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Four years ago Cameron's "Avatar" became the highest grossing film of all time and made a huge impact as an experience, a roller coaster ride of a film. Cynicism has had its way with it since but I still think it's a major accomplishment in filmmaking, just as I do "Gravity."
Cuarón's latest is a full-on ride, as immersive an experience as you could hope for in a movie. It puts you right there with Sandra Bullock, having its way with your equilibrium. So it's high praise when a guy like Cameron calls it "the best space film ever done."
That's exactly what the "Avatar" helmer had to say about the film in the latest Variety cover story. "I was stunned, absolutely floored,” he said. “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."
Cameron was most impressed by the "human dimension," he said, and indeed, in a separate piece, he expressed hope that Warner Bros. will sell it as "the human story it is" rather than leaning too hard on its genre aspects. But genre it is, and the ride of this film will get people into the theater. The gravy will be that it has that human touch and reveals a character's emotional journey. That is, after all, what makes a film great.
"Gravity" is definitely in the mix for the Best Picture Oscar at the moment. The question is how long that will sustain. It's just so early. Coming down the pike are other festival films like "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," "Her," "Foxcatcher" and "Saving Mr. Banks," as well as non-festival plays like "American Hustle," "The Book Thief" and "The Monuments Men." There is a potential embarrassment of riches this season and "Gravity" is right at the top of the list, a gripping movie, a meaningful film. It'll be interesting to see how far Warner Bros. can take it.
"Gravity" plays the Toronto Film Festival this weekend. It arrives in theaters on Oct. 4.
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