For anyone who didn't catch it yesterday, Warner Brothers released a ninety-second scene from their upcoming space set thriller Gravity, in which we see the two lead astronauts - played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney - getting bombarded by debris while orbiting Earth. You can check out that clip HERE, but it was followed up within hours by yet another ninety second clip that picked up right where the previous one left off. Bullock's character is in what seems to be an unstoppable spin, and with the camera panning from her point of view to a head-on shot of her increasingly panicked face, we can see that she is both running out of oxygen and drifting further and further out into the blackness of space.
First things first, those teasers are fantastic; unlike most modern trailers for big blockbuster movies, they aren't nearly three minutes long and filled with what looks like all of the good stuff from the film's climax. These are short, terse and all seem to stem from the opening act of the movie. After the full trailer that was released earlier this year, and these two teaser scenes, we've seen enough of this movie to remain fully pumped until its release this autumn.
Secondly, in case you didn't catch it, both of those teaser trailers consisted of one long shot each, not a single visible edit to be found in either one. That, coupled with the astounding camerawork (when Bullock swings about on the destroyed robotic arm, the camera swoops in from dozens of meters away to within inches of her face in less than a few seconds) and special effects (the perfect timing of the reflection of the Earth in Bullock's faceplate as she somersaults away) prove that this will be an absolute feast for the eyes.
Thirdly, we have realism… When was the last time you watched a disaster movie and were frightened by the thoughts of just how real it all seemed? Or watched a movie set in space and were impressed by how the film-makers stayed true to the general laws of physics? To put it lightly… it's been a while. Did you notice that during the destruction of the space shuttle you can't hear any of it happening? Yes, you can hear the dialogue, the panicked breathing, the startlingly fantastic score… but you don't hear the collisions, you can't hear the explosions… and when was the last time a blockbuster movie obeyed that most basic of laws about the absolute silence of space?
Finally, there's the calibre of people involved. There was some casting issues to begin with, as Bullock replaced Natalie Portman who had replaced Angelina Jolie, and Clooney replaced Robert Downey Jnr, but for the most part, the A-listers were lining up to get involved with this project. Then there's director Alfonso Cuaron, the genius behind overlooked modern sci-fi classic Children Of Men, as well as the best of the Harry Potter series, The Prisoner Of Azkaban. It's been seven years since his last cinematic outing, and Cuaron has spent the last five making sure absolutely everything was perfect for his new movie. That including spending months with folks in NASA to ensure the science of the script was as realistic as could be, as well as creating brand new cameras and cinematic tricks so that his vision was perfectly realised.
Put all of this together, and what do we have? Answer: One of the few movies this year that genuinely NEEDS to be seen on as big a screen as possible. Regardless of your opinions on some of this year's blockbusters, one thing we can all agree on is that they all suffered from severe bloating issues, be it from an unnecessary running time, or via over-the-top visuals, this summer has seen audiences suffer from "An Overexposure To Epicness". Everything is too much, and sometimes that too much-ness feels like it's overcompensating for its own shallowness in other areas. But that doesn't seem to be the case with Gravity; the movie sticks with just two actors for the entire running time (which, apparently, is a good deal LESS than two hours!), and there are no collapsing skyscrapers or heavy socio-political subtexts or comic book characters involved. This appears to be an existential horror movie that just happens to be set in space.
Plus, when was the last time you watched a trailer and thought to yourself "Ooooh… I bet that'd look AWESOME in 3D!"? The third dimension indoor sunglasses have been the bane of many a cinemagoer's life this summer season, but Gravity was designed and built to be fully enjoyed in a properly utilized 3D asthetic, and to top it all off, it will be released in IMAX, allowing all of its eye-sexing to be devoured on as big a screen as you can get tickets for.
As the blockbuster season draws to a close, and the autumn and winter months seem to be full of comic book movies and Oscar favourites, only Gravity and Elysium seem to stick out from the crowd. Perhaps if these two do well at the box office, movie makers will be willing to re-evaluate on what it is that they think audiences want from their movies. While Elysium may lean heavier on its topical plotting and gritty action sequences, Gravity leans on the fact that it is what cinema was meant to be in its purest form. This is the otherworldly gorgeousness of Life Of Pi mixed with the grounded, inherent terror of Jaws to create an explosive cinematic thrillride, and we can't wait to get into our seats.
Gravity will be in Irish cinemas from October 18th.