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Gravity 3D Blu-ray Review

A masterful exercise in pure suspense and relentless tension

by Casimir Harlow Feb 26, 2014


Movies review

289

  • Movie
  • Blu-ray
Movie: Gravity
Released:2013

Title: Gravity
Media: Blu-ray
Region:FREE
Country:UK
Certificate:12
Running Time:91 minutes
Sound:English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French, Italian Spanish, German, Italian, English Audio Descriptive Service Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:English, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish
Extras:Documentary
Visual FX Breakdowns
Short Film
Featurette

SRP: £26.99

Hold your breath

Director Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity is a powerful and blisteringly accurate disaster movie set in the dead of space.

Not only can no one hear you scream but they also can't hear the high-speed bullet-like impact of debris tearing through your ship and leaving you stranded in the great abyssal vacuum. Cuaron's powerful use of sound - or lack thereof - coupled with an impassioned score, only heightens the near-unbearable tension, whilst acclaimed cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki provides us with some stunning images, both of the earth from space, and of hardware disintegrating into a million tiny Lego-like pieces. There's also several effective unsubtle-but-not-intrusive symbolic touches, including a rebirth cycle ignited by a beautiful Zero-G foetal coil.
Basically a one-(wo)man show, with Clooney on hand for a surprisingly powerful extended cameo, Gravity marks a great role for Bullock, who arguably equals her fantastic career-high Blind Side performance with a strong-yet-vulnerable effort here as an astronaut left stranded in space with little oxygen, few supplies, dwindling fuel and no communication with Mission Control back on Earth. The survival structure of the story pushes Bullock to her limits, evidencing both a mental and physical strain to the seemingly endless catastrophes that befall her character.

Yet it is still a tribute to the unquestionable skill of the director that he is able to not only draw such performances out of his cast – who were, originally, Natalie Portman and Robert Downey Jr. – but also quite so much tension out of such a minimalistic, realistic setting and story, blowing similar but more conventionally Oscar-worthy efforts like Apollo 13 out of the atmosphere with its ground-breaking depiction of an against-the-clock space disaster.

Best 3D since Avatar

Worth the production delays and extended wait to get the film fully rendered in 3D, this is one of the best - again, if not the best - examples of the technology since the format's introduction with the benchmark-setting Avatar. As with Cameron's spectacle, Gravity is so dominated by CG effects that the 3D works, providing it with a genuinely immersive quality which (besides Avatar) is likely unparalleled in previous uses of the format. Not only do we get all those trademark reach-out-and-touch-it moments that viewers appear to have a love/hate relationship with, but the 3D brings life to a place most of us are utterly unfamiliar with: truly affording us a glimpse at the bottomless depth of space. It's also probably the first time any of us have seen space-side views of the Earth where the landscape takes on a tangible texture, with mountain ranges and plateaus giving an extra dimension to the previously 'flat' globe.

Above all, though, the 3D cinematography draws you into the intense claustrophobia and suffocating environment, marrying 1st and 3rd person shots seamlessly, delivering a feature which is almost like a 90-minute version of the epic car-assault tracking-shot in Cuaron's Children of Men (where the camera pans in and out and around the car in one long take, as it is shot at and attacked), and which is unrelenting in its tension, leaving you literally holding your breath to see what happens next.

It’s only fitting then, that Warner’s two outstanding video presentations are exceptional, sheer picture perfect majesty. First up there’s the 1080p/MVC-encoded 3D presentation, and then there’s it’s 1080p/AVC-encoded 2D twin brother – both framed in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen – and, honestly, you’d be hard-pushed to find two finer looking video presentations in the charts at the moment. They are strong contenders for the new benchmark standard, boasting stunning detail and exceptional clarity, resounding precision across the field of depth, from the close-ups on skin textures to the authentic space suits and intricately-perfected station setting. The colour scheme is rich and vibrant, despite its obvious limitations, and black levels allow for rich space sequences – the best you will have ever seen. All this with no signs whatsoever of any digital defects, DNR over-application, edge enhancement, banding or blocking. Simply perfect.

As with Dredd 3DGravity is one of a handful of films that you simply must see in 3D.

