Wow. Just....wow. It is absolutely incredible what you can do with movies nowadays. There is no way anything like this is even attempted just a few years ago. This movie is a technical masterpiece. Not just in its special effects, which makes Inception look like it was done with sock puppets, but also in its sound editing, and, most importantly of all, its cinematography. I have no idea how this movie was shot. Absolutely none. I tried investigating this after I watching, and was left more confused because of it. At one point I was even contemplating the thought that maybe they went up into space to shoot this. Well the answer to that is no. No they did not. I don't like using absolutes, but I will make one here: this is the best depiction of space that has ever been seen in a film. Nothing is even remotely close here.
So I will try to avoid spoilers, but I must talk about the first 15 minutes. Director Alfonso Cuaron is an absolute genius here, (well he is for the whole movie but that's irrelevant) as he does an incredible job using technical aspects of moviemaking to show the vastness of space. He throws almost every rule of cinematography out the window and brings us a single wide shot for 15 minutes. This wide shot expertly and flawlessly takes us back and forth between Clooney, Bullock, Earth, space, the sun, the space shuttle they are around the accident, and everything in between. Man....the accident. This scene left me absolutely breathless. I'm not going to talk about it but man....watching explosions in space is a spectacularly terrifying thing. Another technical marvel were the flawless transitions between 3rd and 1st person views. Actually, there was no transition. It was a single take from 3rd person to 1st person and then back to 3rd person. And this is not an easy thing to do. It's not just CGI here, as sound has to get in on the fun as well. And man...it all comes together so beautifully that I was left sitting in my seat for a solid 5 minutes afterwards just trying to digest what I saw.
The acting is outstanding as well. George Clooney is essentially playing space Danny Ocean, but since I LOVE that character, that is certainly ok for me. And Bullock really holds her own here. There are a couple (like 2) lines from her that feel a little forced but I quickly moved on from them. This is my one and only complaint about this movie. Oh, you know what else was beautiful? The sound editing. Everything about the sound in general. This movie was not just gorgeous to look at, it was gorgeous to listen to as well. There's even a score! And it's a pretty good score too, doing exactly what it needs to do to set up the mood.
Overall, as I said, this movie is a technical masterpiece. I know there are so many movies left to see this Oscar season, but man its going to take a hell of a masterpiece to dethrone this movie as my frontrunner for best picture. The only thing that might hurt it is how early it still is. Ya. Go see it.
The Critique: the best space film ever made. A modern masterpiece that puts on a clinic for how good movies can look in this modern digital age.
The Recommendation: A must-see for anyone, whether you like movies or not.
Where to See It: For the love of God, see it at a movie theater. In IMAX 3D, if you are fortunate enough to have one of those. If not 3D, as this certainly added to the sensation of viewing this.
I'm going to add two things here nestled in between the verdict. One will be here forever (Rewatchability) and one is here just for the Oscar season.
Rewatchability: Very High
The Verdict: 10/10 Perfect
Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Special Effects (easy win...could even beat Avatar if they came out in the same year)