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Monday, October 07, 2013

The Impact of "Gravity"

"Gravity" had a huge box office weekend, as I knew it would. It's going to be this year's big word-of-mouth monster hit. It will be nominated for tons of awards, but its impact will go beyond selling lots of tickets and bolstering Sandra Bullock's carrer. "Gravity" will change the way movies look from now on, thanks to the incredible technology behind the special effects.

I'm reminded of the first time I saw Stanley Kubrick's 1968 masterpiece, "2001: A Space Odyssey." It looked so different that audiences were stunned. The same thing happened in 1977 when George Lucas released the first "Star Wars" movie, and in 1991 when James Cameron made "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." Though their effects may seem old school now, they were paradigm-shifters in the movie business.

I have never liked a 3-D movie until this one, never thought the glasses created any depth to the picture that my imagination couldn't already add. But I can't imagine seeing "Gravity" in 2-D. Like those above, it must be seen on as large a screen as possible, with the stupid glasses. Don't wait for it to stream to your iPad via Netflix -- the experience will not be as immersive. You have to get as lost in the picture as Bullock does in space.

"Gravity" is not perfect. Too much of the dialogue and George Clooney's delivery seem phony. There are scientific errors that distracted me from the plot. But nit-picks aside, it's an amazing cinematic accomplishment that is not only drawing audiences, but causing everyone else making a special-effects-driven movie to slap their heads in wonder.