By M. Scott Morris
Taut storytelling and technical excellence combine to create a standout space adventure.
“Gravity” stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as NASA astronauts.
He’s Kowalski, the blasé veteran, soaring around the Space Shuttle with a jet pack, and she’s Stone, the nervous mission specialist who can barely keep her lunch down as the great blue Earth floats behind her.
They’re on a routine mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, when a missile strikes a Russian satellite and sends a storm of deadly space shrapnel toward our heroes.
Contact is broken with Houston, and Kowalski and Stone must find a way back to Earth on their own.
They have to work in 90-minute increments, the length of time it takes the cosmic debris to circle the globe, and the air in their space suits is going fast.
This is an action movie, no doubt, but it’s also a love letter to science and the vastness of space. “Gravity” has a grand sense of scope that somehow makes mankind appear both insignificant and ingenious.
Director Alfonso Cuarón, who co-wrote with his son, Jonás Cuarón, fills the screen with unexpected details, like the way sparks from an electrical fire float in zero gravity and how there’s always an equal and opposite reaction when Stone uses a fire extinguisher.
According to reports, as many as 250 filmmakers worked on individual frames of this movie. The attention shows, but so does the lack of attention.
With everything else floating around, I wondered why Bullock’s hair wasn’t doing the zero-g thing. Obviously, that’s because the movie wasn’t actually shot in space, but that and other small details took me out of the narrative for brief moments.
On the overwhelmingly positive side, “Gravity” is one of the few movies of recent vintage that should be seen in 3-D.
Clooney is perfectly cast, as is Ed Harris as the unseen voice from Mission Control.
The story ultimately rests on Bullock’s ability to connect with the audience. She’s our window into a terrifying and awe-inspiring experience, and I’d imagine even the most hard-hearted of viewers would pull for her from start to finish.
Film fans owe it to themselves to see “Gravity” on the big screen. I give it an A.
It’s showing at the Cinemark in Tupelo, as well as Malcos in Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, and Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.
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