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Gravity
Gravity-poster 1381388170160
Movie poster
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Produced by Alfonso Cuarón

David Heyman

Written by Alfonso Cuarón

Jonás Cuarón

Music by Steven Price
Studio Esperanto Filmoj

Heyday Films

Starring Sandra Bullock

George Clooney

Release date(s) August 28, 2013 (Venice)

October 4, 2013 (US) November 8, 2013 (UK)

Running time 91 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Mexico
Language English
Box Office $716,392,705

Gravity is a 2013 epic 3D space thriller-drama film with themes of disaster and survival that was co-written, co-produced and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. The film stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as a surviving medical engineer and astronaut, respectively, who are stranded in outer space after a catastrophe that destroys their shuttle.

Cuarón wrote the screenplay with his son Jonás and attempted to develop the project at Universal Studios. After the rights to the project were sold, the project found traction at Warner Bros. instead. The studio approached multiple actresses before casting Bullock in the female lead role. Robert Downey, Jr. was also involved as the male lead before leaving the project and being replaced by Clooney.

Gravity opened at the 70th Venice International Film Festival in August 2013. Its North American premiere was three days later at the Telluride Film Festival. It got a wide release in the United States and Canada on October 4, 2013, and in the Philippines on October 3, 2013.

PlotEdit

Biomedical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone is on her first space shuttle mission, accompanied by veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski, who is commanding his final expedition. During a spacewalk, debris from a satellite crashes into the space shuttle Explorer, destroying most of it and leaving them stranded in space with limited air. The debris continues to hit other satellites, causing a chain reaction of destruction until the satellites necessary for the two astronauts to communicate with Mission Control in Houston are also destroyed. Even though they do not receive messages from Mission Control, both Kowalski and Stone continue to transmit "in the blind" to Mission Control, in the hopes that Mission Control can hear them.

Stone tumbles out of control after separating from the shuttle's cargo bay arm. Kowalski, who is wearing a prototype thruster pack as part of his spacesuit navigates to Stone and retrieves her. The two tether together, and make their way back to Explorer, where they discover the shuttle has been damaged beyond repair, and the rest of their crew are dead from anoxia as a result of space exposure. They then decide to use the thruster pack to make their way to the International Space Station, which is nearby in orbit. Kowalski sets the timer on his suit for 90 minutes, estimating the debris that destroyed Explorer will orbit the Earth and come back around in that amount of time.

Kowalski is ever calm and efficient in the crisis, continuing to reassure Stone that they will both make it back to Earth safely. En route to the ISS, the two discuss Stone's life back home and the death of her young daughter in a schoolyard accident. As they approach the ISS, it is clear that the ISS crew has evacuated due to the debris field causing damage. One Soyuz module for delivering ISS crew and returning them to Earth is missing, used by the ISS crew to evacuate the station. The other Soyuz module has been damaged, and its landing parachute has been deployed as a result. It becomes clear that the remaining Soyuz module cannot return them to Earth safely.

As they approach the ISS they realize they have almost no air left and only one thruster burst remaining in Kowalski's pack. They bounce off the many parts of the ISS as they attempt to grab on at their accelerated speed relative to the station. Stone is able to grab onto the ISS for a moment, however, Kowalski's momentum yanks Stone away from the ISS. As they both bounce off the ISS further, a solar wing they pass severs the the tether holding the two together. At the last moment, Stone becomes entangled in parachute cords connected to the ISS and is able to grab hold of the tether connected to Kowalski. His additional mass stretches the parachute cords causing the two of them to nearly break free. He sacrifices himself for her survival and unclips his strap, floating away to certain death. She indeed floats easily back to the ISS now. Kowalski is still in radio contact with her, asking Stone about her minimal piloting training and instructs Stone to use the Soyuz capsule to travel to the nearby Chinese space station, Tiangong. Kowalski says that even if the Chinese have evacuated, she can use a return module that is based on the design of the Soyuz. As a result, Stone's limited training may get her home safely. Kowalski continues to support her until he drifts out of radio contact.

Stone boards the ISS, which has been damaged but still has breathable air. Stone makes her way to the Soyuz module, but a fire starts from sparking wires aboard the ISS. She tries vainly to put out the fire, and finally gets aboard the Soyuz. Once aboard, Stone undocks the module and proceeds to fire the thruster, but the parachute cables are tangled, keeping the Soyuz from getting free. Stone puts on one of the Soyuz spacesuits and spacewalks outside to release the parachute cables from the capsule. 90 minutes have passed and during the spacewalk, the satellite debris approaches again, impacting with the ISS and the Soyuz. Stone barely makes it inside the Soyuz in time, just as the debris field impacts and destroys the ISS.

