Gravity (2013) Movie Review

Gravity is one of the most groundbreaking movies in digital moviemaking. There I said it. Not only is it the first movie to really make me feel like I was in space, it used CGI in the best way possible to the point of that for the most part, I’m not sure what was real or wasn’t. The movie follows Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) on her first space shuttle mission and veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) who is on his final trip to space. They are towards the end of the mission until debris from a Russian missile strike on a defunct satellite causes mass destruction to be heading their way. This is where the movie truly begins. It has a slow buildup in the first 20 minutes but then explodes into a thrilling movie. Right from the opening shot, I could tell this movie was going to be special, it was a beautiful wide shot of space as we hear bits of mission control talking to the two characters and it was just great.

Bullock carries the film with an emotional performance and surprisingly, the characters don’t actually get overly in depth but you still really care about who they are. They don’t spend a whole lot of time with exposition with the characters but it almost isn’t needed because of just small bits of characterization that help sum up the characters really well. The minimalist aspect of characterization works so perfectly for a film like this as danger just keeps provoking them. Although, the other big star here is the visual effects, cinematography, and space in general. The cinematography is absolutely mind blowing from long, slow, and beautiful shots of space to tense, unnerving close-ups on the actors The movie also uses POV shots frequently and they only add to the immersion and tenseness. The slow shots are hypnotic and spinning and give the perspective of space unlike anything else before it.

3D is utilized great from adding depth to the background or using it as actors reach out to grab something. The visual effects of space not only set the bar so high but really, truly make everything feel so real. In addition, the movie seems to call back to other pieces of science fiction such as 2001: A Space Odyssey with a certain shot as well as Bullock being a strong female lead like Sigourney Weaver in Alien which is always fantastic to see. Overall, Gravity sets the bar sop high, changing the game for digital moviemaking, has unbelievable effects and cinematography, and is without a doubt, the best movie of the year thus far, if not one of the best in years (and absolutely needs to be seen in theaters for the full experience).

5/5 stars.


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