When you’re in the business of spending your days writing about projects both exciting and worrisome, it’s easy to get a little blase about the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love science fiction, and I root for even the projects that don’t interest me to pleasantly surprise and become something awesome. But when you’ve written two dozen articles about the same project over the course of a couple of years, it sometimes gets hard to find anything else to say. In the case of the above trailer for Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity — bearing the deceptively calm title of “Detached” — I have that problem for an entirely different reason. Namely that I’m too busy gaping at my screen and trying to scrape my jaw up off the keyboard.
Cuarón is the dude who gave us the underrated science fiction classic Children of Men, so there was no question that Gravity had the potential to be amazing. If you ask people about Children of Men, one of the first things they’ll most likely start raving about are the film’s stunning single-shot sequences. The latest trailer for Gravity proves that, not only has Cuarón still got it, he’s outdone himself, courtesy of an intense, dizzying sequence that reminds us just how perilous it can be when we decide to venture beyond the haven of our planet’s surface. At this rate I may not be able to make it through Cuarón’s next movie without an actual heart attack.
Gravity stars Clooney and Bullock as a pair of astronauts on what should be a routine spacewalk (you can tell it’s science fiction because they still have a Shuttle program…). For Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock), it’s her first shuttle mission; for astronaut Matt Kowalsky, it’s his last. Unfortunately, the word “last” may prove true in several unfortunate ways, because a run-in with hurtling space debris leaves them stranded above our little blue marble with limited air and no way to communicate with mission control back on the surface. This probably doesn’t bode well for their chances, but at least if they’ve got to die, they’ve got one hell of a view.
I was certainly excited about Gravity before this trailer, but for some reason the earlier trailer didn’t thrill me quite as much as this one. That’s no insult, however, because this trailer is one of the best things I’ve seen all year, and if the full film can live up to these two minutes, expect Gravity to be on a lot of “year’s best” lists in a few months (including mine). At the very least, it looks like Cuarón has raised the bar when it comes to convincing portrayals of microgravity, following in the footsteps of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Ron Howard’s Apollo 13. And then setting those footsteps on fire.
I do have to say, though: if you have a tendency to suffer from motion sickness, this may not be the movie for you.
Gravity, which Cuarón co-wrote with his son Jonás, will open in theaters on October 4.