Based upon a new teaser scene from the film, Gravity has officially piqued my interest. That was not the case 2 months ago.
The first teaser trailer for director Alfonso Cauron’s 3D “astronauts stranded in space” film Gravity, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, premiered this past May. I recall first seeing it in front of a midnight premiere screening of Man of Steel, with the audience reacting with general indifference. It depicted almost everything from the point of view of George Clooney’s character, and featured various objects coming straight at you to wow you with its general 3D awesomeness. However, it looked, to me, more like the beginning of an awesome first-person video game – you and your partner are astronauts stranded in space after your shuttle crashes, how do you survive? Well, if it were a video game aliens would have to show up at some point to give you something to shoot, but nonetheless Gravity looked more like a collection of gimmicks than an actual full-fledged movie.
Here is the Original Teaser from May:
So, basically, it’s Open Water but starring recognizable actors, set in space and enhanced by 3D?
Yawn. Plus, Star Trek: Voyager did a variation of this plot for the majority of an episode in which the characters of Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) and B’Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson) had to abandon their shuttle and drift helplessly in space until their oxygen ran out. The difference here being that those two had a shot of being rescued whereas that does not appear to be the case for Bullock and Clooney’s characters.
On top of all that, Gravity is horribly late to the party as the 3D craze of a couple of years ago has officially died. Just yesterday the British Film Institute released their 2013 statistical yearbook in which they reported that “on average the percentage of films’ total box office taken in 3D screenings has decreased since 2010” leading them to officially conclude “it would appear that enthusiasm for the 3D format is waning.” Their statistics are specific to the British film industry, but the same story is generally true elsewhere, especially in North America where films continue to under-perform at the 3D box office this Summer.
Then Warner Bros, the film’s distributor, released a new teaser yesterday which depicts roughly the same events of the first teaser, Bullock and Clooney are on a spacewalk when a crash occurs sending them both into chaos. However, this time the action is shown in one long, uninterrupted take. By the end of this new clip my heart was pounding and the obvious thrilling potential of this movie finally revealed itself to me. By not cutting away thereby relieving the audience’s tension by drawing attention to the artifice of it all this suddenly becomes pulse-pounding, edge-of-your seat, and any other number of other cliches millions of writers before me have used over the years to describe tense, thrilling action movies.
Here is the New Clip:
Gravity is director Alfonso Cauron’s first directorial effort since 2006’s Children of Men and only his second since 2004’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (still regarded by some as the best of all 8 Harry Potter films). It’s been in development hell for 7 years, and at one point Robert Downey, Jr. was attached to the male lead role now filled by George Clooney. It was originally due to be released November of last year, but was delayed nearly a full year to an October 4, 2013 release (in the U.S.) to finish post-production.
Still, not much is known about the actual movie other than the offical plot synopsis and statements from Cauron at last weekend’s Comic-Con that despite the noise heard in the trailer all action outside of spacecrafts in Gravity will be soundless due to a preference for a realism, i.e., we shouldn’t be able to hear sound in space. As for the plot:
Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone–tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth…and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.
So, basically good ole fashioned, lighthearted family fun, right?
From what we’ve seen, it still appears as if there will quite a bit of first person POV footage in this movie, and its premise and intended usage of 3D technology could still end up resulting in a film far too gimmicky for its own good. However, it could also be something so much more, a claustraphobic space film so thrilling it’s tough to watch (in the best way possible). We’ll find out this October.
What about you? Have you been intrigued since the very first teaser? Still indifferent? Merely upset that the footage so far seems reluctant to give us a good look at Mr. Handsome, a.k.a., George Clooney? Leave a comment to let us know.