However, on its surface, it’s still just a film about a space mission gone wrong. And that’s part of the beauty of it all because, as you may have realised by now, astronaut Stone’s immediate mission is inconsequential . . . and, at times, even predictable and cheesy. Instead, it’s her emotional development that stands as the true driving force of the film. Her determination, portrayed so powerfully by Sandra Bullock, is the reason why everything looks so stunning and it’s the reason why I found myself holding my breath and clawing at the arms of my chair when her spacecraft started getting torn apart by spinning debris. Her character stands as a testament to the power of human endeavour, and a message as powerful as that can make up for any shortcomings.
Alfonso Cuarón (director) has referred to Gravity as a story about overcoming adversity . . . but there’s a whole lot more to it than that. Gravity is a film about life and, quite fittingly, it’s exquisitely beautiful. From the extended opening shots looking out over Earth to the nerve-shredding debris showers, it’s absolutely mind-blowing and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
Put simply, the film is a monumental achievement, not only because it does something totally unprecedented, but because it pushes the technical boundaries of cinema further than they’ve ever been pushed before. It sets a new benchmark for photorealistic CGI, both in regards to scenery and physics. Thousands of people dedicated years of their life to this project and you can tell. It’s due to these people’s hard work and ingenuity that Gravity stands as such a milestone in effects work. In a way, it’s the cinematic equivalent of the moon landing; one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
Space: the final frontier . . . well it used to be, anyway.