for granted gravity is. It’s a powerful, beautiful force and the main reason people are able to inhabit earth and exist. The concept and deeper meaning of the importance of gravity is emphasized in the movie because not everyone gives the deeper meaning much thought.

Gravity is probably the type of movie people would enjoy more if watched on an IMAX screen than at home, due to its special effects and visuals. I watched it at home and I think that’s partly why it didn’t appeal to me as much as it would have on a bigger screen. Even though the movie was somewhat slow, the character writing was mediocre and it could’ve used more action or plot twists, it does have some credible aspects as well. I think after sitting on “Mission Space” in Disney world, I might’ve expected a bit too much out of the movie as far as adventure was concerned.

Fariaa Israr
Assignment Editor 2014-15 / The Record
Fariaa Israr is the 2014-15 assignment editor for The Record and a freelance graphic designer. She majors in Liberal Arts at Raritan Valley Community College and plans to complete a Bachelors degree in Health Information Management.