Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Gravity: A Must-See

Last week we went on our first field trip, to watch the 3D Sci-Fi film "Gravity" directed by Alfonso Cuarón. It was quite a thrilling experience, with gripping effects and stunning visuals. However, once observing the film with a critical eye, I soon came across a few flaws regarding the plot and physics of the story. Now, keep in mind, this movie was not designed for a group of Physics PhDs, and the errors do not take away from the absolute brilliance of the film at all.

To start, there are a number of general plot deficiencies, from the location of the space stations and satellites to Dr. Stone's (Sandra Bullock) attire, as well as the immense exaggeration of the spacesuits' mobility and Dr.Stone's versatility with space stations. Considering the physics, there are some problematic scenes as well.

** SPOILER ALERT!! **

At one of the most important parts of the movie, Kowalski (George Clooney) sacrifices himself for the sake of Dr. Stone's survival. As a matter of fact, this was not necessary, and he could have easily been saved! Since space has zero gravity, there was no force pulling him away from the Space Station, and Dr. Stone would have been able to tug on the tethers without difficulty, to bring them both to safety.

Along with that, the scene in which Dr. Stone propels herself to the Soyuz using a fire extinguisher is theoretically possible, yet quite unrealistic. Fire extinguishers only have so much pressure, and if this actually happened in real life, it would definitely not be as easy as depicted.

On the other hand, these mishaps merely add to the cinematic effect, and they keep the story line going. We have to consider that this is simply a piece of fiction, not a documentary. Furthermore, they did get many things right, such as the beautiful view of the earth, as well as the structure of the ISS itself. Overall, this film was quite breathtaking and it deserves its stand as one of the most successful space films of all-time.

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