George Clooney returns to the science fiction movie genre in this new film where he and Sandra Bullock play astronauts adrift in space. The film is directed by Alfonso Cuarón who has dabbled with sci-fi before as he directed Children of Men some years ago. Clooney and Bullock play Matt Kowalsky and Dr. Ryan Stone, the former is a veteran astronaut who is on his last spaceflight before retiring. The latter is a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission. While doing a routine spacewalk the shuttle is destroyed by debris leaving the two survivors adrift and tethered only to each other. The experienced veteran and the journeyman must then try to find a way to stay alive and return home.
The premise is interesting even though it is a concept that has been done before in other movies. Plenty of films set in space have a set-piece where an astronaut is somehow cut loose from their tether as they hurtle into space. Gravity is probably one of the first movies to focus on this dilemma however which gives it an edge. The pairing of a grizzled veteran with a newcomer is also a well worn trope but it can be effective.
Alfonso Cuarón is a reliable and talented director so it will be interesting to see what he can do with a movie like this. Clooney and Bullock are also reliable and they should be able to captivate the audience in a movie like this that focuses on just two characters. Naturally, fans of the genre would need to also be fans of both George Clooney and Sandra Bullock to enjoy the film. Both actors have a likeable on-screen persona so it shouldn’t be too difficult to sell a film with just the two of them. There is also something breathtaking about seeing humans floating above the planet in the vast blackness of space. Films like this are usually a delight to watch at the cinema. The trailer itself boasts some nice special effects which only add to the spectacle of seeing the two astronauts floating around the shuttle before it is destroyed. The classical score that plays in the trailer is also effective and may remind the viewer of films like 2001: A Space Odyssey. It creates a feeling of tranquility that is quickly interrupted when disaster strikes.
This year will see the release of a few science fiction movies where space flight is a prominent feature. Star Trek Into Darkness, After Earth and Ender’s Game are the most well known examples of that. Gravity stands out because it is set in the present time not the future and it has a smaller scope than Star Trek and Ender’s Game in particular. The film should also provide some edge of your seat tension as the main characters try to survive such a hazardous situation. There are no fancy gadgets than can save them and this makes the situation desperate. The oxygen in the space suits is also a rather limited supply so time is of the essence. It is difficult to see how the astronauts can survive such a dilemma. The film would be a rather depressing affair if the viewer has to watch them slowly die over two hours.
Gravity should do well when it is released later in the year. The trailer does enough to intrigue the audience and create a buzz. The director and actors are also all on top of their game and more than capable of putting bums on seats in the cinema.
The film was released on October 4th.
Have a look at the trailer and share your thoughts.
Edit: You can read our Gravity film review here.