Every once in a blue moon a film is released to the world that, essentially, transcends being just a movie AKA two or more hours of escapism. Said film alters the way that the audience views the film and the way filmmakers the world over approach making their movies.
Movies that fit in the "game-changing"category range from The Wizard of Oz(1939), 2001: A Space Odyssey(1968), Star Wars(1977) and, most recently, Avatar(2009). All of the preceding films pushed the envelope in multiple ways: Color photography, special effects, motion capture, realistic 3D, etc. Not only were all of the films mentioned some of the highest grossing films of all time, but they were universally loved by both critics AND audiences, a rare feat. Flash forward from 2009 to now and we find ourselves in the presence of yet another and, arguably, the most impressive "game-changer" out of the bunch: Alfonso Cuaron's masterpiece: Gravity.
The plot of Gravity is relatively straight-forward: a handful of astronauts floating in Earth's orbit are thrust into a near impossible situation when space debris from a nearby satellite, that was destroyed minutes earlier, comes hurtling right at them at dangerous speeds, destroying their rig and shuttle and forcing them to use every drop of their smarts and physical stamina to find a way to get back home alive.
The plot itself is nothing to write home about. After all, there have been plenty of stranded in space films made already that are great(Apollo 13) but it is the way Gravity is filmed, edited, acted and presented that makes it the jaw-dropper it is. Cuaron is known for his impressively shot long-takes, as the world witnessed in his 2006 epic Children of Men, but Gravity is another animal all together in that regard. Aside from several obvious cuts, the entire film feels like one long take which makes it a much more immersive experience. Speaking of immersive experience, the 3-D in Gravity may be the best 3-D ever shown. Rarely can one see a movie in 3-D and actually say that it made the film better or enhanced their experience, but that is not the case here. It is perfectly utilized, putting you in the vast darkness of space and in the claustrophobic confines of the shuttles and stations the characters find themselves in. I'd be very surprised if there was another film in the next year or so that can top the 3-D effects of Gravity. Needless to say, the Visual Effects of the film are nothing less than some of the best ever created for a feature film.
Then there is Sandra Bullock, an actress I usually can't stand. Why? Because, frankly, she's obnoxious and always seems to be playing herself in every one of her roles, including The Blind Side. Well I'll be the first to admit that it is her performance that is the emotional weight of the movie and, arguably, her best effort in her entire filmography. She, essentially, had to carry the entire film on her shoulders and she pulled it off effortlessly. It's a very emotional role, no doubt, but her dedication to the physicality of the role may be more impressive than her toughest emotional scenes. All that one can say with utter confidence is that she is brilliant and an essential component in an already majestic film.
All that's left to be said, without spoiling the film or lessening it's impact, is that if you haven't already gone out to see Gravity...you should, on the biggest screen possible. It is one of those rare films that was truly meant for the big screen and to wait for it to hit your home theater would be a sin, even if you have Blu Ray 3D access. I rarely use the word "perfect" to describe a film or the experience of watching said film but if I ever were to use it, it would be for Gravity. To use any other word would be a disservice to the movie and to the men and women that created it.