Film Review by Kam Williams
Astronauts Struggle to Survive Shuttle Disaster in Harrowing Outer Space Thriller
Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is set to retire following a distinguished career as a NASA astronaut. The veteran captain is currently in command of his final flight of the Space Shuttle Explorer with a primary mission to replace solar panels on the Hubble Telescope.
Upon rendezvousing, the spacewalk proceeds so routinely that devastatingly-handsome bachelor is comfortable engaging in flirtatious chitchat with attractive Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a medical engineer on her maiden voyage. But then Mission Control urgently orders them back into the capsule because the debris field from a damaged Russian satellite is headed in their direction at the speed of a bullet.
However, it causes catastrophic damage to the shuttle before they have a chance to reenter it, killing all their crewmates and destroying the vehicle beyond repair. Suddenly, Kowalski and Stone find themselves floating in space, no longer in radio contact with Houston, and with a very limited amount of oxygen left in their tanks.
This is the intriguing premise established practically at the point of departure of Gravity, a gripping sci-fi thriller written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron (Pan’s Labyrinth). What ensues is a desperate race against time in which the unflappable Kowalski does his best to keep the frightened rookie calm while trying to survive more by his wits than by the book.
The impromptu plan involves using their thrusters to reach the International Space Station 100 kilometers away before the shrapnel returns upon completing another orbit of Earth. This is just the first of many challenges to be faced successfully if the protagonists’ are ever to feel solid ground under their feet again.
Rather than ruin the plot’s unpredictable developments for you one iota, permit me to heap praise on a pair of nonpareil performances by Oscar-winners George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. Of equal note are the picture’s breathtaking 3D cinematography and the magical way in which weightlessness is convincingly created onscreen.
Buckle up for a relentlessly-riveting, roller coaster ride through a deceptively-close outer space you can virtually reach out and touch!
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for intense peril, disturbing images and brief strong profanity
Running time: 90 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers
To see a trailer for Gravity, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiTiKOy59o4