Thursday, 8 December 2011

Cinematic Anticipation - 'Gravity'

Finally, The Constellation of Cinematic Anticipation enters the phase where the films in question are truly a long way off. Time flies though, and before we know it, these films will be upon us, and we will be anticipating films that are only an idea germinating in someones mind right now. In the case of Gravity, the germinating process was a long one, and at just under a year to go to its 12 November 2012 release date, we have quite some time to wait. That being said, filming has already wrapped, and I think we should start seeing something more quite soon. Hit the jump to see why Gravity joins the ranks of the movies you should look forward to most in the next few years...

The information concerning this film is isolated and, unlike for movies like The Dark Knight Rises, can actually be narrowed down to a finite number of observations, announcements and statements by various people involved in the creation of Gravity. So that is how I am going to do it... let's say, 8 reasons to make Gravity pull you in. Here we go.

1. The Director: Alfonso Cuaron

Well known to all cinephiles, Alfonso Cuaron isn't exactly a household name among your average moviegoer. He directed one of my favourite Spanish films, Y Tu Mama Tambien, the very ambitious and brilliantly executed Children of Men (which seems to be a favourite of every cinema snob on the planet), and of course, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. So, whether you like action, drama, or Potter, you have seen a movie by him. That is a bit of an odd resume, and it's therefore no wonder he has now decided to explore the outer space sci-fi genre. What can't be denied though, it that he is a versatile, ambitious and capable director, and he loves the long shot!

2. The Cinematographer: Emmanuel Lubezki

Speaking of long shots, the name of Emmanuel Lubezki alone should be sufficient to secure this film a place in the Constellation of Cinematic Anticipation. If you don't know who he is, he's the guy who works with Terrence Malick all the time. He filmed The New World using only hand held and steadicam, he has been nominated for 4 Oscars, he filmed The Tree of Life (for which he will be nominated again) and he pulled off a crazy as hell shot in Children of Men. Insanity I tell you. Click here to see it (I cannot embed the damn thing).

The best thing about Lubezki and Cuaron? Apparently the opening shot of the film will be 20 minutes long. 20. Minutes.

3. The Cast: George Clooney and Sandra Bullock

That's it. There are only two people in the entire film. You see, the plot description is as follows: "The lone survivor of a space mission to repair the Hubble telescope desperately tries to return to Earth and reunite with her daughter."  George Clooney said this to USA Today:

"A satellite blows up and space junk causes damage. We go out in space suits, and she and I are tethered together, floating through space. It's a two-hander with only two actors in the whole film. It is a very odd film, really. Two people in space. No monsters. It's more like 2001 (2001: A Space Odyssey) than an action film... Sandy is the lead. And she is beautiful in it. We have known each for way over 20 years. It's fun to work with her."

It sounds intriguing, and different. But we haven't gotten to the good parts yet. Oh, and before you have a fit about Sandra Bullock, she is a good actress. Also, she won this role after Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Natalie Portman, Marion Cotillard, Abbie Cornish, Carey Mulligan, Sienna Miller, Scarlett Johansson, Blake Lively, Rebecca Hall and Olivia Wilde were all tested or approached for the lead. Angelina Jolie was also in the mix at one point, but she dropped out (thank heavens).

Speaking of Sandy, the only image of any nature from the film so far is this photo of her on the set (via Celebuzz):

Exciting, I know. The less information we have now, the more we are going to get in future!

4. The Producer: David Heyman 

David Heyman produced every single Harry Potter film. Even if you aren't a fan, you cannot deny that putting 8 movies of that magnitude and success together is an incredible achievement. Don't worry though, I'm not saying that because he produced Harry Potter, Gravity will be a great film. It's what he said to Collider at Cinemacon this year that got me excited:

"We’re using technology that’s never seen before. This film will be more immersive, I believe, than anything you’ve seen before. You will really feel like you are in space. It will not be an objective view of space, it will be an immersive view of space. And you know as you say, with Children of Men, he loves these long shots. It’s gonna be a really bold, bold film."

The film is in 3D then. Not only that, but it will be 60% CGI (much like Avatar was) and filmed entirely on sound stages. Heyman had this to say about the process:

"…actually, we did some tests. Because this film is being made almost entirely digitally, a huge amount of it’s being made digitally. 3D felt like a really organic—because so much of it’s being done digitally, you can make the 3D in a post process much more easily than if you were shooting all live-action or sitting in a room."

5. The Guru: Guillermo Del Toro

What got me really psyched for this one is the words Guillermo Del Toro had to say about it to MTV a while ago:

"I think he would kill me if I reveal [what is so crazy about it], and in time it will be publicized, but I think that in the same way that he pushed the narrative in Children of Men…[they] are absolutely pushing a new boundary in filmmaking, completely mind-blowing. And they way they’re making [Gravity] will I think foverever change certain types of productions. The engineering and the ingenuity of the machines they’ve created to film that way is fantastic. I”m amazed at Alfonso in the last few movies, because he has completely transformed himself."

6. The Ego: James Cameron

Jacques Rivette on James Cameron:

Cameron isn’t evil, he’s not an asshole like Spielberg. He wants to be the new De Mille. Unfortunately, he can’t direct his way out of a paper bag. “ 

That being said, one cannot deny the man's technical genius.  I do find it funny though, that his genius is still trumped by his massive ego. This is another bit of what Guillermo Del Toro has to say about Gravity:

"What is incredible about what they did is, they talked to David Fincher, they talked to Jim Cameron, I connected Jim and Alfonso for that. And what Alfonso is trying, is so insane. And Jim said, well, look, you’re about five years into the future…it’s too early to try anything that crazy. And they did it!"

Another reason to be excited: James Cameron outdone.

7. The Release Date: Oscar Oscar

With a release date of 12 November 2012, Gravity is positioned squarely for awards season contention. Obviously the people involved know something we don't. I must admit though, you can't rely too heavily on the release date now already (even though it would be lovely to see some sci-fi Oscar love).

8. The Time: is Plenty

As I said above, Gravity has already wrapped filming, leaving about a year for post production. That leaves plenty of time to get everything perfectly detailed. In a film as sparse as this one, I think it will be crucial that every little visual detail is taken care of. There is nothing to hide behind. If there are unfinished bits, it will show like hell.

And that's that. I just realise that it's not very easy to write a lot about a film when not much is known about it yet. At this stage I would say my excitement is based on gut feel more than anything else, but the force is strong with this one.

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