"Gravity" Untethered: A Yuri's Night Google+ Hangout
SPOILER ALERT This post contains spoilers for the movie Gravity.
Yuri's Night hosted astronauts Ron Garan and Cady Coleman as well as experts in space physiology, history and microgravity to discuss the recent Sandra Bullock and George Clooney movie "Gravity" as part of a Google+ Hangout Thursday night.
It was an amazing panel (even accounting for my obvious bias as the co-creator of Yuri's Night). Each person shared their favorite moments (there was a lot of "when Sandra had a moment of piece floating in the ISS airlock") and their most "cringe-worthy" moments– things that for them as space experts pulled them out of the illusion. While everyone enjoyed the movie and were incredibly impressed with the level of detail and accuracy in the rendering of the Space Station, Soyuz and even the checklists and the seamless work used to make Sandra "float," each person had their own person thing that jarred them.
For Robert Pearlman it was having to believe that the crew didn't even know the basics about where each other were from after training together for six months, for Cady it is was Clooney's character open the hatch without killing Bullock's (it is later explained away as a dream sequence but it still pulls you out of the story for a bit...) and of course for a few people it was how easily she got her space suit off and the aesthetic liberty to not have her in a clunky thermal cooling suit underneath, but instead the sexy, clingy boy shorts and tank top. For Ron if was just the weird way that Clooney pronounces (or mispronounces) "Soyuz."
Personally the part that threw me off the most, was when George Clooney asks Bullock if there was anyone special back on Earth who is looking up and thinking of her and she basically says no. It just felt really off that we would be flying someone who didn't have anyone back on Earth they were connected to. Maybe it is just because I think being connected is the most important thing we can do as human beings (and especially as space explorers.)
Cady also raised a point that I loved which was how much she appreciated how the movie gave girls a heroine who, once she decides to live, was resourceful, determined and effective at doing something that required her to operate at the edges of survivability over and over and over again. It could have been Bruce Willis pulling off all those feats, but instead it was the isolated and solitary Sandra Bullock. Girl Power. Thanks for highlighting that Cady!
Pearlman also shares a clip of him giving Sandra Bullock an actual space flown Space Shuttle hand hold after his official press interview with her. It's a nice clip to see our world colliding with Hollywood.
I was most moved by Cady and Ron also sharing what it was like for them to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight while IN SPACE. With RUSSIANS! In the Russian Segment of the International Space Station! Ron had tweeted a few months before his launch that he wanted to celebrate Yuri's Night in space. So we quickly got on touch with him and worked out getting him Yuri's Night shirts for him and the other five people that were going to be in space with him on April 12, 2011 (along with some other cool Yuri swag). As Cady points out in the Hangout, they laid out a spread of food for the party, holding it down around the "table" with tape and velcro and celebrated under the picture of Yuri- which is up year round in that module.