So then, Gravity, 3D. What a treat! The special effects are utterly mind-bending, making this one of the most visually stunning films I think I’ve ever seen. As if that wasn’t enough, 3D actually adds to the experience (not just the ticket price). I’d go so far to say that this is the kind of film that 3D was made for – high praise considering I’ve always found 3D to be a let down.
The story, such as it is (medical engineer and NASA newbie Dr Ryan Stone (a surprisingly good Bullock) veteran astronaut Kowalkski (Clooney) trying desperately to get home after an accident destroys their shuttle), is wafer thin. Stone is in a state of panic for most of the 90 minute running time, and perhaps rightly so because, if there’s one thing that becomes abundantly clear very quickly in Gravity, it’s that space is bloody scary. As we’re told right at the beginning “At 372 miles above the Earth there is nothing to carry sound. No air pressure. No oxygen. Life in space is impossible.”
And George Clooney? Well, he’s George Clooney, isn’t he? I’m not sure if he’s been typecast or if this is the only character he can play. That isn’t to say he’s bad, because he does a perfectly good George Clooney. Perhaps I’m being a little unfair; he does offer some much-needed light relief to what is an incredibly tense hour and a half.
Director Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men) manages to create a film that is oppressive and claustrophobic – think extreme close-ups and panicked heavy breathing – but simultaneously vast and overwhelming thanks to the breath-taking scenes of endless stars, and the distant Earth below.
Don’t worry about the wafer thin story, Clooney’s Clooney routine or the slightly ham-fisted attempt to explain the motivations of the characters, just enjoy the ride.