Thursday, June 5, 2014

Gravity Where There is None

            Get ready for a wildly suspenseful, zero gravity story of survival 372 miles above the earth. Cut loose from the space shuttle, oxygen running out, communication lost, catastrophic debris hurling in all directions, and little hope for rescue, terrified Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) spends much of this intense theatrical Gravity trailer spinning, adrift in space, alone where no one can hear her scream. It is emotionally and physically engaging with astronaut Matt Kowalski’s (George Clooney) voice providing only brief, calming, tension relief to this terrifying situation.
“At 372 miles above the earth, there is nothing to carry sound, no air pressure, no oxygen… life in space is impossible.”  This is an excellent attention-grabber at the beginning of Gravity’s trailer. It is used to draw people in so they will continue to watch the rest of the trailer to see what it is about and what is going on (pathos). The background music at the beginning of the trailer reminds me a beating heart, and is probably Bullock’s character’s pounding heart as she is spinning around and screaming. This would cause a high level emotion in any viewer. The music throughout the rest of the trailer is similarly intense (pathos).
According to Understanding Movies by Louis Gianetti, “Color tends to be a subconscious element in film. It’s strongly emotional in its appeal, expressive and atmospheric rather than intellectual (page 22)”. This is certainly true for this trailer. The movie takes place in space, which is black. Black can be seen as a terrifying, dark color.  As some people are afraid of the dark, having total blackness all around them would be a scary thought and feeling. (ethos)
The trailer shows two well-known, award-winning actors, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (ethos). People who have enjoyed watching these two in other movies will likely want to go see this movie in order to watch them (pathos). Both Clooney and Bullock have played many different rolls in other movies, so viewers know that they have the ability to perform well in this one (ethos).
Gravity’s director, Alfonso Cuaron, is a well-known film director, screenwriter, producer, and editor. He has been nominated for six Academy Awards, and some of his other notable works include Children of Men and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (ethos). If people have seen his other movies and liked them, then they are more like to go see this movie (logos).
From viewing the trailer, Gravity seems to have qualities that appeal to both men and women. For men who are fans of George Clooney, in his typical masculine roles, or think Sandra Bullock is attractive, they are more likely to go see this movie in theaters (pathos). In addition, the trailer features an explosion, which is a stereotypical emotional appeal for men. As for women, if they think George Clooney is sexy or are a fan of quirky and funny Sandra Bullock, then they are likely to see this movie as well (pathos). According to Everything’s an Argument by Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz, we should “look… for signals that writers share values with readers or at least understand an audience (page 102)”. Although this is not a written piece of work that is being shared to the public, the Gravity trailer definitely shows those values and understanding to the audience. During the trailer, it is revealed that Bullock’s character has a daughter waiting at home for her mom. Bullock’s character also says, “tell her that I’m not quitting.” This could be an emotional appeal to both women and men, especially if they have children of their own. In addition, men and women who typically like all thriller films would probably want to see this movie in theaters (pathos, logos)
Overall, I would give this trailer a rating of a two. The trailer itself is incredibly suspenseful, heart pounding, and intriguing, but to me it relies on pathos, or emotional, appeal more than any of the other appeals (logos and ethos).  There are definitely some elements of ethos and logos featured in the trailer as well. In addition, what this movie was about from watching the trailer other than the fact that a space ship exploded and two astronauts were stranded in space. I have never seen this movie, but I assume that it is excellent considering that Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 97%, and it won seven awards at the 86th Academy Awards, the most for the ceremony.

This brief peak into an obvious thrill ride of a movie gives only minimal glimpse in the wondrous beauty of space with a mixture of visuals and special effects, and only hints at the intimate and emotional depth that is sure to follow. Gravity appears to be an out-of-this-world, suspenseful saga with a touch of humanity to give it greater depth than a typical popcorn-tossing, edge of your seat-type movie. Hopefully this combination will leave the viewer feeling more than just as an observer of a gripping, sci-fi nightmare in the spectacular, sparkling space above.

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