Gravity: Something in the Air

by Ethan Alter October 4, 2013 6:00 am
<i>Gravity</i>: Something in the Air

Considering the title, it's somehow appropriate that Alfonso Cuarón's outer space thriller, Gravity, boasts the most buoyant opening sequence I've seen all year. And I'm not just talking about the space-assisted buoyancy of the central characters, medical engineer Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), who we meet hundreds of miles above the Earth as they're repairing a busted board on the Hubble space telescope. No, the tone of the entire sequence is what's so light and cheery; while Ryan fiddles with the Hubble, Matt floats in a wide arc around the construction site with the aid of a jet pack -- Cuarón's camera gracefully following his path without a visible cut -- cracking wise and sharing stories of his past adventures in the final frontier. All the while, Earth is looming in the background below (and sometimes above) them, beatifically beaming like an oversized nightlight. Simply put, it's a majestic scene, one that rekindles the romance of space travel that's been lost in both movies and real life over the decades. It also provides audiences with an idyllic moment of peace before things start to go wrong.

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