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The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Gravity’s visuals impress, but plot falls flat

3.5 stars/5 stars

Warning: spoilers
Since the 1950s, space travel has been mankind’s enigmatic endeavor into discovering the final frontier. In “Gravity,” directed by Alfonso Cuarón, space travel is considered in a dark and chilling depiction of the reasons why man has not yet dominated space.
“Gravity” opens with a scene of Dr. Stone (played by Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (played by George Clooney) on the Explorer. Within minutes, the Explorer is blasted to bits and Stone is sent hurtling into space.

“Gravity” may be one of the most highly anticipated and hyped- up movies of the year. And why wouldn’t it be? This multi-million dollar film was featured in the Toronto Film Festival, stars high- pro- file actors Bullock and Clooney and was predicted to be in line for a few prestigious film awards even before its October 4 release date.

And yet, with a predictable plot line, the strong point of “Gravity” lies not in the finesse of storytelling, but rather in the mechanical effects of visual and auditory enhancement.

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Critics see “Gravity” as a great survival story. Stone goes through hardship after hardship—she faces fuel malfunctions, gets trapped in various debris showers, escapes a burning space station and frequently gets stuck drifting in zero gravity space—but eventually survives these ordeals when she lands in an unknown body of water on earth. The buildup of these melodramatic scenes and the sequence of events that takes place throughout the movie makes the story slightly implausible. Frankly, the fact that Stone survives every catastrophic obstacle in the movie while everyone else in her space shuttle dies within minutes of the opening scene just seems too perfectly calculated.

On the other hand, the 3D visuals and unique soundtrack were definitely the most flawlessly executed aspects in “Gravity.” Every scene entrances the viewer with a startling shot of Earth in all its mysterious glory. Behind the stark contrast of the black- ness in space, watching the sun- rise behind the horizon line of the earth provided an especially spectacular viewing experience. Steven Price, the composer of the movie’s exceptional soundtrack, managed to heighten the already phenomenal visuals with his un- forgettable score. Price accentuates every scene with rumbling crescendos and gentle rests that keep the viewer attentive despite faults in the plotline.

Even though “Gravity”’s astound- ing visuals and the soundtrack perfectly complement the dramatic ups and downs that Stone faces, the imperfections in the plot line only detract from the movie’s over- all effect. Having Stone go through every malfunction, road-block and obstacle imaginable all while trying to decide if she even wants to live becomes a breathtaking survival story in space that falls slightly short of the incredible amount of anticipation it was given.

On a brighter note, George Clooney, who plays the witty veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski, commands his role with the finesse of a seasoned actor. However, shortly after the movie starts, he sacrifices himself to space in order to save Stone. Kowalski’s humor lifted the opening scenes of the movie and made the banter between him and Stone more interesting. He is mostly absent for the rest of the movie, which only leaves the view- er to watch the remaining hour and a half of the movie in slight disappointment.

Although Bullock and Clooney seem like a pairing that would inevitably create a blockbuster hit, the formulaic plot and the absence of Clooney throughout the movie prevents the viewer from truly appreciating the magic “Gravity” was supposed to emanate, especially in 3D. Watch this movie, but just remember that although “Gravity” may be slightly tarnished by a lackluster plot, it is brilliant on the big screen because of the stunning visuals and thrilling soundtrack.

Oct. 4 2013 (PG-13)
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

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