BR: Gravity (2013)

March 13, 2014 | By

 

Gravity_BRFilm: Excellent

Transfer: Excellent/ Extras: Excellent

Label: Warner Home Video

Region: All

Released:  February 25, 2014

Genre:  Drama / Science-Fiction / 3D

Synopsis: Two astronauts struggle to survive and return to Earth after their space shuttle and the International Space Station are destroyed by rogue space junk.

Special Features:  Making–of documentary: “Gravity: Mission Control” / Making-of Featurette: “Shot Breakdown” / Short film by Jonás Cuarón: “Anungaaq” / Documentary: “Collision Point: The Race to Clean Up Space” / Bonus DVD + Ultraviolet

 

 


 

Review:

Alfonso Cuarón’s much-hyped, Oscar-winning 3D space drama / sort-of sci-fi translates well to home video, even in a flat 2D version, but it’s a film more impressive for being an immersive audio-visual experience than storytelling, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

With so much invested in capturing and conveying the drama of being stranded in Earth’s orbit after wreckage from a blown-apart satellite shreds several space stations and damages ts emergency return crafts, the story and dialogue can’t be showy; keeping the language professional and threadbare was the right approach in making sure audiences feel the terror as astronaut Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) struggles to return to an intact section of an orbiting station, only to be ejected into the openness and essentially leap-frog from space pod to station to pod in the hope of reaching Earth’ warm surface in a barely functional capsule.

George Clooney plays the mission captain and Stone’s savior, and there’s a point in the film where things get a little trippy, mandating an acceptance of certain perceived events, and Stone’s effort to return home by propelling and flinging herself in some insane situations which might (do) test the limits of believability. They’re still hair-raising set-pieces, but the ‘return to Earth’ sequence maybe asks audiences to accept one too many incredible goals.

Cuarón’s technical direction is amazing – the opening sequence lacks any cuts, and later edits have a subliminal feel – and Bullock offers an accessible (and necessary) human element to ensure the film isn’t just a special effects extravaganza.

Steven Price’s Oscar-winning score conveys tension without resorting to clichéd musical sounds – most of the score is interweaving drones and grinding electronica, making up for Cuarón’s use of muted sounds in the stillness of space – but the score falls apart during Ryan’s return, adopting a melodic style far too close to a generic Hans Zimmer-produced wrap-up cue. It’s a generic track in an otherwise inventive score, and instead of conveying reality or Ryan’s humanity, the cue transforms the finale into a generic sci-fi finale, which is a shame.

Warner Home Video’s chosen to release the film in separate DVD, BR/DVD combo, and 3D BR combo editions, each carrying a steady wealth of extras that contextualize the film’s effects, production and casting, and more importantly, the very real threat of space junk that’s still building up around the Earth, and increasing the chances of a devastating collision. Cuarón’s enactment of a destroyed space station is horrifying – the craft is shredded to pieces, making it clear no one can survive the impact of particles moving faster that bullets. The main doc, “Collision Point: The Race to Clean Up Space,” was appropriately narrated by Ed Harris, who makes a cameo as the voice of Mission Control, recalling his performances in the space docu-dramas Apollo 13 (1995) and The Right Stuff (1983).

Gravity was designed to be seen in cinemas, but it’s still an affecting work which also brings attention to a serious global problem without sermonizing audiences.

 

 

© 2014 Mark R. Hasan

 


 

External References:
IMDB  —  Soundtrack Album  —  Soundtrack Review — Composer Filmography
 
Vendor Search Links:
Amazon.ca —  Amazon.com —  Amazon.co.uk

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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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