Reference Audio

The sound design on Gravity is also outstanding, eschewing the standard intentional cinematic ‘flourishes’ of most space-bound features – which almost universally rely on space sound to drive home the effect, even though there would be almost no sound – and instead relying on precision moments and a stunning score to drive the piece. Both versions of Gravity come with identical DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks which are exceptional examples on the format.

Dialogue is extremely limited in this feature, but every word, every breath comes across clearly, as if you were trapped in the same space suit as the characters. It’s this first person perspective that comes across as much in the sound design as in the visuals, with LFE reverberations rocking you throughout the various debris assaults; the surrounds crafting a veritable sonic minefield for you as you desperately claw your way to safety. The breaths intensify; the characters are knocked and buffeted across the screen, and, all the while, the impassioned score ignites the piece, focusing the tension and channelling the emotions.

Prime examples of sheer perfection, the audio tracks promote reference quality demo material.


Weighty Extras

The hefty, comprehensive DocumentaryGravity: Mission Control – runs a good quarter-hour longer than the main feature itself and is split into 9 sub-sections, covering every element in the production of the movie, from the story, scope and space-setting to the casting, shooting in space and scoring space.

Over half an hour of further Shot Breakdowns supplant the main Documentary, split into 5 Featurettes all approximately 7 minutes in length, and looking specifically at the VFX utilised in several key sequences.

Alfonso Cuaron’s son, Jonas Cuaron (Gravity’s co-writer), shot this intriguing 10-minute Short Film as a sort-of accompaniment to the main feature and, although it is largely unnecessary, it is still well worth checking out.

The disc is rounded off by another worthy extra, the 22-minute Collision Point: The Race to Clean Up Space, which is a Featurette hosted by Ed Harris looking at the real-life issue of flying space debris.

Matching up to the US counterpart, we get the same comprehensive selection of excellent extras.

Re-entry

Easily one of the best – if not the best – films of 2013, if you only watched one movie at the cinema last year, it should have been this (and you were given every opportunity, with its Oscar-run-up-fuelled return to the cinemas earlier this year). If you ignored the recommendation, then now’s the time to fix that mistake, and Warner’s UK Region Free 3D Blu-ray release is just about as good as it gets outside of the theatre, with outstanding 3D and 2D presentations, exceptional audio, and a comprehensive selection of extras.

The year’s barely begun and yet Gravity has already earned a top spot amidst 2014's best Blu-ray releases.

The Rundown

Movie

10

Picture Quality

10

Sound Quality

10

Extras

9

Overall

10

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    1. sea surfer

      sea surfer Active Member

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    2. bootyman81

      bootyman81 Active Member

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      Most Probably after, there is usually a 4-6 month lead time from theatrical to Home formats
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    3. Jim Di Griz

      Jim Di Griz Active Member

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      Not an exclusive don't forget. So probably not that limited.
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    4. RedDevil85

      RedDevil85 Active Member

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    5. jammyone

      jammyone Active Member

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      Amaray 3D Gravity available to preorder on Amazon for £15.50
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    6. mortal

      mortal Member

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      DVDworldusa listing it as 14th January
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    7. Chevyonfuel

      Chevyonfuel Member

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      Good spot, thank you Sir. Pre-ordered :thumbsup:
    8. rapta

      rapta Member

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      UK release date...I'm guessing March. I pre-ordered the 2D amaray but will get an exclusive/better version of the 2D if one becomes available (i.e. a steelbook/bonus disc version).
    9. Garrett

      Garrett Moderator

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      No mention of a 2D being in it. Like to get both versions as Id like to see what the fuss is about the 3D but if it gave me motion sickness would like a 2D being in as a back up.
    10. bootyman81

      bootyman81 Active Member

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      I've pre ordered the 3D copy from DVDworldusa only 5 weeks to release. Usually I get things way in advance of release dates from them but I think with the time of year, they'll be arriving around the normal release date
    11. tfboy

      tfboy Member

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      Zavvi now says 31st December :) 2014 :(
    12. hippo99

      hippo99 Active Member

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      :facepalm::facepalm::facepalm:

      It's called a placeholder
      placeholder - Wiktionary
      ;)
    13. tfboy

      tfboy Member

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      I know what a placeholder is, just didn't know they use it. Learn something every day... Thanks
    14. hippo99

      hippo99 Active Member

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      As the UK theatrical release was about a month after everyone else, I reckon it'll be released over here end Feb/early March 2014.

