Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Clooney-Bullock “Gravity”: Rave Reviews in Venice, But Was It Inspired By Ray Bradbury?


“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.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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