Sunday, March 2, 2014

Gravity (2013)

My favorite movie released in 2013 is Gravity. I only saw eight theatrically released films in 2013 but was lucky to see two Best Picture nominations (the other being American Hustle).
Gravity is an amazing cinematic experience. I'm sure it will look good on Blu-ray but see it in IMAX 3D if you still can. The IMAX 3D experience is immersive and will make you feel like you left Earth. It's also stressful to watch at times, especially on a first viewing!
Gravity had a $100 million budget which for this type of movie isn't as much as you would expect. They certainly got their money's worth as Gravity is an incredible piece of filmmaking with fantastic visual effects.
The excellent cinematography is from Emmanuel Lubezki, who finally won his first Oscar this year for Gravity. I was impressed with Lubezki's work on The Tree of Life and he knocked another one out of the park here. Lubezki frequently works with Terrence Malick and Alfonso Cuarón and has also been the director of photography for Tim Burton (Sleepy Hollow) and the Cohen Brothers (Burn After Reading). Somehow he worked on The Cat in the Hat so I guess the cinematography was the least of that movie's problems!

Gravity is the second movie I've seen from director Cuarón, the first being Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I know that I saw A Little Princess as a kid but don't really remember it. I still need to get around to seeing Children of Men at some point.
Both leads, Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone and George Clooney as veteran astronaut Kowalski, do a good job. Clooney is likeable and witty while Bullock does a nice job portraying a vulnerable scientist trying to survive her first space mission.
Stone's backstory of having a daughter who died didn't work for me. I think this could've been replaced with something that would have enhanced the themes of isolation and survival in a better way or perhaps simply been cut altogether.
Gravity is not really science fiction as there are no aliens or advanced technology. The film is still in the realm of speculative fiction but more of a thriller set in space.
If you want to know my thoughts on how Gravity did at the Oscars then read my post on the 86th Academy Awards.

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