Unless I’m mistaken, falling is a nearly universal fear. I’m not talking about what I do every time I try to eat while walking up stairs or step on a metal street grate in the rain. I’m talking about the plunge – the one that jolts us awake when our dreams toss us from the top of some place we know we shouldn’t be. I mean, I know people bungee jump, and base jump, and parachute all over all the time. But the fact remains, unless they’re suicidal, they always have that something protecting them. And to me, that’s what makes the trailer for Alfonso Cuarón’s upcoming film, Gravity, so terrifying.
Gravity’s trailer starts out calm, serene, and wraps the viewer in their own parachute as they hang over the precipice at the top of the world. Here, we meet Dr. Ryan Stone ( played by Sandra Bullock) and astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney), admiring the beauty of earth from 372 miles above its surface. They float above their shuttle, marvel at their weightlessness, and give us, the viewer, a glimpse of something we may never in our lifetimes get a chance to feel.
As quickly as we are introduced to this beauty, we are torn away. Disaster strikes, tearing Bullock and Clooney from their ship, and tossing them into the depths of space. Some chaos ensues, eventually ending with Bullock spinning deeper and deeper into space as she whispers “anybody, can you copy,” and then fades to black. For me, the moment in the trailer was so real, it was like my parachute failed to launch, or I had personally begun to slide down the edge of a cliff. I almost didn’t realize that I had stopped breathing while I watched these two characters spin out of control over the top of the earth, inches, in my mind, from being pulled back down the 1,964,160 feet to the surface of the earth.
Granted, I am terrified of heights and flying (and being alive overall), but there was something so tangible about the scenes I was seeing that it felt real. While effects are usually discernible regardless of how well they are executed, there was something about Sandra Bullock dangling over a hunk of metal, spinning as she desperately tries to reach her arms out to grab it that looked (to me at least) as if I were there, watching her face her death.
If the rest of the film is up to this caliber, I can foresee Gravity being a stunning film, both emotionally and visually.