Evading the public’s all too evasive eye is a skill often showering a breezy fog of failure upon the proponderance of films, especially when said skill is applied to films of a resolutely tantalizing nature, which (and getting to the point) Gravity can indubitably check off the “yeah, I got that” list. Big spectacle, big spectacle, big spectacle, at least that’s what I thought would be the name of the game after getting my first glimpses of the space-crazed trailer. Then I was given some Alfonso Cuarón lectures from friends who knew better, thus perking up my easily perked anticipation.
My excitement grew from hearing tidbits here and there about the film. To simultaneously show my level of excitement and rant about something, I will give some perspective. I hate 3D films, I hate the 3D movement, and I think the name “3D” is stupid. It shouldn’t even be called 3D, because 90% of the time it doesn’t even work in that way. It should be called “enhanced” or “glasses wearing version.” Or if the name won’t change at least change the tagline to “If you can’t do it well, do it 3D.” Well, anyways, I went to go see Gravity in 3D, but the only reason I did that was to see it in IMAX. Can you believe it’s $19 to go see something in IMAX now? Kind of crazy.
But with the ticket purchased, oversized beverage finally bought, and giant glasses in hand, I was ready. At least I thought I was. Looking back, my expectations are a bit hazy. I was pretty aware a wild ride would be had. I was not aware it would be a “holy shit mother of god is this actually happening WATCH OUT!!” ride. Also, some skepticism crossed my mind. Whenever I hear “revolutionary” or “tracking shot” my thoughts go to all the times I’ve been duped before. Most recently, Man of Steel, which still irks my sensitive mind when thought about in any capacity. So, I did what many do at movie theaters, sat and watched the film.
Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity closely follows medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and astronaut Matt Kowalski’s (George Clooney) threeish hour long attempt of returning safely to Earth after a catastrophic failure we can all pretty much blame on the Russians. That is the entire premise, survival – as we get farther into the film and character flaws become unveiled, questions of specific will and drive to survive come into play. But still, at its core remains the evolutionary need for survival.
To go along with this life inspiring theme are hefty doses of in your face heart-pounding visuals founded by brilliant camerawork. Cuarón has become notorious for his lengthy (and quite personal) tracking shots, and if there was any doubt in the first place, not to worry, for his reputation is fulfilled twofold in Gravity. His style is only accentuated through the space setting, as his talents are allowed the luxury of roaming freely through the silent nothingness, thus slowly shifting the dark cavern into a lightened space of Romantic individuality. Cuarón’s use of first person shots inside the space suit creates a wondrous perspective that was already frightening from the very first sequence of the film.
Furthermore, I would hardly say it is pushing the envelope by making the inference that Gravity will win all Oscars with the words “editing” and “visual” in the title. The film was a beautiful marvel, which might make me sound twisted considering how much destruction takes place throughout its entirety. The CG work, as far as I can tell, stunned all those sitting around me. It just goes to show technology is insane. Then there were the sounds. A film led by its score (divinely composed by Steven Price), it was the sound editing and mixing that set the tone from start to finish. Whether it was the deafening clash of metal, the whispering nature of a water droplet, or the unbearable sound of absolutely nothing, high anxiety emotions were never given a moment’s rest. A flawless performance from a world class orchestra.
I realize some predictions have already been made above, well before the majority of suspected Oscar films have come out, and with medium to little experience on my end. Here’s some more. Depending on my opinion of David O. Russell’s upcoming American Hustle, Cuarón has become the favorite for best director. He has put many years into this film and, come on, how do you realistically portray beautiful actors in outer space and get real life astronauts’ approval. Finally, Emmanuel Lubezki has to be the frontrunner for the cinematography award. I don’t know how many times I’ve used the word “beautiful,” but his camerawork is just that.
Even if you have no care for awards or the backdrop of filmmaking, this is by far the most deserving film of the year to see in theaters. I couldn’t tell you what Gravity looks like on the normal screen (I’m sure it is just as awe inducing), but if you are willing to spend the extra few bucks go see it in IMAX. That recommendation does not come out of lips often or ever, though seeing as it has made its way to my top three favorite films of the year – I’m still deciding between second and third – the exception is an easy one to make.
Gravity (2013) directed by Alfonso Cuarón