How great can a movie be? How far can a director push the boundaries of technology and creativity? Alfonso Cuaron answers both in GRAVITY, and the answer is pretty damn great and farther than you could ever dream! This is easily the most spectacular use of 3D I have ever seen. Cuaron puts you in orbit with Sandra Bullock, George Clooney and tons of floating satellite debris. You feel you need to duck out of the way as the world Cuaron has created spins wildly out of control. And despite the grand scale, this is a very personal movie. A tale about loss and survival, expertly acted by Bullock and Clooney. And they better be good because they are the only two actors who appear on screen. The cast is only 7 credits long, the other five just get voice over credit. I feared GRAVITY would be claustrophobic, that we would be trapped inside Bullock’s space suit as she goes floating off to the great beyond. Sort of like being trapped in a coffin with someone who is buried alive. But I never got that feeling at all. I felt thrilled and captivated, always on the edge of my seat wondering how it would all play out. The images of earth and the astronauts silhouetted against the big blue marble are as beautiful as any real images you have ever seen– maybe better. I have spent hours trying to figure out how to put the experience into words only to realize that there are no words other than these: GRAVITY pulls you in and never lets you go! — Alan Yudman
Prediction on October 6th: GRAVITY will win Best Picture for 2013. It may or may not deserve it. Certainly, this is a thrilling picture that takes us with breathtaking visuals to a place we have seldom experienced so viscerally. (The opening shot seems a direct homage to Kubrick’s 2001, a jumping-off point, literally, for virtuoso demonstrations of the advances made since in film technology.) But my prediction is based on what works for Academy members, and here GRAVITY seems at war with itself. Director Alfonso Cuaron conveys not just the majesty, but the vast emptiness of space, an infinite void in which human connection is as tenuous as a safety strap that will claim a life (or two, or three, or a thousand) with a serene blankness that chills as it terrifies. But Cuaron (who co-wrote the screenplay) is unwilling to take that concept, rendered in such realistic fashion, to its logical end; instead, an all too familiar sentimentalism wins the day and a film that begins in awe winds up as a shopworn “tribute to the human spirit”. Riding down the escalator afterward, I overheard two people express disappointment with the “inspiring” denouement. But the audience did applaud multiple times including enthusiastically at the end, and of course when studios spend $80-million on a project, they don’t want people leaving the theater feeling crappy. If you’re willing to accept a big dollop of treacle (including one shameless bait-and-switch scene toward the end), you will enjoy a marvelous adventure with an ok Sandra Bullock (I’m not her biggest fan) and a charming, confident George Clooney who anchors GRAVITY even as it slips away. — Jeff Schultz
In IMAX 3D, Gravity is hands down one of the most incredible movie watching experiences I have ever had. This shows that when done right, 3D can elevate a film to incredible heights. That being said, the experience versus the actual movie are a little different. Sanda Bullock is Oscar worthy and Clooney is Clooney, but the story is very familiar. After watching it, my wife and I tried to figure out exactly what was lacking because we both really enjoyed it and she hit the nail on the head. It was like watching “Titanic” if it began with the ship sinking. Or imagine Cast Away without a before or after…just a during (him on the island). I guess with a big budget studio movie and A list stars, many risks can’t be taken which is kinda too bad. SPOILER ALERT!!! I think a better ending would have been if it ended 10 minutes before it actually did…with Sandra accepting her fate regardless of what happened to the capsule and a cut to black. That being said, it was a very good movie…I just don’t think it’s legitimate Best Picture material.