Once every decade or so a film comes out that forever changes the way films are experienced. You all remember them and know exactly where you were when they hit. For some it was seeing a T-Rex tear through an island in Jurassic Park, for others it was discovering Pandora in Avatar. As 2013 draws to a close Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity is that once in a decade game changer and a true marvel to behold on the big screen.
Though the story itself is very straightforward, a group of astronauts are fixing the Hubble when catastrophe strikes, the way it is told is nothing short of breathtaking. Not since Kubrick’s 2001has space been viewed in such a beautiful and dangerous way. The opening scene, played almost entirely without sound, is epic to behold and really makes use of the 3D effects. Using technology pioneered by James Cameron in Avatar, Cuaron truly makes the audience believe that we are essentially watching a film shot in space. Not some bad CGI version of space either but real, actual space.
This is where the need for 3D comes into full effect. Lately films have been doing everything they can in 3D just to milk ticket prices for everything they are worth. Most films don’t need to be seen in 3D can be easily enjoyed just as much without the added dimension. Not so with Gravity. In fact, those that don’t see Gravity in 3D will miss out on many of the film’s most fantastic moments.
But the film is not just about the background. Indeed, it is the performances of Bullock and Clooney that elevate the movie beyond simple spectacle. Watching Bullock transform throughout the movie, almost entirely alone, should put her in the Oscar race. If you think Tom Hanks put on a compelling performance talking to a volleyball in Castaway you haven’t seen anything yet. Watching Bullock fight for survival in space easily puts her as one of science-fiction’s strongest female characters, right up there with Ripley in Alien.
The only downside is the film will lose a lot of its beauty once it is out of theaters. While still a milestone in cinema it is unfortunately a slave to the very technology that makes it so wonderful. That being said, there is no doubt that the film will hold up for decades to come.
Watch the trailer here.