79. Oh Gravity!

Guys. Guys. Listen to me, guys. If you love science fiction like I do, and if you love stunning visuals set to heartbreakingly beautiful music like I do, you need to watch Gravity.

The picture is absolutely gorgeous. For us mere mortals who cannot join the astronauts up in space, this film makes for a pretty good substitute to that experience. You think the sunrise is beautiful? Or you love watching the northern lights? Think the stars twinkling away in the vast darkness of the universe are stunning? Wait till you see it IN SPACE!

It’s movies like this that frustrates me as a writer – because I have no words powerful or evocative enough to capture the sheer beauty of the picture. But allow me to try anyway:

Space. Dark. Impossibly vast. Empty. Stretching on forever in every direction. This infinite darkness is punctuated by little specks of light – the light of distant stars. The Earth lays beneath our feet, a giant blue marble that we call home, hovering in this massive space alone, its only neighbor millions of kilometers away. Hovering above the earth’s faint blue glow is the International Space Station: a modern marvel. The most expensive man-made structure to date, and a true testament to human progress.

Now those things tethered to the International Space Station? Those funny little white suits, clumsily fumbling their way, trying to figure out what’s up or down when those things don’t exist? That’s us. Small compared to the International Space Station. A tiny speck above the great big ball of dirt that is earth. Infinitesimal in the largeness of the galaxy. Nothing in the unfathomably large universe.

Yet it is us who sees the stars. Who tastes the colors. Who feasts upon the beauty and the grandeur that is creation. Us. Little petty beings who could choke on our own saliva if we weren’t careful about it. It is us who takes all of this in, observing the magnificence of the universe, becoming part of its largeness though being such little creatures ourselves. Us.

And that’s all I can do to describe a single frame of the film. Seriously, if behind every picture is a thousand words, then this 90-minute film shown to us at 24 frames per second is worthy of volumes dedicated to simply describing the sheer majesty of the scenery.

(24fps means 1,000 words per frame = 24,000 words per second; and since 90 minutes = 5,400 seconds, the number of words that can be used to exhaustively describe the picture of the film is calculated by 5,400*24,000, equaling to 129,600,000 words; which is the number of words in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings, multiplied by 230)

Don’t even get me started on the music. The score is breathtaking, and the music is interwoven into the storytelling so seamlessly that it becomes not just an aspect of the experience, but an inseparable part of it. Special honors must go to the sound mixer, who managed to bring the sounds of space into the movie theaters and into our ears.

If you’ve heard me talk about the things that I look for in a movie experience, this film gets full scores in the first two items: the visuals and the sound. If I had to complain about something, I’d say that I would have preferred a richer story, but what the heck. Gravity wins by virtue of its beauty, and that its plot is at least comprehensible to the average human mind.

(I’m looking at you, Terrence Malick)

All in all, it’s a great experiential film; and if you watch it, fork out that extra money to watch it in IMAX 3D. Unless 3D or sci-fi is not your thing, I guarantee that you will not regret a single cent spent on this.


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