Sunday, February 23, 2014

Video review: "Gravity"

Despite being only 91 minutes long, “Gravity” is a bona fide cinematic epic, a film with a big story and jaw-dropping special effects. Seen in IMAX or on a big screen, it was an engrossing adventure, part thrill ride and part sobering drama.

But how will “Gravity” fare on video, where even the largest flat screen TV can’t match the big canvas of a movie theater? We’re about to find out.

My take is it’s still a thoroughly engaging experience, but a more intimate one. No, the heart-churning sequence where the Hubble Telescope is taken out by space debris doesn’t carry quite the same weight when you’re not enveloped by those images and sounds. But the scenes where it’s just Sandra Bullock trapped in her spacesuit, frantically huffing away her last few breaths of oxygen, become even more gripping.

Story-wise, it’s essentially just a tale of survival. Ryan Stone (Bullock) is a medical engineer and novice astronaut, while George Clooney plays Kowalski, a glib veteran. They’re the only two left alive when their shuttle and the telescope are destroyed, and must make a desperate attempt to reach a nearby station before it, too, is turned to fragments.

Big screen or TV, “Gravity” boasts a whole lot of heft.

Extra features, which are the same for Blu-ray and DVD versions, are somewhat disappointing. There are three making-of featurettes, titled “Gravity Mission Control,” “Shot Breakdowns” and “Sandra’s Surprise!”.

You also get a short film by screenwriter Jonás Cuarón, “Aningaaq,” and a public service documentary, “Collision Point: The Race to Clean Up Space,” narrated by Ed Harris.



1 comment:

  1. It's a technical marvel -- appropriately breathtaking in its evocation of space's vastness and the buffeting suffered by the two astronauts in their efforts to anchor themselves to something solid. But Cuaron also knows how suspense works.