“Gravity,” a sci-fi movie directed the great Alfonso Cuaron, won rave reviews today from its opening night at the Venice Film Festival. Both Variety and THR waxed poetic about Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts cut loose in space after their ship is blown up.
Bullock’s character is named Dr. Ryan Stone, which is important. On the internet, some fans are asking if Gravity, which Cuaron wrote with his son Jonas, is based on Ray Bradbury’s famous short story, “Kaleidoscope.” http://www.scaryforkids.com/kaleidoscope-by-ray-bradbury/
That story, extremely well known, is part of a Bradbury collection called “The Illustrated Man.” The stories are must-reads in junior high school (or at least used to be) and remain classic in the sci-fi canon. In the story, several astronauts are cut loose from their space ship after it explodes, and they drift around before hurtling into deep space. One the astronauts is named Stone.
Last year, a 17 minute short film of “Kaleidoscope” was made by actor Brett Stimely. Bradbury had given his permission before he died. Bradbury’s estate agent, Michael Congdon, told me no rights have been sold to the story because the hope is to license “Illustrated Man” as one piece.
In “Gravity,” Bullock’s Stone is pretty much one her own, talking to Clooney as they struggle in space. The characters have their own back stories. From the reviews, it sounds like the 3D technology is incredibly realistic. The Oscar buzz has already begun. Whether not the Cuarons are just riffing on Bradbury or doing something closer remains to be seen.