Gravity Blu-ray + DVD Review
Check out Kidzworld’s Blu-ray & DVD review of the eye-popping disaster in space movie Gravity starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney!
By: Lynn Barker
It’s a sad fact that humans leave trash behind everywhere they go. That includes space. Sometimes this “junk” runs into other “junk” and boom! Usually harmless but, for first time astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone, a huge collision is about to ruin a perfect mission and launch her on a fight for her life.
Veteran astronaut Mike Kowalski (George Clooney) and newbie astronaut/scientist Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) are busy fixing something on an extended arm of the Hubble Space Telescope. Kowalski is having fun zooming around while testing a new jet pack. Both take time to enjoy the view of Earth while Kowalski and crew joke with the guys down in Houston.
Houston issues a warning; abort the mission! The Russians sent a rocket to destroy one of their own malfunctioning satellites and the debris from the blast is heading their way! Before anyone can get back inside the space shuttle, chunks of satellite hit and destroy it and the other crew members! Ryan’s tether breaks, sending her spinning alone and farther and farther away. Kowalski uses his jetpack to reach her.
With the shuttle destroyed, Kowalski tries to propel both himself and Ryan toward a not too distant Russian space station where maybe they can get a lift home via one of the Russian life pods. Trouble is, oxygen in the astronauts’ suits should run out before they get there!
Will both Kowalski and Ryan make it to the Russian station? What if that too is destroyed by space debris? The Chinese have a station a little farther away. Can that be a fall-back plan or is all lost for the brave duo?
Note: Watch these features AFTER you see the movie so as not to ruin it for yourself!
We get an extensive look at how this groundbreaking film was made in the long-ish featurette Behind the Scenes – Gravity: Mission Control. This 9-part extra features Director Alfonso Cuaron, his screenwriter son Jonas as well as actors Sandra Bullock and George Clooney commenting on the origin of the story and we learn that the screenplay was followed almost word-for word. If you didn’t really “get” all the screenwriters were trying to say with the story, this will all be explained in detail, stressing the Ryan character’s emotional journey, near-death and re-birth.
Special Visual Effects, which are favored to win the Oscar this year, involved creating new ways for the actors to “float” in space, new devices, camera-rigs and finally building a special “box” with projected images from space all around the actors. This could serve as a reference to help them act the scene and be shot as background and improved later with detailed computer CGI (computer-generated imagery) work.
First, the whole script was shot in animated Pre-Viz (a pre-visualization of each scene with more crude computer animation), for the filmmakers and actors to match when actually shooting each scene. Sandra Bullock was in her “box” so much that joking crewmembers placed a lighted sign above it flashing “Sandy’s Cage”, which cracked her up.
Sandra’s wirework (to look like she was floating in space) was difficult and required a ton of physical exercise and prep for her. She was sometimes moved like a puppet on wires from place to place.
Costumes, props and set design are discussed in detail. Little cute things like a floating plastic “Marvin the Martian”, a ping pong paddle and an astronaut’s teeth retainer are seen floating around in various scenes. Great care was given to make the movie look current, not futuristic or too sci-fi. Last day of filming, everyone jumped into a big water tank to celebrate.
Shot Breakdowns are interesting. There are 5 of them, showing us exactly how the filmmakers made the astronauts’ plastic visors all in computer, how Sandra performed her “rebirth” slow drift in an airlock, how fire in a space station was handled in computer and on set, a splash landing on Earth, and how sound and music were used in the film to complement the action rather than stand alone.
Collision Point: The Race to Clean Up Space – is a pretty cool documentary narrated by actor Ed Harris that shows us how human space launches have left tons of space debris now orbiting our planet.. parts of rockets, satellites, etc. This trash can hinder communications and impede further space exploration. Some satellites and space stations can be moved remotely from the ground but what happens in Gravity could actually happen!. This is super interesting.
Aningaaq: A Short Film by Jonas Cuaron - Is very neat. Watch it only AFTER you see the movie. At one point astronaut Ryan, played by Sandra Bullock is sending out an SOS from space. Answering and not understanding is an Eskimo man in isolated Greenland, an ice fisherman worrying about his sled dogs and baby girl. This little film shows the conversation from his point of view rather than Sandra’s up in space. It’s very sweet and compliments the film.
Since we don’t have a 3D TV, we couldn’t see the film that way at home but did in theaters. I’ll say that the look of the movie on your home screen will still be crisp, clean, colorful and amazing just in HD. The extras on this Blu-ray & DVD are just amazing. If you might want to be a filmmaker when you grow up, this is inspiring to the max. Even if you don’t “get” filmmaking, you will be amazed watching how new inventions combined with old filmmaking techniques to create the eye-popping spectacle that is Gravity.
Learning, in the extras from director Cuaron and his writer son, just what the story was supposed to really mean was also eye-opening. You can watch the film on the surface or, after learning the hidden meaning behind the story, go back and watch it again with new eyes. There is enough from the actors to lighten up the mood as well.
When you combine the tension, action and heartfelt human story in the movie with the state-of-the-art special effects, you can’t lose. This Blu-ray/DVD and Digital combo pack is a great way to enjoy Gravity in several forms and the great extras are like going to film school, in a good, non-boring way! This home entertainment version of the film is highly recommended and, like the film review, we go 5 stars.
Gravity Blu-ray & DVD Rating:
Gravity is now available on Blu-ray & DVD!