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Gravity ~ A Capsule Movie Review

Gravity

Gravity ~ A Capsule Movie Review by Allen Kopp 

Gravity, with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (why can’t I ever take him seriously?), is about two astronauts on a space station hundreds of miles above the earth. On this particular day that the action begins, Dr. Ryan Stone (yes, even though she’s a girl, she has a boy’s name) and Matt Kowalski, brother of Stanley (just kidding), happen to be “spacewalking,” meaning they’re working outside the space station when they receive a warning from “mission control” that a “satellite debris field” is headed their way. Dr. Stone is reluctant to leave unfinished the job she has started, so they don’t make it back inside fast enough before the debris hits them. And it’s a good thing they don’t, because the debris has hit the space station (their “home” in space) and ripped it apart, killing the other crew members. Dr. Stone and Matt Kowalski aren’t much better off, though, because they are left adrift in space with their limited oxygen supply. From that point on, it becomes a question of survival. Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into. Does anybody have any bright ideas?

Dr. Stone would be dead right out of the gate if it wasn’t for the more seasoned, cool-headed Matt Kowalski. When she is spinning uncontrollably through space, head over heels, he catches her and tethers her to himself. Off in the far distance (too far) they can see the Chinese space station. Their only chance of survival is to go there and get help. It will be like “swimming” through nothing to get there. Will their oxygen hold out? Probably not, but they have to at least try.

Of course, while all this is going on, they have the panorama of earth, hundreds of miles below them, to look at. All they can see are the swirls of cloud formations and outlines of continents, but still it is a beautiful sight that the vast majority of us will never see except in pictures.

Gravity is only ninety minutes long (including the expansive end credits) which, I read, is the time it takes the space station to go around the globe. (Ninety minutes seems short compared to the length of other movies.) The theme of the movie is perseverance, not giving up in the face of overwhelmingly adverse odds; experiencing a kind of “rebirth” after terrible things have happened.

While Gravity is expensively made and worth seeing for those who are so inclined, I don’t really buy George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as astronauts. Instead of two besieged humans in an inhospitable environment, they seem like nothing more than two middle-aged movie stars trying to justify their twelve-million-dollar salaries. Other problems involve plausibility. When they are in such danger and have so much time for talk, why do they not mention God or at least the possibility that God exists? Wouldn’t most people who know they are likely to die in the next few minutes offer up some kind of prayer for deliverance, or is that concept too offensive nowadays? And, on another note, why are the Chinese and Russian space stations abandoned and accessible to American astronauts? Are the Chinese and Russian astronauts just “out” for the moment? If this is explained at any point in the movie, I must have missed it.

Copyright © 2013 by Allen Kopp

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