So, starting on a positive – I hate 3D. To me it’s a gimmick that adds nothing to the experience of watching a film in the cinema, in fact it makes it worse. I can, however, see that there are other applications where it is suited, such as Disneyland rides and short, spectacle exhibits. ‘Gravity’ looked to me like a concept experience almost more akin to a fairground ride than a film, more like a long version of those funny moving simulators that you used to get at live events in the early 90s, so I thought I’d give 3D a try in this instance. After I’d paid for my ticket I then paid the 3D supplement (for nothing at all) and a glasses fee as well, put my 3D glasses on on top of my normal glasses and I was ready to watch.
The film starts with a wonderful, silent long shot of the earth from orbit, with the sounds of astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) talking to his companion Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) slowly and gently fading up into the foreground. It is done with confidence and restraint and it’s great. As Dr Stone works on the Hubble space telescope on her first spacewalk, Kowalski zooms around with an excellent jet-pack spacesuit on his final mission. Mission control shortly inform them of space debris heading their way and from that point it becomes a jeopardy thrill ride as they both try and get to safety.
The thing is, it still feels like a massive contrivance. Things are still constantly flying towards the screen just for the sake of using the 3D and it gets tiresome. Sandra Bullock is good as a rookie trying to control her fear and George Clooney ironically only shows his human side in the capsule! The plot actually becomes quite amusing after a while as you sit at a level of constant peril. Throughout I thought the sound was amazing and restrained, with the stereo effects adding depth and orientating you. There are no huge explosions where there shouldn’t be (like there were in the trailer for some reason).
It is a gimmicky film, but not a terrible one. It stays with you, but only in the sense that you can’t quite see properly from having worn the 3D glasses.
3 on 5
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Uk release: 8th November 2013