By Dan Metcalf, Jr.
Clipper Film Correspondent
Gravity (Warner Bros.)
Rated PG-13 for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language.
Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.
Written by Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón.
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón.
I'm not sure humankind is supposed to explore space anymore. The payoff is the discovery of a lot of dry, uninhabitable rocks that require a lot of expense, not to mention decades or perhaps centuries of travel. A recent discovery by the Hubble Telescope revealed the existence of billions of galaxies, making most of us earthlings feel a little insignificant in comparison – so, really...what's the point? By the way, the Hubble Telescope is the setting for Gravity, the story of two shuttle astronauts trying to survive a horrific collision in Earth's orbit.
Sandra Bullock plays Ryan Stone, an medical specialist working on the famed telescope along with the crew of the shuttle Explorer. George Clooney plays mission commander Matt Kowalski. As the crew works to perform maintenance on the telescope, a debris field caused by the destruction of a Russian satellite slams into the shuttle, killing all but Stone and Kowalski. The impact also sends Stone hurtling into deep space.
As Stone tumbles head over heals into outer space, Kowalski comes rocketing to rescue her with his jet pack suit. After helping her to calm down, Kowalski suggests they use the jet pack to travel to the nearby International Space Station for refuge.
When they arrive, both astronauts discover the same debris has damaged the ISS, and one of them has to make a tough decision in order to save the other.
Will the lone astronaut find another solution and get back to Earth?
Gravity is every bit as intense as the trailers suggest. The desperation of the astronauts begins in the first 5 minutes of the movie, and that frantic pace never lets up until the exciting climax. Cuarón's expert vision and direction make Gravity one of the best films of the year, and one that will keep you riveted to your seat until the very end. Anyone familiar with space travel might take exception to some of Gravity's liberties toward science and physics, but most of that is forgivable for the general movie audience public. It is, after all, only a movie.
Bullock gives a fantastic performance as Stone; a woman haunted by the death of her young daughter years before the mission. Clooney is solid as the stoic mission commander who never loses his sense of humor in the most desperate of circumstances.
Some images might be a little too intense for children under 12, but everyone else will enjoy Gravity's thrill ride and dramatic conclusion.
So if you were wondering if Gravity is worth your time, you are “go” for launch.