If Gravity needed a big lift before its highly anticipated release tomorrow, this certainly ought to do it.
Gravity finds the Hollywood stars playing astronauts who become stranded in the blackness of space after a satellite crashes into their shuttle during a space walk.
And by all accounts, thanks to some spectacular photo-realistic effects and virtuoso filmmaking from the director of Children of Men and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, moviegoers are in for one hell of a ride.
Here's what some of the critics are saying:
• "At once the most realistic and beautifully choreographed film ever set in space, Gravity is a thrillingly realized survival story spiked with interludes of breath-catching tension and startling surprise," raved The Hollywood Reporter, who called Gravity "jaw-dropping."
But it doesn't stop there, praising not only the ambitious concept—a survival story about a "man and a woman trying to cope in the most hostile possible environment"—but also giving props to the performers.
"It's a wonderful cinematic jolt to watch this film for the first time, as it looks as if it had been filmed, as it were, on location," the trade wrote, adding, "Clooney supplies both manly reliability and welcome lightness as a guy anyone would want in their corner in a pinch, while Bullock is aces in by far the best film she's ever been in."
• "The director's long-overdue follow-up to Children of Men is at once a nervy experiment in blockbuster minimalism and a film of robust movie-movie thrills, restoring a sense of wonder, terror and possibility to the big screen that should inspire awe among critics and audiences worldwide," exclaimed Variety. "As scripted by Cuarón and his son jonas, this tale of one woman's grim expedition into the unknown is a nerve-shredding suspenser, a daring study in extreme isolation, and one of the most sophisticated and enveloping visions of space travel yet realized onscreen."
• "Gravity…is a brilliantly tense and involving account of two stricken astronauts; a howl in the wilderness that sucks the breath from your lungs," remarked The Guardian.
• "Comparisons to Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Tarkovsky's Solaris and Ang Lee's Life of Pi are inevitable and well-earned, but in fact, Gravity operates as a companion piece to Cuarón's last film, Children of Men...In that film, humanity had suddenly lost the ability to reproduce, and the result was global meltdown. But here, Cuarón is telling a different but related story of terror and mortality and hope," opined The Telegraph which hailed it a sci-fi film of "rare and diamond-hard brilliance."
(Originally published on Aug. 28, 2013 at 9:49 a.m. PDT)