‘Gravity’ International Trailer; James Cameron Praises Alfonso Cuarón’s Space Thriller

Published 2 years ago by

Jonah Cuarón, son of filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón, originally asked his father for notes on a script he was developing titled Desierto (Spanish for “desert”), but the duo ended up collaborating on the project instead and then shifted the setting to the cold vacuum of outer space. They decided to incorporate elements of a domino effect-style worst case scenario theorized by the NASA scientist Donald J. Kessler in 1978 (called the Kessler Syndrome), where objects in low-Earth orbit collide and produce more debris, causing additional collisions that produce more space debris (and so forth, ad infinitum).

The final movie product is Gravity, a 3D survival thriller featuring Oscar-winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as two astronauts working aboard a space station when a storm of satellite debris cripples their vessel and leaves them adrift in space, with a limited amount of time (read: oxygen supplies) remaining until a safe return to Earth is no longer feasible. Patrons at the 2013 Venice Film Festival have showered praise on the film ahead of its theatrical run, and thus WB has premiered an international trailer to help keep the positive buzz going for its $100 million investment.

Structurally, the latest Gravity trailer is an amalgamation of the teaser trailer and previous U.S. trailers, combining fast cuts of Bullock and Clooney’s desperate struggle to stay together and survive upon being stranded in space – taking cues from the realism of 2001: A Space Odyssey so there’s nothing but eery silence in space and Steven Price’s fear-inducing score (sound effects were added for the trailer) – with glimpses at but a few of the multiple sophisticated sequence shots (a.k.a. extended takes) that the elder Cuarón and his trusted cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men) spent 3-4 years pre-visualizing, planning out and actually shooting in order to properly realize their original vision.

gravity trailer sandra bullock Gravity International Trailer; James Cameron Praises Alfonso Cuaróns Space Thriller

Everything from the renegade shrapnel in space, which Alfonso Cuarón told Variety is “a metaphor for adversity,” to the way that Bullock’s character breathes in the film (see: her rapid pattern in the new trailer), functions as a metaphor for the apathy and isolation that many people experience in our modern society, which accounts for the split in early critical reactions. Namely, the divide is between people who argue that Gravity is purely a technical breakthrough in 3D filmmaking and others that interpret the movie as a smart character study wrapped up a pulse-pounding thrill ride.

James Cameron, who changed the 3D moviemaking game with Avatar back in 2009, has seen Gravity and had nothing but admiration to express towards the movie’s visual style, atmosphere and storytelling components alike:

“I was stunned, absolutely floored. I think it’s the best space photography ever done, I think it’s the best space film ever done, and it’s the movie I’ve been hungry to see for an awful long time… What is [most] interesting is the human dimension. Alfonso and Sandra working together to create an absolutely seamless portrayal of a woman fighting for her life in zero gravity.”

The latest Gravity trailer is also the first preview to highlight Bullock’s motivation for staying alive (besides her survival instinct), as it reveals that her character has a daughter and, by suggestion, a messy, yet important, personal life back on Earth that helps keep her going. Some of the film’s early reviews seem to disagree with Cameron about this particular factor of the “human dimension,” arguing that it’s an unnecessary plot device and cheapens Bullock’s arc in the story. We’ll have to wait and see if that’s a general complaint that moviegoers have about Cuarón’s white-knuckle space ride, or if fewer people take issue with that.

Gravity Still 4 570x243 Gravity International Trailer; James Cameron Praises Alfonso Cuaróns Space Thriller

Perhaps the more pressing question concerns how Gravity will perform at the box office, given that its director and stars all have respectable critical reputations but their track records tend to vary when it comes to selling tickets. After all, despite how so many critics and film buffs love Cuarón’s work, his non-Harry Potter movies have never been a large draw in theaters (Children of Men didn’t even match its $76 million budget worldwide). Similarly, for every financial hit that’s been anchored by Bullock and Clooney (The Blind Side, The Descendants), there seems to be a project that far fewer people have actually seen (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Ides of March).

Do you think the exciting trailers and positive early word of mouth for Gravity will be enough to get butts in the seats and make the space flick a satisfactory box office success? Let us know in the comments section!

