Gravity almost makes you want to go out into space… sort of… at first. And then – not so much. It’s a bit like watching Tom Hanks in Castaway, but instead of a beach, there’s a whole lot of nothingness. And instead of Hanks, you get Sandra Bullock in a space suit. The movie is good. But it’s not astronomically brilliant, despite the Oscar buzz. And it really does need to be seen in IMAX. So if you do plan to go, cough up the extra dough to see it in all its immersive glory.
Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, an engineer on her first shuttle mission, assisting veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), who’s on his last. The two are out on a routine spacewalk, making repairs, when flying debris destroys their shuttle – and their ride home. The two are left tethered to each other with a limited amount of oxygen and a whole lot of eerie silence.
Clooney’s character is a source of levity couched in a calm professionalism that would surely make NASA proud. But the bulk of the movie centers around Stone’s fight for survival. It’s quiet and intense, and sometimes terrifying. I just wish I cared more about whether she’d make it back to Earth. Therein lies Gravity’s biggest flaw. I never felt totally invested in the characters or the story. For me, the film lacks the kind of drama and emotion that pulled me in to Apollo 13. I can see that movie again and again, even knowing how it ends. Gravity doesn’t come close to that level of re-watchability. That said, it’s a unique experiential film that’s worth checking out in IMAX – especially since it won’t really translate on the small screen.