By now, contemporary cinema fans probably are familiar with Gravity, the title that currently crushes box office records. The essentially two-character, special effects, stereoscopic bonanza benefits from the deft directorial hand of Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and the star power of its leads (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney).
So many aspects of Gravity appear fresh, original, and downright heavenly, from the acting, to the absurdly authentic portrayal of space travel.
However, there is a clear motion picture precursor to the aforementioned. It is the Disney parks' staple Captain EO.
The following are the most obvious similarities between the two films:
1) Duration - Captain EO clocks in at 17 minutes; Gravity runs 90 minutes. In 2013, 90 minutes is the new quarter hour. For proof, consider the length of other recent releases: Prisoners (153 minutes), Lee Daniels' The Butler (132 minutes), and Pacific Rim (131 minutes).
2) Michael Jackson - Both Captain EO and Gravity feature Michael Jackson. The King of Pop toplines EO; whereas, Sandra Bullock's cosmetic facial alterations spookily suggest the late Off the Wall singer.
3) 4D technology - Captain EO is an early example of 4D themed attractions, whereby visual effects extend into the theatre and sometimes touch the spectators. EO's laser and star field projections leap from the screen and onto the auditorium walls. Smoke billows amongst the seats. Similarly, Gravity's multiple point-of-view shots inspire substantive feelings of motion sickness and plane-crash panic in viewers, thereby confirming the physical collision of action and audience.
4) Hooters - In Captain EO, one of the prominent parts is Hooter, the title character's clumsy, but trusty, first mate. In Gravity, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) has prominent hooters, which her underwear-inspired costume further accentuates. On second thought, Stone's main costume is actually underwear.
5) Musicality - Captain EO is a musical, complete with singing and dancing and lavish production numbers. While Gravity is not a musical per se, the LA Animation Examiner speculates that this tale might lend itself nicely to a classic American stage and/or screen musical overhaul. It is easy to imagine the soulful musings of Dr. Ryan Stone as a torch song. Furthermore, the anecdotal tendencies of Clooney's Kowalski (not to be confused with the Kowalski character of A Streetcar Named Desire) have real cowboy ballad potential.