Go see it. No spoilers in this
Alfonso Cuarón did a fantastic job with the movie, which must have required a staggering amount of scene blocking to mesh the CGI, lighting, and live action together. (Apparently, they had to design a large lightbox set to get the lighting correct.) The sound design is superb and uses a combination of silence, transmitted sound (you are hearing things as the characters would, transmitted through touch, and the use of musical queues (particularly heartbeat like percussion.)
There’s a few inaccuracies for the people that have to piss on everything they see — yes, the shuttle’s no longer flying; yes, the debris comes from an odd direction and shuttle activity and comms satellites are at different altitudes. If you’re thinking about that stuff, either go home or start watching the movie. You know, the part with the characters in it. I stop noticing any of this about 10 minutes in when the action starts. The pace is well done, with moments of near panic broken by interludes of character development.
The visuals are stunning and the 3D — which I abhor — was used properly, to create depth of field. It’s probably the most effective use of the technology since Avatar. There’s a moment when Bullock’s character, Dr. Stone, opined, “I hate space.” I had the exact opposite response — the beauty of the setting makes me want to go up even more.
Speaking of Bullock: The movie hinges on her performance. She’s the only one on screen for 90% of the movie, and she’s superb in the role. They didn’t pretty her up, and the character’s backstory is tragic without being too saccharine. The sense of hopelessness and loneliness she evokes was grand.
Style: 5 out of 5. Substance: 4 out of 5 — it’s a straight out action survival pic, but there’s a lot of nice touches that boost it from 3 to 4 for me…mostly due to Bullock’s performance.
It’s a must see and even worth the full price for 3D.