The gravity of the situation
I saw Sandra Bullock flopping around in space for almost two hours the other day. I watched her breathless (both her and I) in “Gravity,” a new film by Alphonso Cauron (he’s got a symbol over the O in his last name, but I don’t know how to make that happen).
If you haven’t seen the trailers, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) get ripped off the space shuttle in a storm of debris. They have to mount their own rescue operation. No one is coming for them. They have to make their way to the International Space Station before the space rocks orbit around the Earth and hit them all over again. The space junk makes its rounds every 90 or so minutes. That’s the damnedest thing about the clutter in the orbit. It keeps coming back. That’s what you get when you don’t clean up after yourselves, kids!
I think I held my breath the whole time, but then, I would have passed out. It looked so real. When James Whale made “Frankenstein” in 1931, some people fainted in the aisles? It’s funny to look back at that movie and realize that people were terrified by a little bit of spirit gum and black eyeliner. I am sure 10 years from now, someone will watch “Gravity” on TV and go, “That is so fake.”
I watched a lot of movies where I can totally relate to the character. For some weird reason, I related to Sandra Bullock as she floated around hundreds of miles off the surface. Her character, Stone, is a genius, holding several advanced degrees. She is one sly Stone!
Clearly, her genius isn’t why I could relate to her. She is bouncing around in the thermosphere, approximately 240 miles above the planet. That’s not why I relate to her. She’s not a very verbal person, either. Let’s face it, I have ABSOLUTELY nothing in common with her. Still, her plight is engaging.
She is willing to fight extremely difficult odds just to keep going. That’s not it, either. I would have given up right around the time the first thing goes wrong. It’s a good thing they didn’t make it about me. The movie would have ended with me saying, “This is hard,” after the first 10 minutes.
Dr. Ryan Stone is a fish out of water, or, in this case, a human being without oxygen. She has to survive on her wits and very little else. Everything is taken away from her, and she keeps going. She’s a little bit like the Energizer Bunny (does that reference make me look old?).
You have to admire a character like that. I love seeing someone face oncoming challenges, but this movie gets a little ridiculous.
At the end of the film, my friend Jason turned to me and said, “I don’t want to be an astronaut anymore.” Ditto, Jason, ditto!
Personally, I’m not going up into space until the ship looks like the starship Enterprise. I was hyperventilating as she crawled around inside the cramped quarters of the craft. I need my leg room.
Ironically, space is no place for the claustrophobic.