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PHOTOGRAPHY

GRAVITY

Blu-ray/ DVD/ Digital HD Ultraviolet copy combo pack

Review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS:  91 minutes, making-of documentary, breakdown featurettes, space collision documentary, short film, DVD, digital copy

VIDEO:

AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 DD, Portuguese 5.1 DD

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

 

STUDIO: Warner Bros. Pictures/ Heyday Films/ Esperanto Films

Theatrical RELEASE DATE:  10-4-2013

Blu-ray/ DVD RELEASE DATE: 2-25-2014

 

STARRING Sandra Bullock and George Clooney

DIRECTED by Alfonso Cuaron

Two American astronauts are left the only survivors of a crippled space shuttle after space debris (a result of the Russians shooting down one of their own satellites) hits the space shuttle.  They must journey to the ISS (International Space Station) to find a way to get home before the debris circles around the planet again.  It is a race against time and a journey of the human spirit in a very visual film which also tackles philosophical issues about life and our place in the universe.

 

GRAVITY is a film that lingers with you after you have seen it.  I only saw it in 2D and regretted that decision due to how I start to imagine how this film is an experience in 3D (and many reviewers have commented on the 3D experience of GRAVITY).  The special effects are seamless and look very real.  You get to see many beautiful views of the Earth from above and start to wonder how astronauts feel when they look from above in orbit as they circle the Earth.  Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are incredible in this film with the weight of GRAVITY resting on Sandra Bullock’s shoulders as she plays a woman who is still suffering from the lose of her daughter (and manages to avoid the pain by just working and driving after she gets off work).   GRAVITY is about life and death, but I also can relate this film to the issues explored in the films of Shinya Tsukamoto as Bullock’s character plays a person on the edge of death only to find a reason for living again.

 

GRAVITY is a movie worth seeing more than once and at least once in 3D which I plan to go see it in that format soon.  It is all too real in what can be described as one of the best visual movies of the year.  GRAVITY is a space drama that shows real life and death struggles and makes you realize how astronauts up in space could face problems like shown in this movie, but also it is a big metaphor about rebirth and learning to take that next step to keep moving and living. 

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

GRAVITY: MISSION CONTROL (106 minutes) chronicles of the making of GRAVITY from the writing of the story to all of the production challenges and the long post-production process which makes one appreciate all of the technical skill that went into making this film:

IT ALL BEGAN WITH A STORY- talk about the script and the meaning of the story of having it being one big metaphor for life and rebirth

INITIAL CHALLENGES: LONG SHOTS AND ZERO G- a look at the challenges they had to tackle to accomplish long CGI shots and create Zero G (or microgravity) when CGI artists are taught to create weight when animating sequences

PREVIZUALIZING GRAVITY- all about creating every shot in the film in previz to determine how they would shoot and create effects for the movie

THE HUES OF SPACE- all about the light box room where they shot the actors in to create the lighting of the film and to show what environment they’re acting in

PHYSICAL WEIGHTLESSNESS- using various wire rigs to create the look of weightlessness

SANDRA AND GEORGE: A PAIR IN SPACE- focusing on the two actors and what they brought to each other’s performances in addition to the fun they had

FINAL ANAIMATION- behind-the-scenes of creating the CGI for the film in along post-production process

COMPLETE SILENCE- using the score to help power the tension of the action sequences and how to use sound in space where there is no sound

 

SHOT BREAKDOWNS (36:48):

BEHIND THE VISOR (6:50)-

FIRE IN THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (5:42)- FrameStore VFX supervisor and the special effects supervisor discuss how the fire in the space station was created for the film with behind-the-scenes footage that involved wirework, the light box projection room, projection screens, and CGI (including a computer generated leg).

DR. STONE’S REBIRTH (7:54)- a look at the pivotal rebirth of Dr. Stone which involves a bicycle seat rig , precise movements, lighting on a stand-in set, and cgi

THE SOUND OF ACTION IN SPACE (7:55)- behind-the-scenes of creating the music score of GRAVITY and the sound mix that has interviews with the composer, the sound mixer, and Alfonso Cuaron.

SPLASHDOWN (8:24)- behind-the-scenes of filming the splashdown sequence which involved old school techniques of dropping models from a crane into a pool, lighting effects, CGI, an underwater tank, and using a transformed version of Lake Powell, Utah (which was also used for a location in the original PLANET OF THE APES).

 

COLLISION POINT: THE RACE TO CLEAN UP SPACE (22:28)- a documentary narrated by Ed Harris

 

ANINGAAQ- A SHORT FILM BY JONAS CUARON (6:53) with optional introduction- this short film shows the Greenland native who is communicating with Dr. Stone where you only saw the conversation from Dr. Stone’s POV in GRAVITY

 

Also included is a list of film festivals GRAVITY played at.  Sadly, none of the theatrical trailers or TV spots was included on the disc.   Rounding out the combo pack is a code to instantly stream and download a Digital HD Ultraviolet copy of GRAVITY (for TVs, computers, tablets, and Smartphones) and the movie in standard definition on DVD.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:   GRAVITY is a visually intense film with great making-of extras.  Whether you like the film, you have to admire all of the work that went into making GRAVITY.

 

This review is 2-28-2014 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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