Reach For The Stars
By Adam Sturrock
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Writer: Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón
Cast: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney
Having failed to find a 3-D viewing of this (for me) highly anticipated film, I begrudgingly accepted defeat and watched it in the two-dimensional version, my opinions of this film may differ from others due to this.
As we look up into the sky into the cosmic soup that is the universe, we question our existence while tentatively dipping our toes into uncharted waters. While many children want to grow up to be policemen or ninjas or footballers; it could be quite fair to say that the mass populi would rather whizz about in a spaceship as an astronaut.
Space is scary; we yearn to remove ourselves, with failure, from our clinging Mother Earth, but are inevitably suffocated by the absence of her (and O2) when we leave. There is no place like home.
Sandra Bullock plays a naive medical engineer called Dr Ryan Stone, with the help of the veteran astronaut, Matt Kowalski (Clooney) as they try to repair a space station. After a freak satellite accident, the two hurtle through space trying to find any wire, grip, debris to act as a safety net and to eventually head back home.
Like an awestruck child, she fails to listen to instructions like a petulant pre-school toddler, with the father figure of Kowalski looming large over her as protection, she finds it hard to survive without him. The film quite fantastically champions survival as the main theme of the film. Stone represents what Earth is to humans; a conduit for survival and without it’s gravity, we flounder.
The above picture is taken from one of the early scenes of the film and is one of my favorite moments. Like a baby in the womb, oxygen is a comforting, protective bubble for her. Throughout the film she clings on for dear life onto a line that is hooked to her suit in order for her not to drift away; like all humans, we cling on to what we can in an effort to progress forward, even though Sandra Bullock is in her 40s, this film represents the transition from an awestruck child into an adult; a coming of age film of sorts.
The performance of both actors, with a strong mention to Bullock, is quite spectacular considering the acting environment they were enclosed within. Cuarón chose to simulate the lack of gravity with CGI and a 3-D LED rig in which the actors would be suspended up to 10 hours per day. The rendering of the majority CGI film took around 3 years to make, finally CGI is used as a tool rather than a crutch – Michael Bay we are looking at you. With nothing but cues as to what emotions to express and where to gaze etc, it is a feat in itself that the actors gave such strong performances. Although Bullock’s character may be criticized for being panic-ridden and whiny throughout, it is still undoubtedly a return to form for the actress. Clooney is used mainly as a facilitator for conversation to keep things from being a one person film, so is mostly overshadowed by Bullock’s performance.
Floating in zero gravity has become very frightening due to the realistic execution of the film and which may leave many to experience nightmares as they too fail to clutch onto that final tangle of rope just out of their reach.
A fantastic film that is still in cinemas if you want to see it in it’s 3-D glory (a must! Or you could wait for it come in the 3-D dvd form – posh).
What do you guys think? Let me know in the comment section below!