Gravity is a science fiction film from 2013, with a strong mythological, Christian influence.
Logline: A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.
Tagline: (seen above) Don’t let go.
Arc word: ‘let go’. “You’ve got to learn to let go,” Matt tells Ryan. We’ve also got the visual motif of Ryan letting Matt go irretrievably into space.
Designing Principle: A middle-aged space engineer learns to appreciate life again and believe in herself after a series of narrow escapes in space.
Theme Line: When you feel all alone and about to give up, fortify yourself by finding some imaginary person to give yourself some comfort.
Story World: Floating around in space
Symbol Line: ‘Tethered’ (grounded) versus being ‘untethered’ (lost and all alone, with nothing to hold onto).
Mooshing The Science
See: Getting Science Right In Film: It’s Not The Facts, Folks
This is a good example of a SF story in which the writers hired a science advisor, then picked and chose which parts of actual science would help and which would hinder their storytelling. They ended up with a film which can really annoy scientifically literate fans of mimesis, but for viewers who are able to suspend disbelief, and who enjoy predictable plots, this is a well-crafted sci-fi thriller with a satisfying character arc.
The writers of Gravity seem to be following the advice to ‘dazzle the audience with pyrotechnics’ as a way of hiding the improbabilities, which Michael Hauge offers as one screenwriting technique in his article on how to create believable stories, but as he says himself, ‘This is definitely the last resort solution to the problem of credibility.’
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