      Edit: Down as 26 Feb on Amazon.fr, so probably March for UK.
      Amazon.fr : gravity blu - DVD & Blu-ray
    15. djpaulc247

      djpaulc247 Active Member

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      Is that release date right? 14th Jan? That's quick! I may have to order that as I really can't wait for the blu on this one. £30 is a bit steep though!
    16. bootyman81

      bootyman81 Active Member

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      To be honest that could change, I don't know if that is the official release date, but remember it did come out in September in the US which would make January release date 4 months from theatrical release which is quite common. Dvdworldusa usually ship way before release date anyways & £30 is the going rate for a new 3D title from them.
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    17. djpaulc247

      djpaulc247 Active Member

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      Ok thanks, am really tempted and £30 is one of the only titles, if not THE only, that I could justify that cost for from this years releases
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    18. sea surfer

      sea surfer Active Member

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      Will anyone be buying into a 3D display just for this release?

      I'm trying to source the best bang for buck, budget 3D PJ just for this release. Watched it with the family on Imax 3D and we left the theatre gob smacked, roll on the 14th :smashin:
    19. Jim Di Griz

      Jim Di Griz Active Member

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      Glad I got a 3D tv earlier this year. I was a 3D sceptic beforehand but not now!
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    20. mikemag

      mikemag Member

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      Dvdworldusa have now changed the release date to February 4th :(
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    21. bootyman81

      bootyman81 Active Member

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      I had a feeling that might happen!
      It's also gone up in price by £2
      I preordered at £28, will keep the order for now & see when 'n' where else it's being released and also in which type of packaging...steelbook, digibook, fancy ltd edt box set etc.
    22. djpaulc247

      djpaulc247 Active Member

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      This is now showing a release date of 25th Feb on dvdworld
    23. monindersahota

      monindersahota Member

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      Isn't Gravity listed as a December 2014 release in UK ?
      I know it's out in Germany in February on a 3D Steelbook.
    24. djpaulc247

      djpaulc247 Active Member

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      I think that's just to give it a date but can't see it actually being that late, that would be over a year since cinema release
    25. Jenn454SS

      Jenn454SS New Member

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      Getting 3D projectorvin the near future. Is gravity that good in 3D to make it worth it?
    26. YitEarp

      YitEarp Well-Known Member

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      Hope its early feb. Gutted I missed it in IMAX have pre ordered the steel book along with captain Philips. Looking forward to watching gravity just for the 3D as avatar impressed me on my tv. Never watched any other 3D movies as I tend to see what type of camera it's been filmed on first. Gravity will be beautiful.
    27. QuestShield

      QuestShield Active Member

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      It's that good that you'd be inclined to get the projector the primary purpose of watching Gravity in all it's glory.
    28. Jenn454SS

      Jenn454SS New Member

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      Well now I'm feeling a bit bummed I missed it in theaters. I was already so glad I saw avatar 3D in theaters. Hoping they rerelease it in imax and will push husband on getting projector lol.
    29. hippo99

      hippo99 Active Member

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      If you're in/near London the BFI IMAX (biggest screen in the country) are still showing it. Was absolutely brilliant when I saw it on that screen :smashin:
    30. MovieFan60

      MovieFan60 Member

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      Tesco has the UK edition listed for release on 17th March.

      **UPDATE** Now brought forward to 3rd March!
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      Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  • Production

    Type Blu-ray
    Studio Warner Bros.
    Region FREE
    Country UK
    Certificate 12
    Number of Discs 2
    Retail Price £26.99
    Running Time 91 Minutes
    Release Date 03-03-2014

    Picture

    Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
    3D Yes

    Sound

    Sound Options English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French, Italian Spanish, German, Italian, English Audio Descriptive Service Dolby Digital 5.1
    Subtitles English, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish
    Extras Documentary
    Visual FX Breakdowns
    Short Film
    Featurette
  • Gravity is the fastest selling 3D Blu-ray title ever

    by Steve Withers

    Hot off the back of winning seven Academy Academy Awards, Alfonso Cuaron's space thriller sets a new 3D Blu-ray sales record.

    Mar 5, 2014

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