So, I was in the chat tonight, live chatting about the proceedings of the Academy Awards and the awards that Gravity was winning... I thought I'd come on here and expand a bit.

At 372 miles above the Earth
there is nothing to carry sound
No air pressure
No sound

Life in space is impossible
The story of Gravity centers around medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone played by Sandra Bullock, the mission specialist for mission STS-157, on board the Shuttle Explorer. The mission is for repairs and upgrades on the Hubble Space Telescope, new imaging equipment is being installed into the telescope that will increase the resolution of the images taken of deep space... all the way out to the edge of the visible universe. When a Russian satellite incurs a missile impact, it starts a Kessler Syndrome Cascade, turning Low Earth Orbit into veritable shooting gallery where the closing velocities are in excess of 18,000 MPH. What was a routine servicing mission to the HST, is now a desperate fight for survival.

Now, you may have heard that Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson had a few things to say about the film. But he later said that the things that they did get right was too much to just tweet about. For me, this was the most scientifically literate movie about space I have seen since 2001. I believe Dr. Tyson said something similar. There's quite a bit to be said about the science, but a lot they got right.

For the fans of the space program, NASA and internationally; the ISS and the Shuttle program and those that are scientifically literate about those programs... this is more than just a science fiction drama... it is absolutely terrifying at times. As scenes unfold, you may get a knot in your stomach knowing what is coming... it's almost like your fandom of space programs is a spoiler for what your watching... but honestly, it merely intensifies the experience. When I saw it, there were moments where I would tense up at times and mutter to myself nonononono... *cringe* The old hackneyed expression "We'll sell you the seat, but you'll only need the edge," is actually true for this film. When I left the theater, I was exhausted. I felt like I had been through an ordeal myself.

The film is done in a minimalist style with few actors with Dr. Stone is the primary character, but the use of the sound and the music makes them as much a character in the film as much as Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. The intensity, the artfully harsh sound transitions and the slow, brooding and sinister tempo of the music not only makes the sound and music characters, they are antagonists.

We also get Ed Harris as the voice of Houston Control, who I think has some kind of contract with Hollywood to always be Houston Control.

About the actors, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. There was the tiniest of muttering about them as astronauts. To that, I disagree. I think they are brilliant choices. They are both sharp, brilliant, charming, intelligent and witty... attributes that NASA astronauts posses. They are also just about the right age as well. Clooney plays the confident "Yeager like" swagger that some astronauts have perfectly and Sandra plays the scientifically straight forward, "matter of fact" attitude that others have equally well.

NASA Shuttle astronaut Mike Massimino was a participant on the Gravity press junket tour as a NASA representative. Learning this was key to my desire to see the movie... rarely, if ever has a NASA representative been involved with the promotion of a movie. Here's another interview, with Dr. Cady Coleman and Mike Massimino about Gravity.

Convinced yet? Internationally, Gravity has been nominated for 231 awards, 137 it has won. More currently, here's the results of the Academy Awards, wins in green:
  • Best Picture Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman... Lost to 12 Years a Slave
  • Best Director Alfonso Cuarón
  • Best Actress Sandra Bullock... lost to Cate Blanchet in Blue Jasmine (Who, quite frankly got a little... catty in her speech.)
  • Best Cinematography Emmanuel Lubezki
  • Best Production Design Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woodlard... Lost to The Great Gatsby, Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn
  • Best Film Editing Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger
  • Best Original Score Steven Price
  • Best Sound Editing Glenn Freemantle
  • Best Sound Mixing Skip Lievsay, Christopher Benstead, Niv Adiri and Chris Munro
  • Best Visual Effects Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk and Neil Corbould

Gravity took home seven of the ten nominations it had... and was the only reason that I bothered to watch the Oscars. I felt like I had a horse in this race.

So, when you go to watch this film, here's a few tips to maximize your experience:
  • Get a good nights rest the day before.
  • Don't drink too much before you watch.
  • Watch on the largest TV you can. 3D, if possible.
  • Turn it up just about as loud as you can bear, then turn it up just a tiny little but more.
  • Turn out the lights.

I really and truly hope you enjoy this film as much as I have. It was the first film that I wanted voluntarily to go see for my self and did see, in twelve years.