Early Reactions to GRAVITY Praise Sandra Bullock and George Clooney’s Performances, Alfonso Cuaron’s Direction, Emmanuel Lubezki’s Camerawork, and 3D

by     Posted 337 days ago

gravity-sandra-bullock-george-clooney-slice

Alfonso Cuarón’s anticipated sci-fi film Gravity recently opened the 70th Venice Film Festival and early reviews are consistently positive.  Across the board, the performances of George Clooney and Sandra Bullock are praised, along with the direction of Cuarón and the cinematography of his long-time collaborator, Emmanuel Lubezki.  There was a surprising amount of support for the film’s technical aspects and use of CG effects, and reviews put forth the rare encouragement for audiences to seek the film in the fully-immersive 3D format.  While some moments of sentimentality in Gravity apparently come off with a bit of a heavy hand, they earn a pass due to the film’s earnestness in the early going.

Gravity opens Stateside on October 4th.  Hit the jump to sample some of the film’s early reviews.

gravity-sandra-bullockMatt Mueller at Thompson on Hollywood:

If “Gravity” isn’t thematically as potent as “Children Of Men”, Cuaron’s allegory about an infertile world, it is nonetheless a mesmerising experience from start to finish, an extraordinary visual triumph that deploys 3D in prodigious fashion, turns the carnage of disintegrating space shuttles and hurtling satellite debris into a beautiful if perilous ballet (scored magnificently by Steven Price), and benefits in differing ways from the turns of its two star performers, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

There’s too much superlative craft, ambition and intelligence on display for “Gravity” not to feature prominently in awards-season discussions, with Bullock furnishing a film that was crafted predominantly on hard drives the human touch it needs to reach earthbound audiences …  “Gravity” reaffirms Cuaron’s position as a filmmaker of uniquely thrilling excellence.

gravity-george-clooneyTodd McCarthy at THR:

At once the most realistic and beautifully choreographed film ever set in space, Gravity is a thrillingly realized survival story spiked with interludes of breath-catching tension and startling surprise. Not at all a science fiction film in the conventional sense, Alfonso Cuaron‘s first feature in seven years has no aliens, space ship battles or dystopian societies, just the intimate spectacle of a man and a woman trying to cope in the most hostile possible environment across a very tight 90 minutes … With all the excitement and beauty Gravity delivers, at a certain point … it becomes clear that Gravity doesn’t intend to offer more than that; it shies away from proposing anything metaphysical, philosophically suggestive or meaning-laden. For some viewers, that will be a good thing, as it avoids pretention and self-seriousness; for others, its refusal to acknowledge the eternal mysteries, to be anything more than a thrillingly made, stripped-down suspense drama, will relegate it to good-but-not-great status. The very ending is quite cool and replete with quiet cinematic as well as evolutionary reverberations.

gravity-sandra-bullockJustin Chang at Variety:

“Gravity” is at once classical and cutting-edge in its showmanship, placing the most advanced digital filmmaking techniques in service of material that could hardly feel more accessible … As scripted by Cuaron and his son Jonas, this tale of one woman’s grim expedition into the unknown is a nerve-shredding suspenser, a daring study in extreme isolation, and one of the most sophisticated and enveloping visions of space travel yet realized onscreen. It falls among that increasingly rare breed of popular entertainments capable of prompting genuine “How did they do that?” reactions from even the most jaded viewers, even as its central premise is so simple and immediately gripping that one might just as readily ask, “Why didn’t anyone do it sooner?”

gravity-sandra-bullockGuy Lodge at HitFix:

Some may feel disconcerted or even disappointed that “Gravity” shifts from a mode of cool (even avant-garde) observational spectacle to a more human-focused survival story – you might even choose to see it as a bloodless final-girl horror movie. The gear change comes with unceremonious abruptness, yet I couldn’t tell you if it’s later or earlier than halfway through. It may not sound like high praise that I had no sense of timing throughout this thrillingly brief 91-minute film, but I imagine you can’t feel the minutes ticking by in space either. The immersive rhythmic continuity of Lubezki’s camerawork and Cuarón and Mark Sanger’s deceptively tight editing is such that it’s hard to mentally organize the film into scenes and sequences after the fact.

