The Right Stuff
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George
Clooney, and the voice of Ed
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 90 minutes
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures/Time
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Executive Producer: Nikki Penny, Chris deFaria,
Producer: Alfonso Cuarón, David Heyman
Writer: Alfonso Cuarón, Jonás
Address Comments To:Jeffrey L. Bewkes, CEO, Time Warner
Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman/CEO, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (New Line Cinema)
Greg Silverman and Sue Kroll, President, Warner Bros. Pictures
4000 Warner Blvd.; Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Phone: (818) 954-6000; Website: www.movies.warnerbros.com
The movie opens with three astronauts outside a shuttle doing some work on the Hubble Telescope. Attached to a robotic arm, Mission Specialist Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) is installing a new scanning system she devised. Meanwhile, the veteran commander on the mission, Matt Kowalski, is enjoying testing out a new jetpack that lets him roam around at will, with no tether. Kowalski is also enjoying telling some of his tall tales to everyone, including Mission Control back in Houston.
Mission Control issues an innocuous report to the astronauts about a Russian spy satellite hitting a telecommunications satellite and sending out a debris field. Mission Control calmly assures the astronauts that the debris field isn’t expected to hit them. Suddenly, however, everything changes. The debris field hits the shuttle and the Hubble telescope, killing the third astronaut. It knocks out all communication and leaves Ryan and Kowalski drifting alone in space. Kowalski manages to tether himself to Ryan and starts using his jetpack to get them to the international space station, which is 100 kilometers away. But, Kowalski’s jetpack is running out of fuel, and Ryan’s spacesuit is running out of oxygen.
Thus begins a harrowing fight for survival that will test the mettle of both the veteran astronaut and the rookie.
The special effects in GRAVITY, including its use of 3D, are thoroughly groundbreaking and astonishing. They put the viewer inside outer space with the astronauts during their ordeal. At first, the setting is hypnotically beautiful, what with the astronauts floating gracefully above Mother Earth. Then, it becomes absolutely terrifying as the dangers of such a setting suddenly come to life.
Special effects are meaningless without a great story, however. GRAVITY has a real doozy. Almost everything that could go wrong, does, in the GRAVITY plot. Eventually (POSSIBLE SPOILERS), Sandra Bullock’s character makes it back to the international space station, but a fire has started to break out. Soon, half of the station is engulfed in flames, and Mission Specialist Stone has to hustle to the escape pod to flee. The problem is, the escape pod’s parachute has accidentally deployed, and the pod can’t break free.
Holding everything together here is Sandra Bullock’s tour de force performance as the rookie astronaut haunted by the tragic accidental death of her young daughter. In GRAVITY, as she did with her Oscar-winning performance in THE BLIND SIDE, Sandra Bullock shows once again that she’s a consummate professional. In much of this movie, she’s on the screen all alone. Whether alone, or playing off a gregarious George Clooney as Commander Kowalski, she has a commanding presence onscreen.
GRAVITY has a strong moral worldview. The story is one of courage under fire and redemption through adversity. At one point, the heroine asks for prayer. At another point, she seems to thank God. Toward the end, there’s even a symbolic scene of baptism. In fact, it may be said that the heroine undergoes two baptism. First, there’s a symbolic baptism of her own tears. Later, there’s a baptism of real water.
That said, GRAVITY could use some more positive references to God or Christianity. It also has a fair amount of foul language, scary scenes set in outer space, and a few images of death in outer space. So, caution is advised, especially for younger children. Also, some sensitive viewers might get motion sickness from some of the movie’s situations, especially when the female astronaut is spinning out of control.
Despite these words of caution, GRAVITY certainly has “the right stuff” to be labeled an instant classic.
The special effects and 3D in GRAVITY are thoroughly groundbreaking and absolutely incredible. Special effects, however, are meaningless without a great story: and, GRAVITY has a real doozy. Almost everything that can go wrong, does. Also, Sandra Bullock is terrific as the rookie astronaut haunted by her young daughter’s tragic, accidental death. Even better, GRAVITY has a strong moral worldview stressing courage under fire, sacrifice, and redemption through adversity. That said, there’s some foul language and intense, scary scenes of deadly peril. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution, especially for younger children.