Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat; if you intend to watch Gravity because you expect a stellar plot and riveting dialogue, or for pretty much any other reason than the unbelievable experience Gravity gives you, kindly go into your bathroom and take a good long look in the mirror. I’ll wait…… Realized what an anger/spite/pessimism-filled human being you are? No? Too bad. Yes? Okay, good. Now then, Gravity; it’s fucking amaze-balls. A crazy amount of hype revolved around this project pretty much from when it was first announced, and it just escalated the closer it got to release, to the point that few people were convinced the film could live up to it all. Those people, the ones that weren’t convinced or lost confidence, were wrong; Gravity is everything everyone said it would be, and it is glorious.
So, let’s get the plot out of the way (for the two or three of you who don’t know it already): Ryan Stone is on her first mission in space to install a new prototype system of her own design into the Hubble Space Telescope. Everything is going smoothly… until the Russians accidentally strike one of their own satellites with a missile, causing a chain reaction of high-speed debris crashing into other satellites and creating more debris (known as the Kessler effect). Stone and the Explorer crew fall victim to the catastrophe as well, leaving only Stone and mission commander Matt Kowalski alive and drifting through space. Now they must try and find a way over to the International Space Station, which may be their only hope of returning home safely. There’s a little more to the plot than that, but I wouldn’t want to risk entering spoiler territory, especially if you haven’t seen this yet. Sure, you could go on about the plot inconsistencies (which a few scientists and astrophysicists have done; see the bottom of the film’s Wikipedia article), or how the film doesn’t offer all that much in the realm of story that we haven’t had before, but again, if you’re in this expecting the plot and story to be absolutely perfect, kindly re-read the opening paragraph. Now, for what you really came here for; the visual effects. Well, I can’t say anything that hasn’t been said before; in terms of special effects and visual cinema, Gravity is a complete game-changer, and by far the most realistic-feeling space film ever made. Not having any sound in space except that which interacts physically with the astronauts’ suits is amazingly immersive, and it even adds an ethereal quality to the visual splendor that is the film’s action sequences. And I can’t close this out without a special mention for Steven Price and his absolutely outstanding score, which I still give a listen to on occasion; it’s that amazing.
Gravity ended up being the biggest winner at the Academy Awards that year, winning seven (the most of the evening) and tying the most nominations with ten. While it didn’t win Best Picture (and honestly, I didn’t expect it to in the face of 12 Years a Slave), there was no question Alfonso Cuaron was winning Best Director for this; it took him over four freaking years to do this film, and they basically reinvented how to make a visual-effects-heavy film in the process. Seriously, pick up either the Blu-Ray or the two-disc DVD with all the special features and give them a look; how they made this is a technical wonder in and of itself. Not only is this one of the most purely entertaining films of 2013, it’s also an amazing achievement in cinema, and you’d be doing yourself a major disservice by not seeing this one. You have pretty much nothing to lose, and a hell of a lot to gain.
Arbitrary Rating: 10/10