If you don’t remember the 2013 film Gravity, its okay. I doubt it’ll be remembered better over time than Avatar has. Unlike that visually stunning but story-lacking film, Gravity should rightfully be remembered as one of the greatest space epics ever filmed, up there with Apollo 13 and 2001, among others. Nearly three years after its initial release I haven’t heard a word spoken about it. It wasn’t just another popcorn flick, because if it was it probably wouldn’t have been as good of a movie as it turned out.
Gravity‘s first highlight is, naturally, its visuals. The visual effects team at Framestore, based in the UK, created the most realistic-looking CGI since Avatar. Close up, you couldn’t tell nearly everything in the movie is computer-generated. The suits, the equipment, all of the space debris, stations, airlocks, etc. are not physically present. In fact, its better than Avatar, because unlike where Avatar defined 3D viewing and performance capture, Gravity put the actors in a box of light with the completed CG footage already playing and forced them to act in a box. It was similar to a fully immersive VR headset.
The second highlight is the crew working on it. I consider director Alfonso Cauron to be one of the most underrated directors working to date and his brother Jonas helped write the screenplay a full decade before filming began. Their immensely talented crew, along with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubeski, a multiple-Oscar winner, created a movie bursting with strange camera angles and color. The editing team helped make cuts and passage of time seamless. Marketing, although fairly standard, helped people go see the movie out of interest. The entire group worked their tails off to get this done and it shows.
Thirdly is the score and composer Steven Price. It’s probably my favorite score just factoring in how unique it is. No loud horns or drums here, no, Price went a different route: throw in about a million separately recorded manmade and non-manmade sounds and mix it together with a separately recorded strings and minimal choir, and after meticulous editing/mixing, come up with something this amazing. Listening to it does take some time and its not for everyone. But for somebody who had to listen to film scores becoming more and more similar as the years went by, Gravity provided an overdue breath of fresh air into the genre.
So why was/is Gravity so amazing? It’s a movie that made all sorts of money yet isn’t part of a franchise, sequel, prequel, reboot, or remake. Here’s an original story, never seen before on screen, combining numerous unknowns and two major stars and throwing it all up onto the screen. Harkening back to 2001, when you go out into space in the film all you hear is the sounds inside the character’s helmets. There are no explosion noises or anything like that, you only hear what the character hears.
Every time I watch it, I get blown away just like I was watching it in 3D. Sure, I’m watching it on a much smaller screen, but the story is so different and fresh, combined with the unique sound choices that the film is a must-see no matter how big of a screen you have. Wouldn’t recommend watching it on smartphones or tablets, however.
If you’ve never seen this film, watch it when you can. Heck, buy it online and watch it with the sound all the way up and your screen settings maxed out. Going over coupon books, folding clothes, and whatever else you’re doing can wait. You need to see Gravity, just to say you saw it and respect it for what it is. Sure, some may find it boring, but at least respect it.
Gravity is a classic. It’s time the rest of the world knew.