Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies.
When my wife and I see a new movie trailer, either in the theater or at home, we almost always look at each other afterwards to get an sense of each other’s quick reaction to the trailer. Usually they’re in sync, as we typically like the same sorts of films. “Stupid” comedies get an eye roll, horror films usually get a sarcastic yes followed by a determined no, big, loud action movies typically get an indulgent smile and a shake of the head, while many others get a noncommittal shrug or head bob indicating that we need to see more before deciding. Even when we don’t agree, we usually know what reaction the other one will have before we look, so I wasn’t surprised to see her emphatic no following the first trailer we saw for Gravity. Take a look at the latest one below, and read on for my comments:
My wife doesn’t like elevators due to their combination of heights and enclosed spaces, so there was no way she would want to see Gravity. But regardless of your degree of claustrophobia and acrophobia, this is one seriously intense trailer. It grabs ahold of that “Holy Shit!” emotional reaction that so few trailers manage to capture. (Another one that managed that was the trailer for Cloverfield which was considerably better than the film itself, something I hope will not be true for Gravity.)
There’s very little story to be gleaned from this trailer, though I imagine that’s intentional as early word on the film gives the impression that there’s not a lot of traditional story in the movie. The trailer opens with the following lines:
AT 372 MILES ABOVE THE EARTH
THERE IS NOTHING TO CARRY SOUND
NO AIR PRESSURE
LIFE IN SPACE IS IMPOSSIBLE
I would say that probably sums up the premise of Gravity nicely. Our first image is of Sandra Bullock spinning away from a damaged space shuttle while attached to the shuttle’s mechanical arm. In typical Alfonso Cuaron, the camera goes from wide shots of the action to tight shots on Bullock as she tries to detach herself from the arm, while George Clooney tries to help her over radio. The trailer really captures how desperate a situation like that would be. In many ways it’s the opposite of Apollo 13, which focused on the human element and the drama of those 3 men and the entire crew on the ground that fought to bring them home. Gravity is all about isolation and desperation with little shown in the way of interpersonal drama. We get a bit of Bullock’s character’s backstory when she tells us and George Clooney that she has a daughter, but most of the trailer’s focus is on the terrifying reality of what it would be like to be stranded in space.
The action and effects look amazing, as does the sound design which has a realism rarely seen onscreen. Bullock’s panicked breathing is far more scary than the sound of crashing satellites and space stations could ever be. It’s nice to think that we’ve advanced in awareness to the point where people don’t have to point out that there’s no sound in space, but the opening message of the trailer seems to think otherwise. (I can already hear the people complaining that the movie didn’t have the sounds of explosions and wrenching metal during the crash sequences.)
Cuaron has made some spectacular films (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien), but hasn’t directed anything since 2006. This film seems to have everyone talking, and will probably catapult him back into the spotlight. As for Clooney and Bullock, they’re both near the top of their game, and working on a film like this is exactly the sort of atypical film choice I like to see superstars making. The rave reviews it’s already getting seem to show that the film will pull off the promise of the trailer, but you never know for sure how you as an individual will react to the final product. But I’m definitely intrigued by Gravity, even if I have to end up seeing it alone.
What do you think? Am I the only one who discovered I was holding my breath when the trailer ended? BeforeGravity, what was the most intense trailer you’ve seen in recent years? Are you excited about Gravity? Let me know in the comments!