(Note: major spoilers follow for “Gravity”. If you don’t want to be spoiled, please go watch the movie and then please come back to read and comment.)
Or at least watch the trailer.
What’s the first thing you see.
The opening caption that tells you no one can live in space. What’s implied is that we can only live on the Earth.
And I think that’s what Cuaron is going for.
Essentially the theme is “there’s no place like home.”
Instead of ruby slippers, Sandra Bullock has to fly a spaceship.
Of the four elements, earth, air, water and fire, three of them almost kill her. She’s running out of oxygen in her air supply. The fire on the space station nearly burns her. And she nearly drowns when the Soyuz hits the water.
Mother Earth is her only safe haven, as symbolized by the ridiculously verdant and unspoiled island.
Sandra Bullock herself is a mother, though one who has lost a child.
She responds to the baby crying she hears as she’s talking to the ham radio guy.
She curls into the fetal position inside the space station.
The space pod is meant to represent the safety of the womb.
In fact, ghost George Clooney talks about how safe you feel inside the capsule, where no one can hurt you.
She exits the space capsule in an explosion of water, which I think is meant to symbolize birth.
What animals do we see in the ocean? A fish and a frog.
It’s no accident the second animal is an amphibian. It’s the evolutionary link between water dwelling and land dwelling animals.
Sandra Bullock literally crawls through the muck to reach shore, in a reimagining of our distant ancestors struggle to live on land.
And then the movie ends. A reminder Mother Earth is our only protection in the void of space.