Gravity and the Gravity of Its Brilliance

WARNING: Spoilers ahead. You might want to skip this if you don’t want to know a thing about how the film’s going to end. 

It’s been a while since I last watched a movie that I actually liked so much I wanted to write about it. Watching Gravity was something I did out of curiosity, as I saw lots of people on Facebook either rave about it or think it’s kind of meh. It was also fun to watch the movie here in Taiwan because I found it interesting that the moviegoers actually understood those characters inside the Tiangong space station, knowing that the scene is supposed to elicit hopelessness for a Dr. Ryan Stone who barely made it past the foreign characters of the previous Russian space station’s control panel.

For me, it was unforgettable. I actually looked forward to checking out its director when the credits rolled in. When I saw that it was Alfonso Cuaron, who not only directed but also wrote the screenplay, the fee I paid was immensely vindicated. This was the same guy who gave me my most favorite cinematic Harry Potter by way of Prisoner of Azkaban. I can’t say I’m a Cuaron fan, but if there’s anything about the guy that I am most certain about is that I am yet to watch a movie from him that made me feel like I wasted 60 minutes or so of my life. Or worse, some hard-earned money.

Gravity pays homage to a couple of other space-themed films that I loved–2001: Space Odyssey and Wall-E. I think I also saw some Apollo 13 and Alien undertones running along the film’s plot. I loved the fact that it was so realistic from start to finish. Okay, so maybe the pod not burning into pieces as the rest of Tiangong did was very supportive of the protagonist inside it but hey, I am not complaining. Of course I clung to the hope that Ryan Stone would make it safe and sound, back to Earth, to tell her one heck of an amazing story.

I also found the emotional plot just right. It’s like taking coffee with a good milk you no longer need a couple of sugar packs to make it sweet. I didn’t get teary-eyed while watching it, not even when Ryan was listening to the Greenland inuit lull his baby to sleep but it’s not that my emotions weren’t struck. It’s like the emotional plot just sort of pushed me right, clicked something appropriate inside my heart in a way that makes you believe it can happen to people and not in a way that wants to actually elicit an emotion from you. The emotional plot of the film makes you think, makes you consider how it is supposed to work its way into the film’s story, as opposed to try to preach the truth about humanity.

I was also largely surprised of George Clooney’s character in the film. Something tells me the supporting role was probably one of the reasons why Downey turned down the role eventually. Anyway, that’s not to say Clooney’s appearance was not important in the film. It really was and it will also stick to you like the songs he played while on his thruster pad. It’s just that he didn’t get your typical leading man role. But his presence for Sandra Bullock’s character was strongly needed to make hers, Ryan Stone, come out and evolve into the woman that she became as she made her first few steps back into what was perhaps a second life for her.

And yes, Sandra Bullock. I was just so amazed by her pixie hair cut coupled by the fact that she had to simulate being in a zero-gravity environment throughout this film. Well, except for the last few seconds of the film though. But man, to simulate the whole thing, tumbling and turning and being flipped in space like some rag doll. Cuaron’s team and Bullock must have worked their mega butts off to pull those as smoothly and crisply as it did come out off that screen.

And of course, the whole thing just had to make the Chinese spacecraft the ultimate savior. Haha, three gold stars I pin on thy chest Cuaron, for making that smart and obvious move to want to break into China. With its very prudent and communist society that enforces strict scrunity over what foreigners can sell, China is the biggest challenge that film makers had to smartly slip into if only to get such a massive box-office pie off the Chinese population.

I would definitely recommend Gravity to be watched on the big screen. I think watching it in 2D would suffice though I would have also been interested to see it in 3D. The film was timed just right, not having dragging long scenes and with the action happening frame by frame you almost want to clutch your seat for the next arrival of debris.

Gravity made me feel small, so small everytime I see how massive the Earth is and how stupid people can be fighting over power for a planet that’s probably too miniscule compared with the universe. Gravity made me feel that in space, there are no boundaries and we are all just one big human race, speaking and using different languages. Gravity made me see that it’s either we strive to live and have an amazing story to tell or we just let ourselves die without even trying to live. It didn’t make me cry but I suppose it’s that kind of movie that will linger with me for a very long time. Simple, spot-on visually stunning without the overly dramatic lines. I loved it. It’s a visual delight that uses your feelings for the kind of genre it is in: thriller. It’s a real sci-fi thriller.

Congrats, Sandra Bullock. I think this is your best film to date.

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