HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Gravity: Diamond Luxe Edition
HTS Overall Score:96
I’m honestly not sure where to begin. There are movies that are excellent dramas, there are films that are more style than substance, and there are movies where you just want to listen to the music, and finally there are movies that you let wash over you as waves in the ocean, letting the auditory, visual and vocals pour through and around you like child in the womb. I can say wholeheartedly that “Gravity” is the latter. A cinematic experience that is literally just that, an EXPERIENCE is what I consider Alfonso Cuarón’s masterpiece. He’s done some great work with “Y Tu Mama Tambien” and “Children of Men”, but here he has created not a movie, but a cinematic experience that is completely deserving of all the critical acclaim it has been receiving. With 10 nominations for academy awards it is not a film that grandstands or tries to be Oscar bait, instead just a total outpouring of the artist’s heart and soul on camera.
The film starts with an incredible 17 minute single take that takes your breath away at the sheer beauty of space. Medical engineer Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are up at the Hubble telescope having Dr. Stone install a top notch imaging prototype that she has been developing. All is going well until they are informed that a cataclysmic chain of events are about to occur. A field of debris from a satellite is headed there way and all they can do is hunker down and try to survive. Tearing through the telescope and their shuttle, the debris leaves utter chaos in its wake leaving only Dr. Stone and Kowalski alive. The two now are left without a shuttle and with minimal time left in their oxygen supplies. Utilizing Kowalski’s propulsion gear the two of them try and shoot their way towards the Russian space station, where they hopefully can use one of the shuttles to get back to Earth. Fate is cruel though, one of the stations shuttles is already gone, and the other has its landing chute deployed, making it impossible to use. To make matters worse Kowalski is lost trying to get aboard the station, leaving Dr. Ryan alone to figure out a way to make it back to earth.
The story is actually two pronged. It’s a simple tale of survival in the terrors and loneliness of space and it’s a tale of rebirth. The survival story is actually the more simplistic of the two. Lost in space, Dr. Stone must use all of her minimal space training and will to continue on and survive. It’s a solid story and one that we’ve seen many times in the past. Human will and ingenuity against Mother Nature, and it’s done very well. The subtext of this film is the tale of rebirth. Dr. Stone lost her one and only daughter a few years ago and has never been able to let go of that pain. It haunts her, it devitalizes her emotionally and leaves her in a living death, so to speak, robbing her of actually living her life to its fullest. This accident brings her down to the lowest point a human can be and forces her to face her pain. Will she let it destroy her and allow her to give up? Or will it give her a shot of adrenaline in the heart and allow her to tear herself out of the cocoon that she has wrapped round her heart. Alfonso masterfully blends the two stories together with simple verbal cues, but more importantly through the use of the most incredible visual and musical storytelling that I have ever seen in my life, with subtle imagery of Zero G and camera work, just showing us the death of the old, and the rebirth and extension of life of the new. It’s almost akin to watching a butterfly break free from a cocoon watching the imagery portrayed on screen. All I can say is that it is truly breathtaking in person.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=40810[/img]I have never experienced a film like this before and am totally flabbergasted after watching it. The blending of traditional camerawork, with the CGI and musical score is a work of art that truly needs to be experienced on a large screen with a good sound system to be fully appreciated. Watching it on my Plasma with 2 channel sound made me realize that, while it’s a great film that way, being totally immersed by the sound and the encompassment of a large projection screen is truly the best way to experience it, giving you that sense of being in the middle of the film, staring in awe at the vastness of space. Sandra Bullock is unusually restrained in the film, not giving way to her usual over active style of acting, instead playing a withdrawn character that is chipped away at throughout the film, carving out the dead weight and allowing herself to be set free. There are two extremely poignant scenes in the movie that had me marveling at the subtlety of her character. The first being Sandra in a Zero G fetal position, with the cables and wires around her as if she was in the womb, just preparing to meet the world for the first time, and the second is the final scene of the movie, where you can see the new here, bursting into a world full of life and wonder. As I said earlier, the film is two pronged really. A simple survivors tale, and a story of redemptions and new life, with the realization that we have to live life in the present and future, not in the past.
The film’s production itself is about as flawless as you can get. The score by Steven Price is so epically moving and perfect, fitting itself seamlessly in with the stunning cinematography to the point where you can’t extricate one from the other. The production and the casting was spot on perfect. I honestly have a hard time giving 5 star ratings for the film. There’s always something you can pick apart and keep itself from what is meant to be a perfect rating. As such I’ve only given out 4-5 perfect ratings during my time reviewing films, but I can say that we now have another one to add to the books. “Gravity” is a seamless blend of storytelling from all aspects of the production, intertwining themselves with each other to the point that the movie would be incredibly less impactful if you took one of them from creation.
