If you keep up with the celebrities of social media, then you might already have had a few glimpses of what life on a space station might be like, courtesy of Canadian astronaut and, until recently, the commander of the International Space Station, who has posted videos showing the curiosities of everyday life in zero gravity: everything from washing hands to eating mixed nuts.
As fun as the idea of living hundreds of miles above the surface of the Earth might be, it's difficult to forget that while astronauts look down at the surface of the planet, there's something a lot more frightening behind them. It's this horror that Alfonso Cuarón's new thriller Gravity explores, as Sandra Bullock plays an astronaut called Dr. Ryan Stone, who is working on a space station when the equipment she is tethered to gets hit by debris and sends her spinning off into the cold vacuum of space.
Gravity will mostly be a one-woman show, but Bullock is joined in the CGI-driven environment of space by George Clooney, who plays a veteran of life in zero gravity and the most prominent supporting character. We now have six new images from Gravity that show the life of Bullock and Clooney's characters pre-disaster, working on the space station set that was built for the film.
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Gravity is being billed as a sci-fi film, but that's arguably somewhat inaccurate; the science and technology in Cuarón's film is already in existence and is an everyday reality for a very select few people. While thankfully no incident like the one in Gravity has occurred, there have been a number of deaths related to space flight, including three human deaths due to space exposure (not to mention poor Laika).
Based on these images, and the trailers shown so far, most of the emphasis in Gravity's marketing is being placed upon the relationship between Bullock and Clooney's characters, and the lead-up to Dr. Stone being cast adrift. This is understandable, since the initial action setpiece with both stars is likely to be a bigger draw for audiences than simply watching someone drifting in the isolation of space. The images do, however, capture what looks like a very cool and atmospheric (figuratively speaking) color palette from Oscar-nominated cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men).
Usually in survival films about a character in isolation, such as Castaway or Buried, there seems to be a feasible chance of the hero being rescued, but in Gravity it's difficult to see how Stone is ever going to get back home. In the "Detached" trailer, Kowalsky (Clooney) loses sight of her within seconds, indicating that she's travelling at an extremely fast speed away from the space station. The real life ISS, for example, travels at an average of 17,000 miles per hour, and completes an orbit of the Earth in just over an hour and a half.
Does the premise of Gravity turn your stomach, or do you think an unplanned space walk sounds like fun?
Gravity will open in regular theaters and selected 3D/IMAX screens around the U.S. on October 4th, 2013