Gravity 3D (2013)

It’s probably just as well that Ryan (Sandra Bullock) can’t see what’s going on behind her here…

Gravity. It’s an interesting name : the physical kind which holds us to the ground is absent for almost the entire movie. The other kind of gravity however – that seriousness, that weight you feel when important events occur – is here in abundance.

After their space shuttle is hit by space debris (travelling at thosands of miles an hour), Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Lietenant Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) find themselves cast adrift in space. Their only hope is to try to make it to the International Space Station (the ISS) where they can  use one of its Soyuz escape pods to get back to Earth. If only things were that simple…

In such a empty environment, with only two main characters and in a sense only one since the film is centred on Dr Stone (Bullock), you might expect the movie to have difficulty keeping the audience’s interest level high. However it achieves this admirably, partly by realistic dialogue between the main characters and also by creating variety and tension by continually moving them from one crisis to another. The script is well written and functions nicely both as a story-telling device and as a way of fleshing out the characters backstories and motivations.

Bullock has thankfully toned down her trademark indecisiveness but still retains enough of it to make Ryan Stone seem like a real person (not one of the two-dimensional super women characters so beloved by Hollywood in recent years) and a real space rookie. Stone has recently lost her daughter and as well as adding emotional depth this is also important to the story. When it really comes down to it (and things do get this desperate), what does she really have to live for?

Clooney’s character is necessarily more of a caricature, actually looking and acting remarkably similar to a sort of avuncular Buzz Light Year. He plays this part very well and his more competent and wise-cracking persona is needed to counterbalance Stone’s inexperienced and cautious character.

Forget the hype, it’s not as incredible or amazing as many critics would have you believe. Although it’s technically very impressive it’s also not as beautiful as they say either. I have seen much more beautiful and vibrant images from watching footage of real space missions. The acting is of a very high standard with Bullock’s performance especially standing out as it’s she who has to carry the film. Ultimately though this is just a well told survival tale which happens to be set in space. It is also a very good film

7/10

How Good is the 3D? like most 3D films, the 3D effect is a mixture of the amazing and the poor. It works very well during mostly static close-up shots of the actors or in scenes where there is a lot of CGI (It’s worth noting in many scenes the actors space suits are entirely CGI). At other times however it produces darker, blurred or ghosted images which can appear layered rather than full 3D. We all know that the sight of the Earth from space is one of the most beautiful views known to man but here the Earth often appears flat and indistinct almost looking like a stage backdrop rather than a real planet. I would recommend watching in 3D though because it does do a very good job of making the computer genearted effects look real.

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