3-D space thriller ‘Gravity’ takes audience to new heights

Josh Slowiczek, Staff Writer

If you’ve ever considered being an astronaut or space buccaneer, “Gravity” might just be your kind of movie.

Within the first few minutes of the film, “Gravity” grabs the audience and flings them up into geosynchronous orbit, roughly 22,000 miles above the surface of the Earth to a place where the silence is just as breathtaking as the view.

In a near-perfect blending of cinematography and digital effects, director Alfonso Cuaron and his crew have created a work that is half space thriller and half modern art.

Most of the beauty lies in its simplicity. There are no invading space ships, no laser beams or ­battle scenes, and definitely no aliens.

Suspended in an environment without gravity, the glimmering white NASA space suits provide a sharp contrast against the darkness of outer space and muted glowing of planet earth, constantly reminding us of just how small we really are.

The theme is eloquent and simplistic in nature as it follows medical engineer, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), as she struggles to return home after a giant field of space debris, falling around the earth at thousands of miles an hour, destroys the space shuttle and leaves her and experienced astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) stranded above the planet with no contact from Houston (the voice of Ed Harris).

The dialogue leaves a little something to be desired but such things quickly become trivial when you find yourself in the middle of a collision that turns a single space station into a thousand tiny pieces of shrapnel flying in every possible direction.

Hence the label space thriller. For all of the quietly beautiful scenes set hovering above the planet earth, comes extreme and extended moments where you suddenly find yourself pressing back against your seat as a shattered solar panel flies straight at your face.

For a film presented in 3D, the opportunity for “Gravity” to be yet another piece of over-the-top, digitally enhanced Hollywood trash was boundless, but thankfully avoided.

The directing, digital effects, cinematography and acting fit together perfectly to create a film that can your breath away just as easily as it restores it. With an ending drawing upon archetypal concepts that have lasted for thousands of years, the overall imagery used has the ability to remind us just how special our planet really is.

While life in space may be impossible for now, that doesn’t make it any less beautiful.

4.5/5 Stars.