THE first question school children ask astronauts — if they’re lucky enough to meet one — is: “How do you go to the toilet in a space suit?” How lovely is that?
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Starring: George Clooney, Sandra Bullock
THE first question school children ask astronauts — if they’re lucky enough to meet one — is: “How do you go to the toilet in a space suit?” How lovely is that? An adult would never dare ask anything so personal, but would probably settle for the second question on the list: “Are you scared of being cut loose in space?”
The opening 13 minutes of this film taps into that primal fear as two astronauts, the rookie played by Sandra Bullock and the old hand by George Clooney, find themselves adrift with a limited supply of oxygen, after shrapnel from a space accident hits their space shuttle. It’s a sequence that has been described as “breathtaking,” both because of its eerie portrayal of the emptiness of space and because of its meticulous and utterly convincing use of computer generated imagery.
The action was shot at Shepperton and Pinewood Studios under the eagle eye of a production designer from Henley (see page 3) but once in your seat, with your 3D glasses on, say the critics, you will be utterly transported to the depths of space, with a vision of Earth normally only reserved for the angels.
Bullock’s Dr Ryan Stone has only been let loose in space for six months, while Clooney’s Matt Kowalsky, a charming, offhand but cocksure old space veteran is on his last mission.
Director Alfonso Cuarón, whose credits include Children Of Men, is credited with leaving the astronauts to tell the tale. Apart from the mind-blowing graphics, the film’s strength lies in the fact that it’s a series of dialogues, including a series of witty anecdotes from the unflappable Kowalsky and tough talking with Houston, and some heart-rending monologues. When you are hurtling through space all alone, what else do you have but talk?