What do real astronauts think of the Clooney-Bullock starrer Gravity?

Alfonso Cuaron's new film Gravity has been hailed as a brilliant exploration of of the solitude of space, as seen through the plight of astronauts (played by George Clooney and Sandra Bullock) who are trying to make it back to Earth. In terms of Hollywood movies, Gravity proves that space is the final frontier. The technicalities of space travel, as well as the unique emotions it engenders in astronauts, are a special challenge for Gravity, which according to reviewers and audiences, have been met successfully.

Still from Gravity. Agencies

Still from Gravity. AFP image

But what do real astronauts - the few humans who know firsthand what being in space is like - think about the movie? Quora did a collection of different astronaut's thoughts on the film, and while their professional reviews are largely positive, they do point out a few technical mistakes that occur in the film.

Marsha Ivins, an American astronaut wrote for Time magazine, saying that while she enjoyed the movie, the complete destruction of spacecraft - and the small mistakes - might have spoiled the experience for her. Ivins says:

"Watching Gravity, I found myself cycling between appreciation and cringing, almost in time with the action...My first take was to itemize the errors...But I can almost forgive the liberal use of artistic license in violating the laws of physics because they got some things very right. The views of the Earth and the sunrise, the lighting on Sandra Bullock’s face (light in space is so different from light in the atmosphere)—perfect."

Four-time astronaut and planetary scientist Tom Jones gave the film a glowing review in Popular Mechanics. He writes:

"I think the film scores on two major facets of spaceflight: it comes very close to replicating the stark, jaw-dropping beauty of Earth set amid the cosmos, and it illuminates how human existence there must constantly battle an alien, relentlessly hostile physical environment. Gravity forces us to confront both realities, and the result sends the mind reeling...How would I score the film for realism? The film recreates both the space shuttle and ISS with incredible accuracy."

The astronaut legend Buzz Aldrin, who was the second man to walk on the moon, was also one of the first astronauts to float in space for an extravehicular activity during 1966's Gemini XII mission. Aldrin writing for the Hollywood Reporter, and says that Gravity left him "very, very impressed." Here's what else Aldrin said:

"I was so extravagantly impressed by the portrayal of the reality of zero gravity...We were probably not as lighthearted as Clooney and Sandra Bullock. We didn't tell too many jokes when people were in some position of jeopardy outside the spacecraft, but I think that's the humanity coming through in the characters."

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