In his mostly ecstatic review of Alfonso Cuaron‘s Gravity (Warner Bros., 10.4), TheWrap critic Todd Gilchrist describes it as “a hard-science tale.” The $80 million dollar 3D epic certainly feels technologically realistic but the term “hard-science” suggests something dry and matter-of-fact and perhaps even 2001-ish. That’s not how the film plays. Director-cowriter Cuaron spends a lot of time exploring the emotional travails of Sandra Bullock‘s novice-astronaut character, Dr. Ryan Stone. Gravity, truth be told, is basically an emotional-woman-in-peril movie first and a “hard science” thing (if you want to call it that) second. Gilchrist calls it “a virtuoso technical achievement and a powerfully visceral cinematic experience” — definitely. He also says “it offers a uniquely poetic portrait of hope and survival.” I’m less sure about “uniquely” since Bullock’s response to her life-threatening situation isn’t radically different from the responses of Doris Day and Karen Black in vaguely similar films of the past, as I pointed out on 9.19. Gravity is a brilliant achievement, but “hard science” it’s not.