Stone goes over the emergency manual, and uses the thrusters to line the Soyuz up with Tiangong. She attempts to fire the main Soyuz rocket to navigate to Tiangong; however, the fuel tanks are empty, having used all of the thrust in an attempt to get untangled from the parachute. Stone tries to use the Soyuz radio to contact Earth, but she is only able to reach a farmer who does not speak English on a short wave frequency. Stone resigns herself to her fate of dying, and turns off the oxygen flow in the cabin to hasten her eventual suffocation from carbon dioxide poisoning. She begins to fall asleep, running out of oxygen, when she sees a vision of Kowalski outside the capsule. Kowalski enters the capsule, to Stone's amazement. Stone tells him that there is no fuel left for the main rocket, but Kowalski, ever the optimist, tells Stone that the capsule still has re-entry rockets for a touchdown procedure. These will be just as useful for navigating to Tiangong.

Kowalski is suddenly gone and Stone realizes she hallucinated him in her oxygen-deprived state. She turns the oxygen flow back on in the Soyuz and implements the information about the landing thrusters she remembered from her training that was manifested through Matt. Ryan talks symbolically to Matt, asking him to tell her daughter that she loves her if he sees her, promising that she won't quit. Dr. Stone then fires the thrusters, making her way to Tiangong. Realizing she is going to miss the station by several dozen meters, Stone picks up a fire extinguisher and opens the Soyuz hatch while the capsule is still pressurized, blowing her across the distance. She navigates to Tiangong using the fire extinguisher as a makeshift thruster. Stone boards Tiangong just as the entire station, having been pushed out of its stable orbit by the satellite debris, starts to break apart on the upper edge of the atmosphere. Stone successfully enters the re-entry commands in the Chinese capsule Shenzhou's computer, and Shenzhou begins its descent towards Earth. On the way down, Stone hears Mission Control over the radio tracking the capsule while rescue teams are being dispatched.

Shenzhou splashes down in a lake in an uninhabited part of the Earth. Stone opens the capsule hatch, but the water rushing in nearly drowns her, pinning her against the back wall. Once the water pressure equalizes, she swims out, but sinks with the weight of her spacesuit. She successfully slips out of her spacesuit and swims to the surface with the last of her breath. She swims to shore watching the remains of Tiangong and other satellite debris as they burn up high in the sky overhead. Stone pulls herself ashore with difficulty and takes her first shaky steps on dry land, gradually adjusting to the Earth's gravity.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

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Theatrical Release Poster.

The project was in development at Universal Pictures for several years, but the studio placed it in turnaround. Warner Bros. acquired the project, which in February 2010, attracted the attention of Angelina Jolie, who had rejected a sequel to Wanted. Later in the month, she passed on the project, partially because the studio did not want to pay her $20 million fee, which she had received for her latest two movies. She received $19 million for The Tourist and over $20 million for Salt. She also passed on the project because she wanted to work on directing her Bosnian war film, In the Land of Blood and Honey. In March, Robert Downey, Jr. entered talks to be cast in the male lead role.

CastingEdit

In mid-2010, Marion Cotillard tested for the female lead role. By August 2010, Scarlett Johansson and Blake Lively were in the running for the role. In September, Cuarón received approval from Warner Bros. to offer the role without a screen test to Natalie Portman who was being praised for her recently released film Black Swan. Portman passed on the project due to scheduling conflicts, and Warner Bros. then approached Sandra Bullock for the role. In November 2010, Downey left the project to star in How to Talk to Girls, a project in development with Shawn Levy attached to direct. In the following December, with Bullock signed for the co-lead role, George Clooney replaced Downey.

FilmingEdit

Gravity had a production budget of $80 million and was filmed digitally. Live elements were shot at Pinewood and Shepperton Studios in the UK with the visual effects supervised by Tim Webber at Framestore in London. Gravity was filmed almost entirely in front of green-screens, with CGI making up the bulk of the film's visual effects. Warner Bros. put so much trust in Cuarón that they allowed him to use an experimental, new technology to film the movie. To accomplish this virtual world that otherwise wouldn't have been possible on film with traditional effects, the actors had to do complex coreography and act in front of nothing. The 3D was designed and supervised by Chris Parks. The majority of the 3D was created through stereo rendering the CG at Framestore with the rest post converted, principally at Prime Focus, London with additional conversion work by Framestore after filming had wrapped. Prime Focus's supervisor was Richard Baker. Filming began in London in May 2011. Although the first trailer has audible explosions in it, Cuarón has confirmed that scenes in space will be silent: "They put in explosions [in the trailer]. As we know, there is no sound in space. In the film, we don't do that."

MusicEdit

In most of the film's official trailers, "Spiegel im Spiegel" was used, written by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt in 1978.

The film score to Gravity is composed by British composer Steven Price. The soundtrack album was released digitally on September 17, 2013 and in physical formats on October 1, 2013 by WaterTower Music. On September 5, 2013, a 23 minute preview of the soundtrack was released online.

