Film & TV

Early Reviews: Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Gravity’ Is As Jaw-Dropping As It Looks

Film & TV

Early Reviews: Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Gravity’ Is As Jaw-Dropping As It Looks

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Obviously, based on the terrifying clips released for Cuaron’s lost-in-space thriller Gravity, we knew the movie, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as two astronauts, uh, lost in space, was going to be a unique movie going experience. Turns out it is, and that’s an understatement. According to a handful of critics who were among the first to see it at the Venice Film Festival, Gravity is a landmark film.

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter called it “the most realistic and beautifully choreographed film ever set in space,” and said that Gravity “is a thrillingly realized survival story spiked with interludes of breath-catching tension and startling surprise.” Um, sold? McCarthy also guesses that because the movie is just so goddamn spectacular, it’s going to murder the box-office, despite its conspicuous lack of aliens: “Warner Bros. release is smart but not arty, dramatically straightforward but so dazzlingly told as to make it a benchmark in its field. Graced by exemplary 3D work and bound to look great in IMAX, the film seems set to soar commercially around the world.”

It’s been seven years since Cuaron released his last movie, Children of Men, and now we know why. Much like James Cameron’s Titanic-to-Avatar hiatus, Cuaron and his team challenged themselves to give audiences a completely new kind of movie. Variety‘s Justin Change says, “Not unlike earlier triumphs of 3D and vfx innovation such as “Avatar” and “Life of Pi,” though conceived along less fantastical, more grimly realistic lines, “Gravity” is at once classical and cutting-edge in its showmanship, placing the most advanced digital filmmaking techniques in service of material that could hardly feel more accessible.”

More choice quotes :

“All in all, it would be impossible to overestimate the difficulty of what Cuaron and his top-of-the-line crew have pulled off, or to guess at the staggering number of decisions that were made regarding specifics of camera placement and movement; the motion-control robots that were used on the actors to plausibly simulate zero-gravity conditions; the marvelous scope and detail of Andy Nicholson’s production design; and the meticulous integration of visual effects, all-digital backgrounds, traditional lighting schemes and other live-action lensing techniques. But perhaps the boldest risk of all was the decision to combine these elements in a manner that would hold up under the prolonged scrutiny of the camera, in single-shot sequences of such breathtaking duration and coherence. Somewhere, one imagines, the spirits of Stanley Kubrick and Max Ophuls are looking down in admiration”—Chang

“The film comes as close as most of us are likely to get to actually being in space (undoubtedly aided by the 3D: this is one film that’s really worth paying the extra bucks for to see in the format, whether the lens is capturing a tiny spinning speck in the distance or debris flying in your face). But it shouldn’t be dismissed as a mere rollercoaster ride — even if your instinct, as at a theme park, is to finish the experience and line up again for another go.”—Oliver Lyttelton, Indiewire

Gravity hits theaters on October 4th in IMAX and 3D.