REVIEW SYNOPSIS: More technically adept and visually breathtaking than emotionally compelling, Alfonso Cuarón’s follow-up to Children of Men immerses without ever fully engaging.
SYNOPSIS: Two astronauts in near-earth orbit find themselves stranded and in need of a way back home when debris from a destroyed satellite collides with their space shuttle.
PROS: Impressive concept; well-executed suspense and genuine sense of danger; outstanding special effects; striking visuals.
CONS: Unnecessary introduction; clichéd approach to character and theme, hampered by undemanding performances from its leads; heavy-handed (yet still effective) symbolism and philosophy.
“Life in space is impossible,” a caption reads at the opening of director Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, something, perhaps, the audience should know but that Cuarón and his brother Jonás (who co-wrote the screenplay), perhaps, do not trust his audience to fully comprehend. Forget what they should, by now, have learned in seventh-grade science class, or though common sense and logic, or even through fifty-plus years of space programs since the Soviet Union lobbed Yuri Gagarin around our pale blue dot. Surely moviegoers, many of whom have spent countless hours watching 2001: A Space Odyssey, Marooned, or even Apollo 13, understand a setting like near-earth orbit enough to know that space has no air (and therefore no sound), that temperatures bounce between too cold and too hot, and that lack of friction turns even the smallest piece of debris into a high-powered bullet. Regardless of intent, this simple setup seems like a misstep.
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