Sound Science: Trailer for Gravity

Gravity appears to have the biggest, baddest villain in all of film: physics. The second trailer for the film, simply titled “Detached,” overwhelms with a powerful sense of anxiety that doesn’t come from what’s there but from what’s missing. See the trailer below:

Contrary to what many Hollywood space films portray, there is no sound in space and the Gravity trailer does an amazing job of emphasizing this. Sound is produced from the vibration of molecules, which the vacuum of space is lacking. The only in-movie sound in the trailer comes from the radios of the astronauts. Everything else is silent even when the collisions start. There is something unsettling about a silent catastrophe.


Gravity’s film poster.

Aside from the lack of sound, there is an appropriate lack of appreciable gravity. The parts of the ship are cast off in a wide array of directions, and they’ll continue on those paths until interrupted—this goes for Sandra Bullock’s character who’s been flung emptiness. According to astronomer Phil Blait at, the science of the wreckage seems to check out. 

While the upcoming Star Wars may have all the excitement of the previous films, it looks like Gravity is going to bring out the very real fear of physics.

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