Gravity begins with a number of long shots that are composed near perfectly, showing us the vast expanse of the earth laid out far below the astronauts, and their beautiful view of all of us. Cuarón follows Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) and Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) upside down and swivels the camera around to give audiences the incredible feeling of weightlessness. It’s rare that I praise the use of 3D for artistic effect, but not since Avatar has it felt this appropriate and skillfully deployed.
Not long after we learn that Dr. Stone is in space for her first time to install some new technology she developed onto the Hubble telescope that trouble begins. Mission control, cleverly voiced by Ed Harris in a nod to his roles in Apollo 13 and The Right Stuff, informs the crew that debris is heading their way fast following a mishap with some Russian satellite tests. Before they know it the debris is there, flying everywhere around the Explorer and Hubble telescope. Dr. Stone is disconnected from their shuttle and begins to drift away from the structure out into space. Kowalski follows after her with his jetpack device, but the Explorer has been too damaged for them to travel back to earth with it.
At times Gravity does suffer from the mounting implausibility of it all, as one unlikely event stacks on top of another, though there was nothing so outrageous that I felt it too impossible to ruin enjoyment. In addition, Dr. Stone’s tragic back-story feels somewhat unnecessary, as we already sympathize with her more than enough as a likeable astronaut alone in space. Despite these smaller criticisms, Gravity truly is a fantastic cinematic experience, and I highly recommend you go see it in theaters.