How well do you know the movie, "Gravity?"

By: Torrance Grey
Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

This space epic, about an astronaut's harrowing journey home after a catastrophe, blew critics' and audiences' minds and took home seven Academy Awards. Revisit "Gravity" with our quiz!

Who plays the female lead in Gravity?

Gravity took a very long time to make. For much of the filming, Sandra Bullock was by herself in a specially designed visual effects box.

What is the first name of Sandra Bullock's character, Dr. Stone?

Her partner, Matt Kowalski, asks, "What kind of name is that?" for a woman. Ryan tells his that her father wanted a boy and chose the name accordingly.

What kind of doctor is Ryan Stone?

Apparently, this field includes creating technology for use on a space telescope. Dr. Stone is so good at it, that NASA trains her for six months to be an astronaut, rather than having her explain to astronauts how to install it. Frankly, once you're out of the theater, it starts making a lot less sense.

What is the name of the NASA spacecraft on which Ryan is traveling?

The Explorer has a crew of four: Lt. Matt Kowalski, Mission Specialists Stone and Shareef, and an unnamed captain, voiced by actress Amy Warren. We only see the captain as a body, after she is killed in the accident.

Why does Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) spend so much time spacewalking?

He credits the existing record to a Russian, Anatoli Solovyev. Solovyev was a real cosmonaut, who no longer holds the record.

Matt likes to listen to what singer while spacewalking?

Matt also likes to tell stories from his past. Mission Control complains about having heard them all before, though Ryan hasn't.

What does Ryan say she likes about space?

The wits at "Cinema Sins" note that with Matt's constant anecdote-telling and country music playing, Dr. Stone doesn't seem to get any silence to appreciate. ("Cinema Sins," if you haven't heard of it, is a YouTube channel -- Check out their "Everything Wrong With ..." videos about popular movies).

How many more missions does Matt intend to fly after this one?

Admit it: Didn't you know he was a goner as soon as he said this was his last mission? If you've seen any cop movies at all, you should have seen it coming.

Who directed "Gravity?"

Cuaron co-wrote the script with his son, Jonas, who is his writing partner. Cuaron also directed the third Harry Potter movie, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."

What causes the destructive field of wreckage?

The Kessler Syndrome that the movie depicts could really happen. Hopefully, everyone's being careful up there and not randomly taking aim at satellites.

Why did Russia shoot down its own satellite (according to Matt)?

Matt says the satellite had probably stopped working, and the Russians fired on it to put it out of commission. It's just his theory, but he sounds pretty knowledgeable to us.

Which is not an object we see floating in the Explorer's wreckage?

Some critics saw religious imagery in "Gravity," including Kowalski's Christlike sacrifice for Dr. Stone. But there was nothing as explicit as a Bible in the Explorer.

How long does it take the debris to make an entire orbit of the Earth?

That means the debris is traveling at 20,000 miles per hour. Of course, the imminent return of the killer junk makes for good tension in the story.

From what trauma is Ryan recovering?

Because as we all know, in Hollywood, women can't be deeply dedicated to a challenging job unless they've lost a kid. Preferably a daughter.

What did Ryan's daughter die of?

Ryan says her daughter was playing tag, slipped and hit her head, and "that was it."

What does Matt say he'll miss about space?

Matt comes off like a space Casanova at times, but it seems like he has hidden depths. In addition to liking sunrises, he marvels at how the sun looks on the Ganges River.

What does Ryan do when she's not working?

Ryan explains that she was driving when she got the news of her daughter's death. So now, she just drives randomly when she's not working or sleeping.

What does Matt say the Russians stash in the ISS?

Matt jokes about knowing where the Russians "stash their vodka." Sadly, he's not going to make happy hour.

What does Ryan wear under her spacesuit?

Experts say that astronauts would wear a special cooling garment under a spacesuit, not just underwear. But how else could they show off how marvelously fit Sandra Bullock is in her late forties?

What goes wrong when Ryan gets the Soyuz capsule away from the ISS?

This causes Ryan to finally have a bit of a tantrum. OK, a major one. But you can't blame her -- she's having a really rough day.

Ryan speaks briefly over the radio with a man in what country?

Most likely, few people in the audience recognized the language the man was speaking as Greenlandic. Cuaron and his son, Jonas, modeled the unseen man on an Inuit fisherman they'd met while scouting movie locations.

What else does Stone hear on the radio besides Aningaag's voice?

The conversation with Aningaag is what Ryan believes will be her last contact with anybody on earth. A little giddy with the prospect of impending death, she howls along with his dogs and talks to Aningaag, even though she knows he won't understand what she's saying.

Who does Stone hallucinate seeing in the Soyuz capsule?

Matt taps on the capsule door, lets himself in, and asks Ryan cheerfully if she found the Russians' stash of vodka. The fact that he then produces the vodka is a significant hint that none of this is really happening.

The final spacecraft to which Ryan navigates is a space station belonging to what country?

Relatively few countries have space programs. China is one of them, along with its neighbor, Russia.

What is the name of the Chinese space station?

Tiangong means "Heavenly Palace" in Mandarin. Appropriate, given its location, though the interior is not exactly palatial.

What does Ryan use for propulsion, to get from the Soyuz capsule to the Tiangong?

Stranded without a jet pack, Ryan makes her own out of a fire extinguisher. She learned how effective it was after accidentally sending herself across the cabin of the ISS and smashing into a bulkhead.

On what kind of terrain does the Tiangong land?

Alfonso Cuaron shot Ryan's emergence from the lake onto land in such a way that it symbolizes human evolution. She emerges from the water, crawls a bit on land, and then stands up and takes her first shaky steps. It's also a symbolic rebirth.

On what continent does the capsule land?

It's never revealed exactly where the capsule landed. But the scene was filmed at Lake Powell in Arizona, which might surprise some audience members, since the surrounding hills look more green and grassy than Arizona usually does.

What personal item does Ryan see inside the Chinese escape capsule?

A smiling, seated Buddha rides in the escape capsule. That's nice, but we hope it's secured -- it would be painful to get hit with it during turbulence.

At the Golden Globes, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler joked that George Clooney "would rather float away in space and die" than do what?

Clooney was known for dating actresses quite a bit younger than he was. Did Fey and Poehler shame him into marrying human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin? It could be!

To which film did "Gravity" lose Best Picture at the Oscars?

"Gravity" didn't do badly, winning seven of the ten Academy Awards for which it was nominated. Cuaron took home the Best Director statue -- usually a tipoff that the director's film will win Best Picture, but not in this case.

How did Sandra Bullock describe the experience of making "Gravity?"

Bullock spent many hours a day alone in a mechanical rig in a green-screen studio. She communicated with other people on set via a headset. Not your usual filmmaking experience, to say the least.

Who was the voice of Mission Control?

We never see Harris, but his role is a nod to the ones he played in space dramas, "Apollo 13" and "The Right Stuff."

Which of these actresses was also up for the role of Ryan?

The filmmakers first wanted action heroine Angelina Jolie, but she wasn't available. After that, a virtual who's who of A-list actresses were considered, including Lively, Portman, Carey Mulligan, Rebecca Hall, Rachel Weisz, Olivia Wilde, and more.

What actor was initially slated to play Matt Kowalski?

Downey eventually left the project to make another film. Bruce Willis and John Travolta were also under consideration to play the role.

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