I do know, though, that “Gravity” ends in a wholly different register – tonally, visually, emotionally – to the one it begins in, as Cuarón embraces both the Hollywood trappings and, more riskily, the amorphous spirituality of his script with an emphatic lack of apology … There’s a note of bombast to the finale that feels hard-earned after the staggering physical trials of what has gone before, and I do mean staggering: “Gravity” is a film both short and vast, muscular and quivery, as certain about one Great Beyond as it is curious about another.

gravity-sandra-bullockMark Adams at Screen Daily:

A genuinely tense and exciting lost-in-space thriller, Alfonso Cuaron’s exhilarating and often spectacular 3-D film is a real pleasure, driven by top-notch lead performance from Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as well as some seriously cool special effects. Despite some lapses into sentimentality,Gravity sustains its simple concept and turns out to be a real audience pleaser …

gravity-posterJohn Bleasdale at Cine-Vue:

This is a film that has to be seen on the big screen (and, one would presume, IMAX where possible). Only the canvas of cinema can provide the grandeur, scale and – when it comes to the sound design – the volume to tell such an epic tale. The plot is one of a shipwreck, and the film shares something of the concerns of All Is Lost, the Robert Redford sea yarn from Cannes earlier in the year. As well as occupying itself primarily with the nuts and bolts of survival, Gravity explores deeper concerns about the very value of the life we’re trying to prolong … Gravity does occasionally falter when it strays towards the seemingly obligatory ‘bigger’ questions of religion and philosophical meaning. The beauty of what we see and the obvious, indifferent hostility of that same environment perhaps undermines some of the more hokey nods to spirituality that the scriptwriters – Cuarón and son Jonás – struggle to include. Their strong suit is undoubtedly aesthetics and suspense. With the aid of Emmanuel Lubezki’s stunning cinematography and British composer Steven Price’s thundering soundtrack, Cuarón has produced a spectacular sci-fi which doesn’t forget its wit, its intelligence nor its heart.




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  • Virgil

    I am supposing this put’s Gravity on a par with The Right Stuff and Apollo 13. I will always remember the interlude with John Glenn and Aborigines in The Right Stuff. Congratulations, Mr. Cuaron.

  • HeyZeusKreesto

    I initially didn’t care about this movie when news about it first started coming out. Everything I’ve seen recently makes me think I need to see it the first weekend. These reviews pretty much make that a guarantee now.

  • poppincherry

    I saw a preview a few weeks ago. POS! It looks cheap as shit!
    I saw it will be available on VOD at the same time it is released.

    • justin

      Troll!!! You didn’t see jack crap.

    • justin

      Troll!!! You didn’t see jack crap.

    • justin

      Troll!!! You didn’t see jack crap.

  • poppincherry

    I saw a preview a few weeks ago. POS! It looks cheap as shit!
    I saw it will be available on VOD at the same time it is released.

  • poppincherry

    I saw a preview a few weeks ago. POS! It looks cheap as shit!
    I saw it will be available on VOD at the same time it is released.

  • Drew Sidener

    Well, I was going to see it after the eloquently descriptive reviews of several professional critics, but since someone here said it was “a POS,” I guess I will skip it.

    • JK1193

      After seeing someone else’s own opinion. That shouldn’t dictate you’re own opinion.

      • Roy Batty

        It’s Y-O-U-R, and have you ever heard of SARCASM?

    • JK1193

      After seeing someone else’s own opinion. That shouldn’t dictate you’re own opinion.

    • Neven

      The guy is a f***ing troll. Don’t mind what he says, even if he wasn’t one.

  • Drew Sidener

    Well, I was going to see it after the eloquently descriptive reviews of several professional critics, but since someone here said it was “a POS,” I guess I will skip it.