BONUS: For those who didn’t jump skip to the comments section after watching the new trailer, here’s a preview of the Gravity soundtrack:


Gravity opens in 2D and selected 3D/IMAX theaters on October 4th, 2013.

Source: Variety

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: Gravity
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  1. I don’t think Clooney will have a large, large, role in this film. Bullock’s getting most of the shine.

    Poor Clooney.

    • If Cameron praised it, then it must have a lame and predictable plot but great special effects…

      • So true! ;D

  2. Lets remember that James Cameron always talks like this. He speaks in absolutes, uses hyperbole all the time, all of his projects are like the BEST movie ever.

    Dont get me wrong I’m a big Alfonso Cuaron fan. Azkaban’s always been my fave Potter film and Children of Men was a masterpiece. I’m really excited for this and it’ll definitely be good but I don’t put too much faith in the often overly-exaggerated words of James Cameron 😉

    • Jim’s over-the top characterizations have
      become so common his praise is diluted.

      • my point exactly.

        • Yeah, it’s almost like he’s just campaigning for 3D.
          Much like a politician who repeats his talking points.

          • I am reminded of his E3 appearance to promote the Avatar video game a few years back. He talked about it like the game was re-inventing the wheel. But it just ended up being another crummy movie-videogame.

      • Like I said above, if he is praising it, then it must have a lame and predictable plot but great special effects.

        On another note Robert, that issue with the website freezing on me has been fixed. I alerted Vic to the problem, and he fixed it at his end. It was something that effected Internet Explorer 9 users, or at least one of them (me).

        • Say, thanks for letting me know, Jeff.
          And great support from Vic to correct it.

          • Yea, I’m really impressed with how hands-on and responsive he is. Great guy behind a great website.

  3. This film is post-converted to 3D.

    Not shot in 3D which Cameron has been
    insisting was the best and he pretty much
    has dissed post-conversion as cheapening 3D.

    Does this mean Cameron has changed his mind
    on post-conversion to 3D? His raves appear so.

    • yes, he ranted about post-processing 3d, but only if done cheaply. He post-processed Titanic 3d himself.

      i was told it is OK. But I will never know. Titanic was a nightmare the one time I saw it. The horror. Those pictures…

      • James had to post convert Titanic.
        Cameron ranted about shooting in 3D
        and not post-converting for new pictures.

  4. Ugh, if it weren’t for Sandra Bullock, I’d be so hyped for this movie.
    Why did they have to get one of the most annoying actresses in Hollywood?
    Her voice alone is cringe worthy: that first part in the trailer where she’s spinning out of control – her reactions sound so forced and fake.

    I never let actors put me off from seeing a movie, and I always try to reserve judgement before I see it, but I really feel like making an exception with this movie… or at the very least, waiting for the reviews to hit.

    • Amen to that. Sandra Bullock is one of the most annoying actresses ever.
      Add to that she has zero credibility as an astronaut what have is fatal casting.

  5. The trailer did absolutely nothing to make me want to see this.

  6. The opening text makes a point of there being no sound in space, and yet there’s more “collision noise” here than in the previous trailer from a month ago. Even the sound of Bullock unclipping her harness wasn’t there in that one. Whether or not the sound effects have been given more prominence purely for impact in the trailer, I actually don’t have a problem with them at all – I just found that quite ironic.

    In any case, the footage I’ve seen so far looks breathtaking, and I’m liking Steven Price’s score a LOT as well.

    • Yeah, I added a note about the space sound effects having been added to the trailers, since I’m all but certain they’re not in the actual film (Cuaron mentioned that back at Comic-Con).

      • Cheers for the reply, Sandy. Makes sense that they should up the ante for the trailers closer to release. I hadn’t realised Children Of Men failed to even recoup its fairly modest budget, and there’s nearly twice as much money at stake here.

  7. ” it’s the best space film ever done”

    Well, that would include 2001: A Space Odyssey.
    It is safe to assume this will not approach that masterpiece.

