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Guest Review: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on 'Gravity'

Gravity Still - H 2013

The second man on the moon calls the visual effects in the Sandra Bullock astro-thriller "remarkable."

This story first appeared in the Oct. 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. 

I was so extravagantly impressed by the portrayal of the reality of zero gravity. Going through the space station was done just the way that I've seen people do it in reality. The spinning is going to happen -- maybe not quite that vigorous -- but certainly we've been fortunate that people haven't been in those situations yet. I think it reminds us that there really are hazards in the space business, especially in activities outside the spacecraft.

I was happy to see someone moving around the spacecraft the way George Clooney was. It really points out the degree of confusion and bumping into people, and when the tether gets caught, you're going to be pulled -- I think the simulation of the dynamics was remarkable.

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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. This movie gave great clarity to looking down and seeing the features of Earth … but there weren't enough clouds, and maybe there was too precise a delineation from space.

I know: If you're looking down at Earth, you're looking through an atmosphere that has a bit of haze in many places and not just occasional clouds. Here, the precision was remarkable, though you might need a pretty good spy telescope to see that well.

We're in a very precarious position of losing all the advancements we've made in space that we did 40 years ago, 50 years ago. From my perspective, this movie couldn't have come at a better time to really stimulate the public. I was very, very impressed with it.

Buzz Aldrin, 83, not only is the second man to walk on the moon but also was one of the first astronauts to float in space for an extravehicular activity during 1966's Gemini XII mission. He teamed with Nebula Award-nominated writer John Barnes for Encounter With Tiber, a sci-fi novel about the space program, recently published as an e-book.