  • Drew Sidener

    Well, I was going to see it after the eloquently descriptive reviews of several professional critics, but since someone here said it was “a POS,” I guess I will skip it.

  • Old Soldier

    Based on current Hollywood trends I think I know how this will end:
    …fast forward 2 1/2hrs-
    Houston: Come in, come in this is Houston, do you read us…..come in, come in, DO….YOU…..READ…..US…OVER!?
    Show Sandra Bullock’s dead body floating in space.
    End credits.
    ********************
    God I hope I’m wrong.

    • Josh Kaye

      Considering it’s only 90 minutes long…I think you’re wrong

    • Josh Kaye

      Considering it’s only 90 minutes long…I think you’re wrong

      • Old Soldier

        Then I stand corrected on THAT. The movie is getting better already.

    • Josh Kaye

      Considering it’s only 90 minutes long…I think you’re wrong

  • Old Soldier

    Based on current Hollywood trends I think I know how this will end:
    …fast forward 2 1/2hrs-
    Houston: Come in, come in this is Houston, do you read us…..come in, come in, DO….YOU…..READ…..US…OVER!?
    Show Sandra Bullock’s dead body floating in space.
    End credits.
    ********************
    God I hope I’m wrong.

  • Old Soldier

    Based on current Hollywood trends I think I know how this will end:
    …fast forward 2 1/2hrs-
    Houston: Come in, come in this is Houston, do you read us…..come in, come in, DO….YOU…..READ…..US…OVER!?
    Show Sandra Bullock’s dead body floating in space.
    End credits.
    ********************
    God I hope I’m wrong.

  • Strong Enough

    this happens all the time. early reaction is always amazing then it comes out and poooo

    • -

      Only God Forgives had pretty bad early reactions.

      • Person

        had pretty bad regular and late reactions too

      • GrimReaper07

        The response was pretty mixed though. I loved that film.

  • Strong Enough

    this happens all the time. early reaction is always amazing then it comes out and poooo

  • Strong Enough

    this happens all the time. early reaction is always amazing then it comes out and poooo

  • Blue Meanie

    i won’t watch any movie made by a beaner. GET THE F*** OUT OF MY COUNTRY!!!!

    • MITIOR

      Is this 2013 or 1813?
      I’m thankful this kind of american stupidity is a minority nowadays. Oh well there will always be stupid skinheads around. Please tell me how your family migrated from Europe to USA?

  • L3wiji

    I like the director’s former works (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men), so I’ll give this one a chance.

  • Bloost

    “At once the most realistic and beautifully choreographed film ever set in space”

    Um, no. Nothing can beat 2001.

  • Bloost

    “At once the most realistic and beautifully choreographed film ever set in space”

    Um, no. Nothing can beat 2001.

  • rhizomeman

    That’s interesting because the reaction at aicn of the trailers was overwhelmingly negative regarding Bullocks silly sounding vocal utterances. Hmmm…..

    • DavidisALLright

      Why would even cite AICN’s reaction? Are you talking about their comments section? Then it’s all meaningless because the commenters are your tried-but-true fanboys: negative, absolute, fickle. ill-informed, and hyperbolic.

      • rhizomeman

        I find this article interesting because what Collider is focusing on as positive from the critics is exactly what most on aicn found negative – Bullocks performance. To me, it reads as damage control.

    • T-Mo

      You’re seriously referencing AICN?

    • T-Mo

      You’re seriously referencing AICN?

    • T-Mo

      You’re seriously referencing AICN?

  • rhizomeman

    That’s interesting because the reaction at aicn of the trailers was overwhelmingly negative regarding Bullocks silly sounding vocal utterances. Hmmm…..

  • MorganFleurDeLys

    I’m going!

  • pinkincide

    Putting Sandra Bullock in a movie is like putting banana in a milkshake. Whatever other great sh!t you put in that shake, it’s just going to taste like f@#king banana.

    • mbmarquis69

      And that matters only if you hate bananas.

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