I wondered about the title–but there you have it.
This is a movie that must be seen, at least the first time, on the big screen–and the bigger the better. Seeing the visuals of the earth from space makes me long for a journey into space, but that’s not going to happen. I’d never pass the physical. So I’ll have to be content to be an amateur astronomer and enjoy the awe-inspiring view from the eyes of filmmakers.
Gravity has only two actors, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, onscreen, and three voice actors at the beginning, including Ed Harris (Apollo 13). The story opens high above the earth, where the crew of the fictional shuttle Explorer is attempting to make repairs to the Hubble Telescope. Clooney is cocky mission commander Matt Kowalski, joking about being out to break the space walk record, while Bullock’s character, Ryan Stone, is a medical engineer, a first-time astronaut suffering from severe anxiety.
In the middle of their space walk, the crew receives an emergency transmission from Mission Control. A Russian satellite has exploded, and the remnants are headed their way. They’re ordered to abort the mission–but it’s already too late. When the debris hits the shuttle, it’s also destroyed. Kowalski and Ryan–the only surviving crew members–are stranded in space.
With Kowalski leading, the two of them make their way toward the International Space Station, where a Russian Soyuz capsule is docked. The plan is to board it and head for home…but it’s also been hit by the satellite remnants. The pair are running out of options…and oxygen. They have one last chance to survive in the most hostile environment imaginable and make their way home.
Ryan–who says she was so named because her father wanted a boy–is a woman who doesn’t feel she has much to live for. As Kowalski tries to engage her in conversation, she reveals that she had a daughter who died after a head injury “She hit her head, and that was it”). I found it a little puzzling that her commander didn’t already know this–don’t astronauts get to know each other pretty well during their mission preparation? Though noted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson found several flaws in the film, for me, the flaws are minor and did not detract from my enjoyment of it.
The earth from space and George Clooney–come on, the view doesn’t get any better than that!