Do you copy? Anyone? Anyone… Do you copy? Please copy. Please.”
I watched Gravity over 2 weeks ago and it’s taken me nearly as long to write about it because IT WAS SO INCREDIBLE and I am so overwhelmed with feelings – some of which may or may involve crying. (╥╯^╰╥) I think my love for space travel/exploration made the movie a lot more personal than it would for most people, but even if you don’t like space as much as I do (“but outer space is so cool! the coolest!”), you’ve got to see this movie because it’s just an amazing piece of filmmaking and I swear you won’t regret it. I’m not writing a review because I just can’t, but here were some of my favorite things:(There is a secondary cut for spoilers under this one – don’t worry!)
The cinematography. It’s just … It’s so beautiful. It’s so fantastic. Cuarón and Lubezki are such masterful visual storytellers. Even though you know you’re not in outer space and you know the movie wasn’t actually filmed in space, it’s easy forget because of how impressive the camera work is – long shots to capture the feeling of being there, changes in perspective to express how the characters are feeling and even the way the shots are framed against the blackness of space. And the sound?! I didn’t notice until after I finished the movie that I never actually heard any of the collisions or explosions. What the audience hears are the thuds and vibrations from impacts and the rest is expressed through the way the music gets kind of crazy and wild whenever something happens and THAT’S SO BRILLIANT. I absolutely love when I can see the amount of planning and effort and research that goes into a project. Cuarón has such a great understanding of the technology that he used and it really shows because none of it feels like a gimmick. He built special rig to film the characters, throws the sound around the room with the use of Dolby and knew right from the start that 3D was going to play a big role. As a glasses wearer, I’m usually ambivalent bordering annoyed at 3D movies, but it works so well in this one that I don’t think there’s a better way to watch it. See it in 3D; see it in IMAX 3D if you get the chance, but most importantly, see it in a theater while it’s still showing because it’s a film that was made to be seen in a theater and the experience of watching it at home just won’t do it justice.
A TON of spoilers/favorite moments under the cut:
+ That first long shot of the shuttle and the earth in the background is BREATHTAKING. The theater I was in was DEAD SILENT when it started and then Matt’s voice came in and then surprise George Clooney and we all laughed.
+ The circular shot when Matt talks about Earth – the way the camera pans over his face first (the joy in his face omg), allowing the reflection of Earth to move slowly across the glass of his helmet and then the way the entire planet just slowly comes into view and fills up the entire screen. I think my heart stopped.
+ The change of perspective when Ryan is spinning away and the decision to crop in close on her face so you can SEE in Sandra Bullock’s eyes (SHE IS SO GOOD AUGHHH), the fear and terror and confusion that she’s experiencing. The decision to only have the sound of her breathing in the background. The way the camera shifts ever so slightly and then you’re inside her helmet with her and for a moment you feel the same dread she must feel – and then another shift and you’re out. LUBEZKI!!!!!!
+ The way Ryan clutches at the tether every time Matt says he’s got to let her out for a bit and how you suddenly feel as helpless as she does every time you see her scramble to bring them closer together. The movie is cut so well that you don’t get time to be scared during the big scenes and it’s the minute details that remind you suddenly and it’s alll tooo muchhhh.
+ When Matt is drifting away into the vast endless expanse of space, but still in complete awe and wonder of Earth because he is so in love with this planet and how he is floating inevitably to his death, but HE IS STILL TELLING RYAN TO BE BRAVE AND THAT SHE WILL BE OKAY.
+ The scene where Ryan removes her space suit in the airlock of the ISS and the tube behind her resembles an umbilical cord and she curls up almost like a fetus in the womb and everything becomes a visual metaphor for rebirth because this is when Ryan discovers that there is still life after this – there is still a life worth living back home if she’s willing to try. I’M SCREAMING (but you can’t hear me because SPACE).
+ The use of music during the scene where Ryan watches the fuel gauge on the Soyuz plummet was outstanding. The way everything clashes together as the realization washes over her and she screams and then the way the camera jumps outside the spacecraft and it’s COMPLETE SILENCE. The way the Aurora Borealis slowly rotates into view. GOOOODNESSSSSS.
+ My struggle during the entire hallucination sequence between being disappointed and relieved that Matt could possibly? maybe? have made it? I wanted to yell “NO THIS DOESN’T MAKE SENSE” through the whole thing, but I also wanted it to be real just so Ryan wouldn’t have to be alone. But then the camera shifts and MATT ISNT. HE ISNT. GOD. AGAIN.
+ The fact that China’s space station is named Tiangong (天宫), or Heavenly Palace. The fact that Shenzhou is 神舟, Divine Vessel, and a homonym of 神州, Divine State. All of China’s spacecrafts were renamed after mystical beings/concepts during Deng Xiaopeng’s rule of the PRC so as to inspire a future generation to dream about space exploration. (ღ˘∀˘ღ)
+ That one shot of the Shenzhou streaking across the sky as it breaks to fiery pieces entering Earth’s atmosphere and the soaring instrumentals in the background?! So beautiful.
+ A comment on one of the many maaaaany movie reviews I read afterwards, pointed out that when Ryan lands the Shenzhou in the water, a message from Houston finally comes through telling her to wait because a rescue team was being sent out to find her, but RYAN DOESN’T WAIT. She messes up tremendously (a guy in the audience went “AW JEEZ THIS POOR GIRL) but she makes the decision to rescue herself. AHHHHHHHHH
+ The symbolism behind FALLING OUT OF THE SKY, RISING FROM THE SEA, CRAWLING ON LAND as a metaphor for life on Earth and EVOLUTION?!?!?!? It hurts I hurt Everything hurts.
Can I say a movie changed me or is that weird?? Because it did and ugh I’m battling with myself about whether or not I’d like to see it again in theaters. I love space so much :'((( I can’t really justify spoiling myself with a $20+ IMAX ticket so instead, I’m nursing my wounds by listening to this unbelievable spoken space mix on 8tracks (recommended to me by P who is one of only two other people who get the same way I do about space). I’m also working on a teeny tiny space mix that I’ll share soon, hopefully!
Also throwing it in here – Another movie I watched recently and loved was Pacific Rim which was just SO AWESOME. I loved all the mech sequences and I love the concept and I looooove that it’s an homage to old school giant-monster-destroys-city movies – literally a kaiju film! It was a lot of fun and I’m still head over heels for all the UI visuals *^* In retrospect, I wish I had made more of an effort to keep tumblr from burying me in meta and analyses of the characters because it took away from the emotional impact of a lot of scenes. I still watched a good chunk of it with a hand over my mouth though partly because ~FEELINGS~ and also because uh “enormous sea monster in dark waters” is one of many things I’m afraid of haha. I hope there’s a prequel eventually, but keeping my fingers crossed that the sequel will at least have more suit-up sequences and less monsters spitting up acid in my face.