Houston, I have a bad feeling about this mission

It is so good to see Sandra Bullock evolve as an actress, as in ‘Gravity”. It hit Red Box yesterday and if you can’t find it at your local box, it maybe because I still have my copy checked out. I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t watch it in Omnimax. I settled for the front row of the Esquire’s big screen when it came out. Now it is out on DVD and I’m relishing the moment. Anne did not see it in the theater with me, nor did she see it last night. She had election judge training instead. So, tonight we’ll watch it together on our smaller home screen. 

For those few readers who are uninformed about this movie, “Gravity” is about two astronauts, Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) who find themselves fighting for their lives, after disaster strikes on a routine shuttle mission. Created by the father-son team of Alfonso and Jonás Cuarón, this movie is visually stunning, tautly suspenseful and is imbued with a heart of gold. In a nice touch, Ed Harris is the off-screen voice of Mission Control. “Gravity” won the Oscar for best director and swept the academy’s technical awards for a total of seven. The movie was nominated for best picture and Bullock was nominated for best actress.

Much press has been made about the film’s scientific ‘flaws’. In fact, this aspect of criticism is just about the extent of all unfavorable commentary about the movie. There are several in the movie and they are glaring violations of Newtonian mechanics, but in each instance an important part of the story hinges upon breaking that rule, here story trumps science. Besides the only reason people are complaining and they are only half-hearted gripes at that is because the whole movie looks and feels so realistic. People feel that they are somehow clever for discovering these scientific loopholes, when in reality, if you step back and look at the breadth of the storyline, each broken physical law was a conscious artistic choice.

I’ve touched upon the picture’s artistic and scientific attributes, but I would be remiss to not mention the movie’s treatment of the divine. There are little clues of this theme scattered throughout the show. There is the Russian icon in the Soyuz. The root word for gravity is grave, which as an adjective could mean either serious or heavy. The astronauts certainly find themselves in a grave predicament. As a noun though, it speaks of death. Near the end, Bullock’s Ryan seems ready to consign herself to the darkness in the deep of space. Then she receives a visitation and is reborn. Art, science and spirit, “Gravity” is firing on all three cylinders and then it finds a fourth, story to tie them all together.

Meanwhile back here on earth, Anne took her car into the shop today. Cough-putt-putt-cough! She claimed that I broke it. I’m sure that my ten-mile jaunt to work and then back did noticeably increase the wear on her already worn out clutch. Now we’re waiting for the car guy to call us with the bad news. I asked Anne if the car guy was already on the phone to his boat broker, before she was exiting the building. She said no, but then said that he called back to the garage and asked, “Hey guys, what’s the pool up to on this one?”

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