Jadia at the Movies: Gravity, the Weight of Mortality


Jadia Smith, Staff Writer

When I went to the five o’clock showing of “Gravity” at the local Julia 4 Value Cinemas,
did not have many high expectations for the film. Still, I am an avid fan of the Harry Potter
series, and “Gravity” was directed by Alfonso Cuarόn, who also directed the third Potter film,
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”  This fact was the only initial reason I had to see it.
From the first trailer for “Gravity,” the plot seemed only to be about two astronauts
free-floating in space. This did not do the film justice by any means. While the majority of
“Gravity” is, indeed, two astronauts free-floating in space, the plot is so much more complex
than that.
Sandra Bullock plays medical engineer Ryan Stone helping commanding astronaut Matt
Kowalski, portrayed by George Clooney, to service the Hubble Space Telescope. While doing so,
Houston Mission Control radios Kowalski to inform the team that they need to abort their
mission immediately because debris from a Russian anti-satellite test has caused destruction to
multiple satellites in a chain reaction format, and that debris is heading their way.
After this, debris travelling at high speeds hits their space shuttle,
Explorer, causing
Stone to be knocked away from it, and spin out of control. Kowalski, wearing a thruster pack,
finds his way to Stone and tethers himself to her. The two learn that the Challenger is damaged
beyond repair, and they are the only survivors. They must navigate their way to the International
Space Station, which Kowalski estimates to be about 100 kilometers (60 miles) away in only 90
minutes before the fast moving debris makes a complete orbit and heads in their direction once
again. From there, Kowalski wants to make it back to earth.
Not only is “Gravity” packed with suspense, but it showcases the emotional toll of
realizing your own mortality. Having no communication with earth and only a limited supply of
oxygen, the audience can really understand just how frightening this situation is. You must make
it to the nearest supply of oxygen, in Stone and Kowalski’s case, the International Space Station,
or suffocate to death.
I noticed I was covering my mouth with my hand in utter amazement at not only the
events taking place in “Gravity,” but also at the astounding visual effects. I actually felt like I
was right beside Stone and Kowalski watching the earth float away from me. I know the film
was initially released in IMAX theaters, and I began to wonder how breathtaking they would
look in IMAX 3D since the effects were that spectacular on a normal movie screen,
Overall, I take back my initial low expectations for “Gravity.”  It was a visually stunning
film with very believable acting and an emotionally wrenching plot. However, my one caution is
that the film may not live up to its full potential if not viewed in 3D, specifically in IMAX 3D,
since that is what it was made to be shown in. Alfonso Cuarόn is a brilliant director, and on my
Most Awesome Rating Scale, “Gravity” definitely deserves a strong eight out of ten.