The Irresistable Pull of “Gravity”

Don’t let go, but do go see “Gravity.”

Every day, rain, shine or snow, there’s an old man who passes my house walking his dog.   He’s one of those conscientious types as he carries a little plastic to put the dog poo in.  Sometimes he speaks. Most times he doesn’t.  I don’t know his name, don’t know where he lives, don’t know where he’s coming from or where he’s going to, but every day he’s walking that mangy, flea-bitten little dog.

Today he walked by the house.  All by himself.  No dog.

What happened?  Did the dog die?  It was too old to run away.   I don’t know and I didn’t ask, but I imagine that old man is lonely if his four-legged friend is gone from the world.

Why am I thinking about old men and their canine companions?  Perhaps because I’m still coming down from Gravity

Loneliness is a big part of Gravity.   Outer space is a cold, inhospitable place, and it’s a lonely place.  Alfonso Cuaron’s  first film since 2006’s Children of Men drives home that  loneliness and beautiful isolation as well struggles and dangers that face human beings when they  explore the boundaries of space.

I had never seen a film in IMAX with Real 3D. Never wanted to wear those stupid glasses over my own glasses and never wanted to pay the extra dollars for the experience, but I lost my IMAX virginity to Gravity. When critics and publications whose opinions I respect say, “You Have Never Seen a Movie Like Gravity” I know its partially hype, but I still pay attention.

There are only a handful of movies that put you in the movie the way Gravity does.   The Matrix, Saving Private Ryan and Inception are examples of this phenomenon where you are pulled into a world previously unseen.

Gravity is 91 minutes long and if your friends are telling you not to go see it, I have one suggestion: make new friends.

My wife did not want to see the movie. She consented only to keep peace in the family (which probably means I have to go with her to something I’d rather give a miss to). Neither of us had ever seen an IMAX Real 3D flick before.  We Sat through the opening trailers with our glasses in our hands until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug came on and I nudged my wife and said, “Put the glasses on.”

Then Gravity started and I forgot all about hobbits and dragons.

The movie is beautiful, visually gorgeous, tense and suspenseful. It’s a story of survival 250 miles up, but I was never bored, totally engaged and while I won’t call Gravity the best movie of the year, it’s a sucker bet of dollars to space debris it makes the short list of nominees for Best Picture.

As for my wife, she ducked into the powder room as the credits rolled. She came out grinning from the conversations she had with other women in the restroom.

In space nobody can see you in your undies.

In space nobody can see you in your undies.

Did you see Gravity? I can’t believe how good it was. I want to see it again!

Every now and then I make the right call and surprise my wife when she thinks she can’t be surprised anymore.   Some critics have dubbed Gravity  Cuaron’s true masterpiece and it is good, but is it Children of Men good?    Well, it’s certainly more entertaining of the two and a $55 million opening week backs me up on that point.

This much I know:  while Robert Downey Jr. in the role of the savvy older astronaut George Clooney nails would have been perfectly acceptable, Angelina Jolie instead of Bullock would have been a disaster.  Because she is called to be in nearly every shot, this is definitely Bullock’s movie and she has to make us feel for and identify with her plight.   Jolie is equally capable as an actress and I could see her playing the part of Dr. Ryan Stone who is dealing with a personal tragedy.   Jolie’s  chilly and aloof personality makes her hard to cheer for.   Bullock comes off as far more approachable and  her messy divorce from a cheating hubby made her more sympathetic figure  than ever. At 50, Bullock is aging gracefully and  floating through space in a shirt and panties she’s looking damn hot doing it.

Gravity is one of those rare birds where critics and audiences agree it  restores your faith that a film guided by the steady hand of visionary director, actors really going for it, and a studio willing to offer something other than super heroes, sequels, cars crashing, slob comedies, and bloated blockbusters can all reap the rewards.

Here is some advice and if you take nothing else away from this post, please take this to heart:  Do not wait for Gravity to come out on Blu-ray    It’s gonna suck on a TV screen unless you’re one of the few with a 3-D television.   I don’t care how large your screen or how booming your speakers are.  This is one of the few films you should see in a theater and to fully appreciate the slow dazzle of Gravity it  is best appreciated on a IMAX screen.

I was a skeptic (and my wife certainly was) over how much of a difference IMAX makes, but for Gravity it’s the only way to fly.

Space exploration is not anything I’ve paid much attention to and I never was a boy who dreamed of being an astronaut, but now I finally understand why so many other people do.

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