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Gravity raises sci-fi stakes

Film & TV

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“Life in space is impossible.” With these five words, the stage is set for a grim tale of survival and courage in one of the harshest environments known to man: space.

Medical engineer Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (the ever-charming George Clooney) are working on prototype equipment millions of miles above Earth when their ship is struck by debris from a broken satellite. The ensuing carnage lays waste to their ship and sends the two spinning dizzily into space with nothing more than a single jet pack and a tether line linking their suits.

With their ship in ruins and all contact with mission control lost, the two must work together to find a way home before fuel and oxygen run out.

Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity is an intense exploration of the power of the human spirit, superbly delivered in an elegant and surprisingly simple format.

Bullock delivers an impressive performance as rookie astronaut Stone, who must face her deepest fears when she is sent spiralling into space, while Clooney shines as the quick-witted, level-headed Kowalski – the man you want at your side during a crisis.

A strong script writing enables both actors to deliver emotional performances which bring a sense of both vulnerability and strength to their characters. Their performances are made even more impressive by the knowledge that the entire movie was filmed using only green-screen technology.

Featuring special effects by Adelaide-based Rising Sun Pictures, Gravity raises the bar for sci-fi films. The vast blackness of space seems to swallow you whole, while the unnerving stretches of silence perfectly capture the feelings of isolation and loneliness you imagine one would feel in space. The destruction of icons such as the International Space Station is captured in devastating detail, and the effect is further heightened by the film’s 3D element, which sends debris flying directly towards the audience.

The stunning images of Earth as seen by the astronauts bring to light the wonder and beauty of space travel, and the scene featuring Canada’s swirling green northern lights was particularly breathtaking. There is something truly humbling about seeing the Earth from above and the long, panning shots really highlight the immense beauty of our planet.

Although Gravity’s 3D element allowed the audience to travel through an asteroid/debris belt from the safety of their seats, the long gap between action sequences means the film would be equally impressive in 2D. With its simple plot and stunning special effects, Gravity provides audiences with an easy and enjoyable viewing experience.

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