You get to spend a day inside your favorite movie. Tell us which one it is — and what happens to you while you’re there.
Gravity with Sandra Bullock was incredible in concept, and awesome in its visual effects. Bullock is a scientist on her first trip into space with the mission of upgrading the Hubble telescope, and co-star George Clooney, is an astronaut on his last space mission, anticipating retirement. They are struck by an avalanche of space debris and end up floating far from the aircraft.
The movie does an incomparable job of depicting the enormity, silence, and infinity of space — that in itself is overwhelming. But free-falling in space and knowing that one’s only hope lies in getting back to the tiny spacecraft is so far out of my realm of experience to contemplate.
So what would I do inside the movie? That depends: If I could climb into the scene and be in space, I could enjoy floating free of gravity, and seeing the earth in the distance in the pure state in which God created it — far enough away to not see it’s imperfections. That would be life changing, as so many of astronauts discovered. But like so many movies these days, what you see is not reality. In making Gravity, the actors we suspended and twisted around like puppets on strings, and so were the cameras to create the swirling, floating effect. They still ran into things, grabbed on to passing objects, and squeezed through small spaces inside the space capsule.
I’m no Sandra Bullock, and I’m not cut from the same cloth as space pioneers, so I can’t imagine myself in the situation portrayed in the film. But the movie is only the setting. The same situation could take place in other ways and in other places. The real question posed by the script is how would one react in a crisis situation — with life and death stakes.
I don’t know if I could keep my cool the way Sandra Bullock’s character Dr. Ryan Stone does. She is totally aware of how serious her situation is, and has moments of panic. Nevertheless, she overcomes each formidable obstacle in turn as it occurs. Would I have the perseverance, faith, and belief in my own abilities to use my mind and training as well as she does. On the other hand, what’s the alternative? Would I fight the way she does, or would I float away in space, and let death gradually overtake me? Obviously this is a situation no normal person is likely to face, but lots of people do face overwhelming obstacles in life, some like the space debris flying at them, from out of the blue. People whose lives change in a minute, as they are faced with circumstances they never would have envisioned.
No one knows how he or she will react with the unthinkable occurs. One would only hope to have the courage and drive to survive that Sandra Bullock’s character showed in Gravity.