GenreEdit

The exact genre to Gravity has recieved much debate. The film is considered by many to be a science-fiction film, since sci-fi movies don't necessarily have to feature fictional science. However, Alfonso Cuarón himself has denied this, claiming it to be a thriller-drama film. Others critics and audiences have noted that Gravity draws from disaster and survival films. At one point, Sandra Bullock was awarded the Critic's Choice Award for Best Actress in an Action Film, and when she accepted the award she jokingly said on many occasions that not even the filmmakers knew it was an action film. She also sarcastically thanked Jackie Chan, Sylvester Stallone and Jean-Claude Van Damme for teaching her "all she knows" about being an "action hero". Overall, the only real genres to describe Gravity are thriller and drama, although it does have themes of disaster and survival. The film does have other themes such as action and horror also, but they are not the focus of the film.

ReleaseEdit

Gravity will had its wide release in 3D and IMAX 3D on October 4, 2013. The film was originally scheduled to be released on November 21, 2012, before being re-scheduled for a 2013 release in order to complete extensive post-production effects work. The taglines used for Gravity are "Don't Let Go" and "Life in Space is Impossible". Gravity is set for release on DVD and Blu-Ray home video on February 24, 2014. 

Gravity was rated PG-13 for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language.

ReceptionEdit

Critical receptionEdit

Gc-grav-small

Gravity had its world premiere at the 70th Venice International Film Festival on August 28, where it received universal acclaim from critics and audiences, praising the acting, direction, screenplay, cinematography, visual effects, production design, the superb use of 3D, and Steven Price's musical score. Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 97% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 203 reviews with a "Certified Fresh" rating, with an average score of 9.1/10. The site's consensus states: "Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity is an eerie, tense sci-fi thriller that's masterfully directed and visually stunning". On Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 based on reviews from critics, the film has a score of 96 (citing "universal acclaim") based on 47 reviews.

At Variety, Justin Chang posits that the film "restores a sense of wonder, terror and possibility to the bigscreen that should inspire awe among critics and audiences worldwide". Richard Corliss of Time proclaimed that "Cuar‪ón shows things that cannot be but, miraculously, are, in the fearful, beautiful reality of the space world above our world. If the film past is dead, Gravity shows us the glory of cinema's future. It thrills on so many levels. And because Cuar‪ón is a movie visionary of the highest order, you truly can't beat the view." He also admired that "Beyond technology, Cuar‪ón plays daringly and dexterously with point-of-view: at one moment you're inside Ryan's helmet as she surveys the bleak silence, then in a subtle shift you're outside to gauge her reaction. The 3-D effects, added in post-production, provide their own extraterrestrial startle: a hailstorm of debris hurtles at you, as do a space traveler's thoughts at the realization of being truly alone in the universe."

The film was praised by filmmaker James Cameron, who said, "I think it's the best space photography ever done, I think it's the best space film ever done, and it's the movie I've been hungry to see for an awful long time". Gravity was named the seventh best film of 2013 by Quentin Tarantino, the fifth best in People Magazine and the best film of 2013 by Time magazine, Empire magazine, TotalFilm and MovieClips. Gravity was also the highest rated film of 2013 on IMDb, having already made it into IMDb's Top 250 movies of all time list, currently at number 126.

Many critics have compared Gravity with other notable movies set in space and noted some references to them. The choice of Ed Harris as the voice of Mission Control is seen as a nod to Apollo 13. Other references include A Trip to the Moon, Alien, 2001: A Space Odyseey and WALL-E.

By and large, Gravity is often thought of by all astronauts and scientists to be the most realistic depiction of outer space ever put on film.

AccoladesEdit

For more information, see the full article

The film won the "Future Film Festival Digital Award" at the 2013 Venice Film Festival. Bullock was awarded with the "Best Actress Award" at the 2013 Hollywood Film Festival, for her "outstanding work in Gravity" and "a stunning and emotionally layered performance that shows once again why she is one of Hollywood’s most respected and popular actresses." It was also nominated for ten academy awards and won seven. Alfonso Cuarón won the Golden Globe Award for Best Director, and the film was further nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actress in Drama for Bullock and Best Original Score. Gravity also won seven awards from the Critics Choice Awards.  It received eleven nominations at the 67th British Academy Film Awards, more than any other film of 2013, including Best Film, Outstanding British Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actress in a Leading Role. Including his nominations as producer (for Best Film awards) and editor, Cuarón was also the person with the most nominations, with five overall.

Scientific accuracyEdit

Gravity-movie-poster-closeup-490x200

British release poster.

Main Article: Inaccuracies in Gravity

The movie has been praised for the realism of its premises and its overall adherence to physical principles, despite a few inaccuracies and exaggerations:

The Hubble Space Telescope, which was being repaired at the beginning of the movie, has an orbit of about 350 miles. The ISS, on the other hand, has a more elliptical orbit at around 220 miles, while communication satellites (which were taken out by the Russian collision) orbit at 22,500 miles. There is therefore no way to migrate from the Hubble orbit to the ISS with a jet pack. Also, the debris field would affect either the communications satellites or the HST, but not both in the manner depicted. The director admits that the film is not scientifically accurate but the film required painstaking research to complete.

External LinksEdit

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