The critics all agree: "Gravity" is no "Space Cowboys." OK, kidding. In fact, Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity" may turn out to be one of — if not the — best reviewed movie of the year. And if audiences agree, the comparisons to another space-set classic, "2001: A Space Odyssey" may mean we're witnessing the birth of a new cinema classic.
In the movie, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play two astronauts stranded in space when an accident destroys the tether to their space shuttle. Left adrift, and with time and air running out, they must figure out a way to save their own lives -- if that's even possible in the cold blackness of space.
Though critics did have some small quibbles with mostly play-by-the-numbers script, on a whole, they're dazzled by the incredible special effects and use of 3-D. Most had to invent new superlatives, and resorted to new ways of saying, "It was really cool," over and over, but sounding smart about it. "Gravity," it seems, is a triumph of spectacle, and demands to be seen in movie theaters. That is, if you can handle the 91 minutes of abject terror. Check out a rundown of critics' thoughts below:
" 'Gravity' treats 3-D as essential to the information it wants to share. The reason for that is summed up in the title, which names an obvious missing element. Nothing in the movie — not hand tools or chess pieces, human bodies or cruise-ship-size space stations — rests within a stable vertical or horizontal plane. Neither does the movie itself, which in a little more than 90 minutes rewrites the rules of cinema as we have known them." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Sandra Bullock Owns The Screen
"...it's Sandy's movie. She's our most down-to-earth A-list superstar, which makes her the perfect person to connect with us in outer space. At first she's ashen and blank-faced. Then comes the sequence aboard a space station where she wriggles out of her space suit and floats — in a T-shirt and black undies — in zero gravity. There she is, in the fetal position, suspended in the film's version of amniotic fluid, about to swim through the birth canal that is a creaky, clanky Soyuz — it's the most expressive ballet ever captured in a sci-fi film..." — David Edelstein, Vulture
It's Not Sci-Fi
" 'Gravity,' though it's set in space, isn't really science fiction. It's a drama built around the technology of space travel as it more or less exists today. What's astonishing about the film is its hypnotic seamlessness — the way that the director, Alfonso Cuarón, using special effects (and 3D) with a nearly poetic simplicity and command, places us right up there in space along with the people on screen." — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
Don't Come Late To The Movie
"[The] amazing 13-min. sequence at the very beginning of 'Gravity' is shown in a single shot. To say this is a marvel of camerabatics, of visual choreography, animation and physical acting (Bullock and Clooney worked on wires in front of a green screen) is to undersell Cuarón's gift as a storyteller who takes the audience on a nail-gnawing space flight. He's a cinematic astronaut whose Mission Control is his retinue of visual enablers, led by Special Effects wizard Tim Webber." — Richard Corliss, Time
Cuaron Is The New Kubrick
"It would be impossible to overestimate the difficulty of what Cuarón and his top-of-the-line crew have pulled off... Somewhere, one imagines, the spirits of Stanley Kubrick and Max Ophuls are looking down in admiration." — Justin Chang, Variety
Because Buzz Aldrin Should Get The Last Word
"We're in a very precarious position of losing all the advancements we've made in space that we did 40 years ago, 50 years ago. From my perspective, this movie couldn't have come at a better time to really stimulate the public. I was very, very impressed with it." — Buzz Aldrin, The Hollywood Reporter