    • Actually there is a fairly good chance that it will, if “masterpiece” isn’t defined by age and pretentiousness alone. 2001 is way overrated. Great effects for its time, but it has barely any story (with an ending that even creators Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick didn’t understand by their own admittance) and the very few instances of acting (most of the time we only see spaceship models and set decoration) are incredibly stilted, too. 2001 is a great technical achievement but it’s about as far from being a masterpiece as Transformers.

      • …Get out of my head! 😉
        TheLostWinchester, I couldn’t agree more. You said it perfectly, sir.

      • Sorry, Clarke and Kubrick never said anything of the kind, and Clarke’s novelisation of the screenplay makes it perfectly clear what’s happening at the end of the movie. Whose story, incidentally, was about the origins and destiny of humanity.

        The characters were purposefully underplayed to demonstrate their professional detachment masking a complacency and complete unpreparedness for they’re actually dealing with. Dr Floyd is more petty bureaucrat than scientist or philosopher, practising secrecy and damage limitation with the the bland words and smiles of a politician. Bowman and Poole are mere cogs in the larger machine of the Discovery itself, not told the true purpose of the mission, and not even to be used once the ship had reached Jupiter. Poole watches a birthday transmission from his parents without a flicker of emotion. Bowman takes the pod to retrieve his colleague’s corpse as if he’s out collecting a rock sample. HAL’s murder of the three astronauts in hibernation is apparent only by a series of alarms and medical readouts. HAL exhibits, ironically and entirely consistently in Kubrick’s depiction, the most human motivations and behaviour of any character in the movie.

        A pretentious film is one that tries to be something it isn’t, or aims for a level of profundity and misses. In my opinion 2001 does neither of these things.

        • Exactly. Very well said, Big Dentist, and all points on point.

        • for *what* they’re actually dealing with

    • With you on that one, Robert. Stunning photography aside, from Gravity’s modest premise I’m not expecting it to be much more than a 21st century version of Marooned, with maybe an added pinch of standard “we are mere minnows in the cosmic ocean”.

      • “a 21st century version of Marooned”

        I think that is precisely where this is film headed to be.
        Which may be alright for what it is but a landmark film no.

        • Yeah, I suspect it is what it is: hopefully a high watermark, but as you say, not exactly a landmark.

    • @Robert
      Yes Space Odyssey is truly great.I wonder what Kubrick would have made of today’s films.
      I respect Cameron’s opinion though and will see this with big expectations.

      • I wonder what Stanley Kubrick would think too, len.
        I don’t think he would be a proponent of 3D for starters.

        • @Robert
          I don’t think so either but with the developments in Digital camera’s he may have been convinced to dabble,like Scorcese.

  8. Taking off all the hyperbole – it has to be accepted as a bare minimum that this looks promising. whether or not it delivers on all the fronts – namely the the drama..the character study…the techniques…etc is something only time will tell & also bound to be debatable as a matter of personal choice. However one *must* – without any hyperbole – give credit to Mr. Cuaron for trying something a little fresh/creative/different (again a matter of personal choice as to what amongst those is the right description). Specially in this sequel/prequel/reboot/adaptation/comic book/toy line inspired/ theme park inspired movie landscape – the fact that he got the studio to back him with $100M into non-pre existing sci-fi material is also commendable – he definitely has put in a lot of hard work or imagination into this. And for that, sir, i am willing to check the film out. I have seen plenty of garbage disguised as ‘tentpole’ / ‘blockbuster’ – and am sure this will offer something at least little bit better.

  9. Not as good as the three previews, but I am attracted to the shooting style of Cuaron is displaying and in the same way people watched ‘Life of Pi’ and could not determine the difference between CGI Tiger and real Tiger we will be doing the same with the actors here.

    Which in itself is a considerable step forward. I will be approaching this like I did ‘Avatar’ then. Less a story, more a showcase for craft and technical achievement.

  10. leave Sandra Bullock in space. she needs to be left for dead for them dam speed movies

  11. ahhhh ahhhhh ahhhhhh ahhhhhhh ahhhhhh aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh

  12. This looks REALLY intense! Alfonso Cuaron has been one of my favorite directors since Children of Men so I definitely can’t wait for this one.

  13. I’ll check it out once it hits Netflix for sure….