I’d like to start off by apologizing for my blog post latency. For some reason, my blog posts seem to take me a zillion years to write up, which in turn makes me put these things off for far too long. But after kicking myself swiftly in the ass, I think I’ll be back on track from now on.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk Gravity…the movie, that is. Upon seeing the trailers, I was skeptical about seeing this film, only because it seemed to good to be true. The trailers were intriguingly thrilling, and considering the movie length barely clocks in at an hour and a half, I was afraid that some of the movie’s best scenes were divulged in the trailer. After hearing some great reviews, my friends and I decided that we should at least see Gravity in 3D, as Alfonso Cuaron intended. I refuse to see movies in the theaters near where I live, because they are frequented by disrespectful douchbags who feel the need to chatter loudly to their friends or even play rap music from their phones through entire chunks of movies (yes, that happens). So, if you’re seeing a 3D movie in the bay area, there’s really only one place worth going — the Metreon IMAX in SF.
Don’t be fooled by the digital lieMAX’s out there. Just because it has IMAX in the title, doesn’t mean you’re getting the true IMAX experience in all of it’s 70mm glory. What’s worse is that digital IMAX theaters charge the same price as a real IMAX without delivering the real thing. IMAX screens are MASSIVE… even the sheer size of the auditorium is a bit dizzying upon first entering. If you’ve been to a true IMAX, you’ll know.
Anyway, I saw Gravity in a true IMAX in 3D, and it was worth every penny. There are not many movies out there that induce the pure anxiety that Gravity conjures. There is about five minutes of exposition at the very beginning, and then then the movie takes off with action sequences that never let up. The concept of being in space is already scary as shit, and Gravity confirmed all the fears I already had, which I suppose is a good thing from a movie creators perspective. Cuaron has crafted Gravity in such a way that it puts you through a full gamut of emotions. You’ll feel existential, melancholy, excited, relieved…but most of all you will feel STRESS. At times I felt like hyperventilating right along side Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) as she flailed uncontrollably through space. Other times throughout the film I had to remind myself to breathe — tiny sips, not gulps — as if my own O2 tank was running low. And the 3D actually made a decent contribution to the overall experience. I appreciated the more typical 3D effects, such as Bullock’s teardrops floating in zero gravity toward the screen. I even found myself flinching as flying debris seemingly flew past my face during more intense sequences. 3D elements aside, I really enjoyed Gravity’s dynamic camera angles. Fans of first-person anything will appreciate the interplay between third and first-person perspectives (which I would bet was inspired by first-person video games…just saying).
Gravity maintains a constant level of anticipation and anxiety that makes the hour and a half timestamp feel more like a full fledged two hours. After the film ended, I felt like I had gone on an anxiety-filled rollercoaster ride. My body actually felt tired from being physically tense and emotionally riled up for so long, a feeling I have not gotten from a movie in quite some time.
THE VERDICT: Gravity was able to induce levels of anxiety and fear that most horror movies only wish to achieve. This film is pure experience. Gravity is best seen and felt on a giant screen to get the full effect of what this movie attempts to pull off. Ironically, my only criticism is that a movie like Gravity can really only be seen once. Much like a horror film, the effectiveness of Gravity comes from the anticipation of what will happen next. As great as this film is, I don’t feel that Gravity will have the same impact if played from a living room TV, nor will it pack the same emotional punch the second time around (although I wouldn’t mind seeing it again just to revisit some of the thrills). That being said, I would urge you to see Gravity in theaters, preferably in 3D IMAX, while you still can. Overall, Gravity has shown that there is still some hope to be had for 3D movies (if done right), and if you plan on only seeing this film once, it is worth dropping some extra dollars to see it in its intended format.
And if for some reason you have no idea what movie I’m talking about, here is the trailer for your convenience: