By Trevor Pacelli
I have just seen the recent blockbuster event that has been exciting audiences across the globe, Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. The reason I say that this movie was an unreal experience was because this really was so unlike anything that has
ever been done on the big screen before. It's a subject completely different
from what we're already used to: an astronaut stranded in space who struggles on her own to get back to Earth.
The thing about this movie that truly stands out is the special effects. The CGI and the tactics used to create the space atmosphere all work so convincingly that you forget it's mostly done by
computers. Not only that, but the cinematography is completely spot on, setting that sense of disorientation, weightlessness, and confusion, leaving the audience walking out of the theater with a feeling of weightlessness and
stupefaction, as if walking out of a thrill ride. The main thing that truly caught my eye while watching this in the cinema was how the first ten minutes were filmed all in one continuous camera shot; no cuts, no transitions, the camera just moves all over the place, immediately making you feel like you're there in space with the characters. I haven't seen this movie in 3D, but I can tell just by watching the movie, that if I were to watch it in 3D, then the setup of the visuals along with the surround sound would honestly convince the audience that they're not in a movie theater.
As far as the acting, I find Sandra Bullock's performance to be quite memorable. She portrays her character as one who seems helpless and not quite used to her new setting, but gradually as the film goes along, she builds herself up single-handedly. George Clooney is not in the movie as much as Bullock is, and he did not stand out nearly as much. His performance was very much passable, but he continues playing the same type of character as in most of his movies. In Gravity, it's especially impressive because there are only two actors in the entire 90 minutes!
The story is well planned out, in forming the back-story of Bullock's character and why she is escaping to outer space, away from the busy, depressing world. But I felt that the overall message of the film of getting back on your own two feet after a halt in your life could have been executed much more powerfully. Okay, so her daughter back home has died, so
what? I didn't feel what she was feeling. And the ending scene didn't bring that theme back up as well as it should have, which really hurts the film as the ending scene is supposed to present why the director wanted the audience to sit through this feature.
One thing I noticed as I was watching Gravity was that there were many references to past Sci-fi films. One of the more
recognizable ones would be many mentions of the phrase, "I've got a bad feeling about this," which is well known as being mentioned in every single Star Wars film. Also, there is a moment where Bullock finally gets into one of the space shuttles, removes her space suit, and floats in the air while releasing a sigh of relief. She is curled into a ball and is positioned in front of a larger circle with a cord dangling over her, creating the image of a baby in a uterus, and ultimately referencing 2001: A Space Odyssey. I believe these references are made to make a tribute to films that created a landmark in
Hollywood and helped craft the Sci-fi genre into what it is today, and if it weren't for 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars, Gravity would not have been possible with today's CGI technology.
So, when Oscar season comes around, what awards is it likely to receive? Well, it's going to win best visual effects and best cinematography no question, making this the fifth year in a row where both of those awards went to the same movie. It's also likely to win for best Film Editing, best Sound Editing and best Sound Mixing, and possibly get nominated for best original score, best lead actress, maybe win best Director, and if it's lucky, win best motion picture of the year.
Overall, would I recommend this movie? I'd say yes. It's a phenomenal cinematic event that creates a spectacle that can only be enjoyed on the big screen, and is highly enjoyable for a large range of audiences. It's probably not for people who get sick easily from watching such disorienting images, but it's absolutely a movie that everyone needs to see while it's still here in theaters.
Inspiration for Life with Autism
This blog has a variety of articles about people living life with autism, and topics and ideas that can help in the journey. Guest bloggers are welcome. Inspired by Trevor, a young adult film critic, photographer and college graduate on the autism spectrum.