Monday, October 14, 2013
This is Our Generation's Phenomenon: Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity
What do I have to say about Gravity that hasn't already been said? You've heard it all:
-It is phenomenal.
-A simply amazing cinematic experience.
-Easily the best film of the year.
-And maybe one of the best ever.
-Holy shit Alfonso Cuaron how did you manage this?!
-Sandra Bullock gives her career best work, and definitely the performance to beat this year.
-Is the best example of cinematic technology?
-Give Emmanuel Lubezki his Oscar already.
-Best use of 3D?
-Ground-breaking etc etc etc.
-This is cinema, as good as it gets.
And let's just remember that all of this acclaim has been piled on a movie that just came out last week.
Yes, I loved the film. Out of all the film's I've seen in a cinema, none of them have utilised the place as much as this one. And I watched it in a tiny, low-quality cinema. I can only imagine how mind-blowingly amazing it would be in IMAX 3D. Or even just 3D.
There are two things I have to wonder though - and as much as I'd love to comb over the feminism in this movie, that's another post for another day. The first thing is how well this movie would fare on DVD. Of course, it doesn't really matter all that much when a film is this amazing on the big screen, especially considering the supposed problems we have with declining cinema goers. Alas, this is a film which utilises every speaker and every millimetre of the screen. From the almost silent beginning, there were these faint sounds coming from one side, and then from the other, giving you this immersive experience. The sounds in this film were absolutely incredible. Of course I don't know what things sound like in space, but I'd say this was pretty authentic. However, as someone who works in a DVD store and tends to know how different experiences in the cinema and on DVD can be, I'd say unless one has a huge home theatre, perhaps this film won't be as mind-blowing. That's nothing against the film: in fact, I see it as something quite positive, knowing how much crap sifts through the DVD shelves. Of course, the film has an engaging narrative (one that I shed many tears at - not that that's any surprise to anyone). To know that a film aimed to use the whole cinema experience and so amazingly succeeded is something that we don't get often enough, unfortunately. I just don't think the film could ever be judged off first impressions from a DVD. So if you're reading this and you haven't yet seen the film (which I imagine most of you have), get yourself to your nearest cinema RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT. And if you illegally download this - as I know most of the younger crowd will do - I reserve the right to seriously harm you. It should honestly be classed as a felony.
Gravity reminds me of the time when The Dark Knight came out in 2008, and I had never seen such a full on, all round critical acclaim quite like it. It shot straight to number one on IMDb (a bit premature, but it still remains an absolute classic), among a mountain of golden, perfect scores. Now we have Gravity come around, with 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, 96/100 on Metacritic and 8.7/10 on IMDb. It is an absolute darling of the critics and the mass audience. This all makes me wonder about the future of this movie, and it makes me very excited. Gravity is one of those instant classics that we'll be talking about for years to come. I can tell this from only a week of release time because everyone is so hyper and amazed by it, unlike your average "oh that's gonna win Best Picture" films. Who knows if the Academy will go for a sci-fi. Who even cares? I reckon, when we're all in rest homes, this will be one of the films we look back on fondly and remember how innovative it was. Maybe there are a few burgeoning cinephiles out there who saw this and realised how much they love cinema. Gravity is the kind of film that brings us film-lovers together. We see a lot of movies, but to have one with so many impossible camera angles, the most brilliant use of the technology available to us, and to give such a realistic portrayal of something most of us couldn't possible begin to understand - it is a truly wonderful thing.
We're in the midst of a bit of a phenomenon here. We sometimes like to imagine what films were like when they were made in "the good old days". How they were better back then, how having less technology made people more inventive. This is our new wave. Avatar opened the door, Gravity smashed through it. Gravity is the very pinnacle of an influential blockbuster and an influential technology-heavy film. And that's because Alfonso Cuaron used a heck of a lot of technology to his advantage, but he could control it and he knew how to use it.
And remember, we were all here blogging about it when it first came out.
This is a special time indeed.
How I felt about this one: