this is a movie! Much as I loathe movies that rely on special effects,
this one is, well, special. With a cast of two, George Clooney and
Sandra Bullock (others receive voice credits), it is spellbinding. They
are floating around in space, weightless, the entire film. The special
effects are mind-boggling.
and Bullock are astronauts on a routine mission when disaster strikes.
Clooney is an experienced, happy-go-lucky jokester while Bullock is an
overly serious novice. It’s a tale of survival in the starkest
environment known to mankind, space.
Although superstar Clooney is in the cast, this is Bullock’s movie as
she is in almost every scene. Equal credit must go to visual effects
supervisor Tim Webber, who was Oscar®-nominated for The Dark Knight,
because they are the best I’ve ever seen, along with director of
photography Emmanuel Lubezki, whose photography is nothing short of
spectacular. That’s not to diminish the award-quality work of production
designer Andy Nicholson and director Alfonso Cuarón (who also wrote a
pretty good script with his son, Jonás Cuarón).
exceptionally effective 3-D, this had me on the edge of my seat
throughout. Obviously Bullock and Clooney were not really floating
around weightless. The film is a hybrid of live-action, computer
animation, and CGI with sets, backgrounds, and costumes rendered
digitally. A unique 12-wire rig was used and manipulated by puppeteers
that allowed Bullock to look as if she really was floating in some of
the scenes. Even knowing this, what you see on the screen will blow your
just because this is a space-age movie with 21st-Century
graphics doesn’t mean that it doesn’t pay homage to what came before.
The scenes of the inside of a devastated space station are strikingly
similar to the scenes of a similarly devastated WWII bomber limping back
to England in 1946’s A Matter of Life and Death in which
directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger have their camera pan
through the stricken plane in almost exactly the same manner and with
similar views as Cuarón uses to display the condition of the space
creates the isolation and solitude of space brilliantly, making the
audience feel the desperation of the two astronauts when things suddenly
go terribly wrong.
scheduled for another screening the same evening as I saw this in the
morning, but was so overwhelmed by this that I cancelled the second. It
wouldn’t have been fair to see another movie after I had just seen this.
said. This is one not to miss.