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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Oct 9, 2013

Gravity Movie Review: An Immersive Spectacular Cinematic Experience

THE STORY of “Gravity” is actually very simple. Two astronauts, Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) are peacefully repairing a space shuttle when they are warned by Houston that a Russian satellite has exploded and it’s wrecked parts are hurling towards their direction and they should avoid it. Before they can do so, the debris of the satellite come rushing into their shuttle, destroying it, killing all their crew, and they’re left stranded in outer space. The rest of the film shows how they try to survive the ordeal when, as the film says at the start, “Life in space is impossible.”

When we first read the promo write up for this film, our first reaction is it has such a thin and flimsy storyline. We wondered how they’re going to stretch it to a full length film. But they did, very successfully. The film is directed by Alfonso Cuaron (the Mexican director who did “Y Tu Mama Tambien” and “Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban”), who co-wrote the script with his son Jonas.

The narrative may be simple but the way the movie is executed is definitely not. It’s an immersive experience and makes you feel like you’re really in outer space, especially when you watch it in IMAX. It’s very obvious that the special effects wizards who worked on the film succeeded in making it all look so convincingly real, with the help of the super efficient cinematographer.

There are some astonishing camera work, with long magical “tuhog” shots that will make you wonder how they did it, especially those made from inside Sandra’s helmet. It’s an eye-popping technical marvel every step of the way and it drives you to the edge of your seat since you totally sympathize with Sandra, like when she’s spinning helplessly out of control into the void that it just takes your breath away.

For sure, Sandra will get an acting nomination as she delivers a wide range of emotions and nails every bit of it perfectly. To think Angeline Jolie and other actresses reportedly turned the role down. The role is quite physical and Sandra is obviously fit and primed to tackle its strenuous challenges. She sustains the movie all by herself but she is not turned into an action star here the way Sigourney Weaver was in “Alien”, whose blurb says “In space, no one can hear you scream.” Sandra is very human, vulnerable and there’s one point when she just wants to give up until someone else pops up to share some nuggets of wisdom with her about getting back to earth.

George gives superb support as the charming head astronaut who’s fond of telling his stories over and over again. But when the situation gets truly risky, he’s all business and cool competence in giving instructions to Sandra. All in all, “Gravity” is one thrilling helluva ride, a tense but spectacular cinematic experience that has to be seen to be believed, what with its impeccable sound design and the superlative musical score that make it all a truly impressive package.