Saturday, March 1, 2014

Gravity Blu Ray Review

There is a scene in Gravity where the camera pans around two astronauts in space for fifteen minutes in one single continuous take, then goes inside the helmet of an astronaut, swirls around showing the suit’s UI, and seamlessly pops out of the helmet. It’s at this moment where you realize that in space no one can hear you scream but everyone in the movie theater can hear you shout DAAYUUMMMNN.

Seven long excruciating years after Children of Men, Alfonso Cuaron is back behind the camera with some sort of vengeance to entertain the crap out of you. For some reason Gravity is being billed as a Sci Fi movie. It’s not. There’s no fiction here. Gravity is in fact a horror movie, and it’s a masterpiece. Think 127 Hours in space, but significantly more visceral, moving and immersive. Miraculously, it’s also 3D done right – it really is an astonishing cinematic achievement and it’s the only film I’d watch once again on a 3D IMAX screen. And the results on the Blu Ray transfer are stunning to say the least. 

So what’s different in Gravity given that there have been other films about astronauts stranded in space? For one, Cuaron is a deadly filmmaker, a shaman. He absolutely nails the staging and pacing of the film, making it a 90 minute tense, dizzying, breathless experience. The detailing, the digital effects work and the long, uncut takes will divorce your jaw from the rest of your face. It’s not just one of the great CGI films of the decade but one of the five greatest uses of CGI in the history of cinema. When James Cameron was fawning over the film, he wasn’t kidding - Cuaron, Lubezski and their special effects team really have crafted something extraordinary here. 

All flaws of Gravity become infinitely smaller the bigger the screen you watch it on. But even on Blu Ray the film is perfect. Cuaron clearly takes inspiration from video games with POV shots of Bullock’s character shuttling from one space station to another. One first person sequence where she changes her space suits and heads out to repair the damaged station is straight out of Dead Space. It’s also the only film whose filming techniques would be as interesting to watch as the film itself, and that's where the Blu Ray featurettes come in handy. 

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