Rated PG-13 for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=40818[/img]Warner has used the same excellent looking encode from the regular edition release last year, so my comments will be the same as that review. As expected, Warner has given us a near flawless 2.40:1 AVC encode, and I do mean that, NEARLY. The film itself is just about as perfect as you can be, but for one VERY slight anomaly. There seems to be a little bit of video noise during some of the darker scenes, it’s not very noticeable, and it’s primarily just something a really nitpicky person can see, but it does drop it down just a hair, enough to make me not give it a 5/5 rating. This most likely comes from a slightly compressed video encode since the film is only 23 gigs on the 2D disc and 19 gigs on the 3D disc. Besides that slight anomaly the film is nothing short of breathtaking. The colors are riveting and beautiful, switching from the blackness of space, to the pale blue interior of the space station and again bursting with light and color as she lands back on earth at the end. The space shots are so hauntingly beautiful that you honestly wish that they wouldn’t end. Detail is fine and rich throughout with copious space shots with incredible detail and wonderful close-ups, allowing you to see every fiber and weave on the NASA issued space suits. Black levels are absolutely gorgeous, never crushing and so deep and inky that you have to marvel at the sheer beauty that black can provide.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=40826[/img]Now here is where it gets fun. The original release of "Gravity" came in a 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless that REALLY set the bar for audio in my opinion. Raw, unfiltered LFE, excellent immersion and the like. The only part that puzzled us was why we only got a 5.1 track (as fantastic as it was), when it was originally filmed in 7.1 Atmos. Now we finally have access that 7.1.4 Atmos track that was missing from the original release. It is just as perfect as the 5.1 track is, but with subtle differences in the back sound stage as it opens up and shows more discrete directionality in those back channels. It's tighter and more immersive back there and the even though the 5.1 track was overseen by Cuarón himself, the added two channels really do make a difference for those equipped with 7.1 or above. The other awesome addition to the disc is the addition of the silent space version, which takes the score out of the film, leaving us just the vocals, and sound effects. I've been wanting to hear this version for a very long time and I have to say that it's a tie between the Atmos track and this iteration of the movie. They each bring something special to the movie and they each have their pros and cons. The Silent Space version creates a very eerie atmosphere that changes the tone and the tension of the movie quite a bit. It's only downside is that it's presented in a lossy Dolby Digital track, which is slightly frustrating for those who have been waiting for that feature. I have no idea if that was done due to the space constraints or what, but it is a disappointment for purists.
• Gravity: Mission Control
- It Began with a Story
- Initial Challenges: Long Shots and Zero G
- Previsualizing "Gravity"
- The Hues of Space
- Physical Weightlessness
- Space Tech
- Sandra and George: A Pair in Space
- Final Animation
- Complete Silence
• Shot Breakdowns
- Behind the Visor
- Fire in the International Space Station
- Dr. Stone's Rebirth
- The Sound of Action in Space
• "Aningaaq": A Short Film by Jonás Cuarón
• Collision Point: The Race to Clean Up Space
New Diamond Luxe Extras
• Gravity: Silent Space
• Looking to the Stars: The Evolution of Space Films
• Gravity: The Human Experience
• Sandra's Birthday Wish
As you can tell from my gushing, I've become a fan of the film. I honestly didn't know what to expect when I saw the trailers. It seemed like one of those films that was all style and no substance, but I’m here to say that I was proven wrong. Whether it gets all or none of the academy awards it’s nominated for, “Gravity” is a stunning piece of art and a revolution in film making. Nothing like it has come before and I’m certain that nothing like it will come for quite a while. Alfonso has created a truly unique and special work here that must truly be seen and heard to be believed. This would be a definitive release except for two small things. The first being the lack of 3D. I'm not a bit proponent of 3D personally, but this is one of those movies where the 3D version is actually superior to the 2D presentation in my opinion. The second being the lack of a lossless Silent Space version. They're nitpicks for sure, as this release is a VERY solid release that gives us Atoms, even MORE extras than the stunning set from the original release and a very nifty package. Combining the 3D combo pack from last year and the Diamond Luxe edition gives you a near perfect package in which you get the best of both worlds. Either way, this is an EXCELLENT edition that is a must buy for those who don't own the disc, and definitely checking out to see if the Atmos and Extras are an incentive to upgrade for previous owners.
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Written by: Alfonso Cuarón, Jonas Cuarón
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Amost (7.1 TrueHD core), French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 91 minutes
Own “Gravity: Diamond Luxe Edition” on Blu-ray 3/31/15
Buy Gravity: Diamond Luxe Edition On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
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