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Why Gravity’s Brilliance is Depressing

Gravity is a fantastic film. Sure, it may have a few issues here and there but it’s an experience few other films can match. Visually it’s an absolute masterpiece and made me realise why I love the cinema so much. However, this also made me a little depressed.

After I watched Gravity, I realised that once it disappears from cinemas in the next month or so (it’ll have already disappeared in most other countries), it will likely never be experienced in quite the same way.

As we all know, some if not most films are better at the cinema, especially action films with big set pieces. They can still be immensely enjoyable at home on a smaller screen but nothing quite beats an enormous cinema screen with full surround sound. So much of Gravity is about becoming completely immersed in the experience and being in the cinema allows that. Put the film on a small screen and it will lose much of what makes it what it is. Sat in a dark cinema, you’re effectively there with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney floating miles above the Earth but sat at home with various other distractions, that level of immersion is a lot less likely.

In the future, cinemas may well dust it off and give it another run as part of a showcase or anniversary of something or other, but for the most part it will be relegated to DVD and Blu-ray viewings, and I suspect it simply won’t be anywhere near as good.

Of course this can be applied to pretty much every film, and there are many that I’ve watched at home and can only imagine how much better it would have been on the big screen. For example, I’m very jealous that I wasn’t able to see Kubrick’s 2001 or Ridley Scott’s Alien at the cinema; those are just two films that I imagine would be unbelievable when seen on a huge screen.

It just hit me with Gravity that much of what makes this film so great will soon be lost, and that’s a little sad.

Are there any films that you think really only work at the cinema or that you really wish you’d have the opportunity to watch when they first came out?

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Film Review: Gravity


During a routine spacewalk, astronauts Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are caught up in debris caused by a Russian missile strike on a defunct spacestation. Stranded above the Earth and running low on oxygen, they must do what they can to survive.

There’s not much point in talking about Gravity without starting with how it looks. From the opening shot to the moments the credits role, the film is a technical marvel. It’s freakin’ gorgeous.

Director Alfonso Cuarón initially wanted to make Gravity a fair few years ago but was not satisfied that technology was advanced enough to take his vision to the big screen. However, with various technological advancements, was finally able to make the film he wanted to make, and to stunning effect.

Never before has the line between CGI and live action been quite so blurred. The teams at Framestore and Prime Focus have done an amazing job and the biggest compliment I can pay them is that it made me genuinely believe the whole thing was filmed in space rather than Pinewood and Shepperton Studios in London.

For a setting so vast, the attention to detail is staggering (you’ll not find anything about factual inaccuracies here). From Sandra Bullock nonchalantly brushing past debris during a spacewalk to the inch perfect shot composition, Gravity is a film that is so meticulous in its construction yet so simple and natural in its presentation.

Floating high above the Earth, there is no up, no down; everything just revolves and spins in zero-gravity and its a genuinely immersive experience. You really feel as if you’re floating there with them, and part of that is due to the 3D. I’m no fan of 3D whatsoever but it feels so intrinsic to the overall effect of Gravity that I would urge everyone to cough up the extra cash and give it a whirl in 3D. It’s not gimmicky or distracting; it just really helps convey the vastness of space.

It’s not all style, though, and thematically there’s plenty going on. There are themes of rebirth, loss, hope and even evolution. At time it also clearly uses Kubrick’s 2001 as inspiration.


Clooney and Bullock are the leads here, and to be honest, they’re pretty much the only characters in the film. Bullock takes centre stage, however, and delivers a superb performance. She’s fine when Clooney’s wise-cracking at her, but it’s the times when she’s on her own that stand out as she really helps convey her loneliness and helplessness.

The film isn’t perfect, though. It’s easy to get blinded by the visual splendour of the film, but I had a few (minor) issues. The dialogue, Clooney’s in particular, is a little on the corny side and does briefly pull you out of the experience. It sometimes feel like a George Clooney character rather than a character played by George Clooney. My only other gripe is that the story is a little repetitive. It occasionally felt like a series of set pieces rather than a fluid story, each time something else going wrong and putting the astronauts in danger. Repeat to fade.

These really are only slight issues though. Gravity is a film that should not be missed and on a technical level deserves to be mentioned alongside films such as Metropolis2001Titanic, etc. So do yourself a favour; find the biggest screen possible, sit back and just drink it in.

4 and a half pigeons

4.5/5 pigeons

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