Space is the place

“I’d kiss you, but we’d both die.”

“I’d kiss you, but we’d both die.”

Finally, with Gravity, we get a big event movie that delivers the sort of thrills absent from too many large-scale movies promising big things this year. If you put this movie in your face, you are going to have a cinematic trip like no other. This is what going to the movies is supposed to be about.

I sound like a movie critic quote machine, and I don’t care. I want to make this perfectly clear: YOU MUST SEE THIS MOVIE!

And shell out the extra few bucks for 3-D, because the whole idea of this film is to physically make you feel like you are lost in space. This is an example of a 3-D movie where those glasses really add to the experience. The way this film is shot often puts you inside a spacesuit looking down at the Earth or, if the movie character happens to be drifting and tumbling in space, looking out of a space helmet as the Earth rhythmically passes by your view as you are flipping over and over.

If you are one of those people currently getting nauseated by your iPhone IOS 7 update and all of those crazy moving graphics, you might want to go see Don Jon instead, because this sucker has a lot of movement.

In her first true blue science fiction role since Demolition Man, Sandra Bullock puts herself through the wringer as Ryan Stone, an astronaut on her first space shuttle flight. Her mission commander, played by a charismatic and calming George Clooney, ribs her about her upset tummy as he flies around space in a jet pack while she works tirelessly on the Hubble.

They receive an ominous message from Earth. The Russians have purposely destroyed one of their satellites, and this has set off a chain reaction destroying multiple satellites and creating loads of fast moving space debris. At first, they’re told it shouldn’t be a problem. Moments later, they revise that theory and let the astronauts know that they appear to be totally screwed.

The space debris collides with their shuttle, and the movie is off and running. Director Alfonso Cuaron delivers the action seamlessly, often as if it were all one shot, and the effect is unrelenting. When Ryan reaches out to grab something to prevent herself from spinning out into space, you will be straining right along with her.

Cuaron isn’t all about the thrills, either. He and son Jonas have written a screenplay that packs plenty of emotional wallop along with the thrills. Bullock, who has gone public with how difficult the shoot was, is both physically and emotionally taxed, and her haunting performance will surely put her in Oscar contention.

Actually, just about every aspect of this film should find itself in an Oscar race, from the astronomical cinematography, to the gripping writing, and the amazing feats achieved through sound. Gravity would actually be a trippy experience if you took it in with your eyes closed. What Cuaron and his crew do with sound will astound you.

Clooney, in a part that originally went to Robert Downey, Jr., looks like a guy who should be floating around in space, doesn’t he? The man’s mug just screams “Astronaut!” The actor appears to relish every second he spends on screen. His Matt Kowalski is on his last mission, sharing stories, trying to break spacewalk records, proving his iron resolve and pervading good nature even when space debris has just whizzed by his head and pulverized his spacecraft.

In honor of this momentous cinematic achievement, I don’t wish to draw comparisons to any other films. Gravity is its own beautiful beast, a singularly unique experience that will leave you beyond satisfied, and very happy you didn’t wait to watch it in your living room.

See Gravity on the biggest, boldest screen available to you, and prepare to have your mind blown.