By Potoula Anagnostakos
Space: the final frontier. To boldly go where no man has gone before – or, in this case, woman. The woman is Sandra Bullock, who stars in “Gravity,” directed by Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron (“Children of Men,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”) released on Oct. 4 through Warner Brothers Pictures. This “sci-fi-action-hold-onto- your-seats-it’s-going-to-be-a-bumpy-ride” thriller stuns the audience, beginning the tale with Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) and Dr. Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), who are on a mission that goes quickly awry when an explosion of a Russian space module hurles debris at them, ripping apart their ship, separating and stranding them in space.
The idea of floating around alone in a place surrounded by nothingness, where sound cannot travel and no one can hear you call for help is simply unimaginable.
Stone continually spins for what seems forever until she finally meets up with Kowalski. The two manage to find a space module to board, but of course, good fortune is not on their side. The pair is separated, leaving Stone, once again, truly alone. Through misfortune after misfortune, Stone’s journey is inspiring. As she fights her inner demons, Stone becomes more endearing as she hovers above planet earth. The character development was important in this film and truly added to its overall wow factor.
Another highlight of the film was the visual effects. On top of seeing the film in IMAX 3D, I really felt that I was in outer space with Stone and Kowalski. The special effects were sublime and truly accentuated even the tiniest detail, such as the reflection of Earth in an astronaut’s helmet. Seeing a module explode in outer space, and without the slightest sound, was actually terrifying. When there is an explosion and the sound is swallowed up by the vacuum of space, you can never see it coming.
After its fantastic reviews from Daily News, Rotten Tomatoes, and more, the film has gained Oscar buzz for its special effects and for the Academy Award winning Bullock (for the “Blind Side”). In my opinion, both special effects and Bullock should be recognized by the Academy. The special effects team for Gravity has a great chance of winning, but I cannot say that for Bullock. I would like to see whom she goes up against. She may win her second Oscar.
“I personally enjoyed the movie because the stagnant setting forced the audience to focus on the character, Dr. Ryan Stone, and her internal struggle,” said Marissa Lant, a junior Speech Pathology major. “I definitely think that Sandra Bullock deserves an Oscar for her spectacular performance. As the protagonist, her acting skills dictated the fate of the movie. In my personal opinion, the movie was a great success!”
“Gravity” definitely sets itself apart from other films released this year. Michael Biondi, an English and Film Appreciation teacher at Hicksville High School in New York, described how Gravity is unlike any other film. “The fact that it had a real-time sense of pacing gave it a greater level of suspense,” said Biondi. “We are literally watching time go by and Dr. Ryan Stone is waiting for the next wave of debris, or trying to gain access to a space station. There was no sense of comfort provided in time passing.”
Biondi continued, “What also signified a change in narrative style was the exclusion of multiple characters, locations, and plot lines. There was simply Dr. Ryan Stone’s story without any other competing plot lines. Traditionally, other films would have included scenes of mission control, or other characters back on earth. In this film, we didn’t even see the characters who were in the shuttle when the disaster took place. Which forces us as viewers to be completely immersed in this one character’s struggle.
Make your way down to a movie theatre, grab those goofy 3D glasses, and sit back, relax and enjoy Cuaron’s masterpiece. “Gravity” will grab hold of you, launching you into this electrifying and mind-blowing journey into space. You may not want to go to space camp after this.