New featurette released for Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity, which opens next week!

A lot of movies these days use 3D as an easy novelty that jacks up ticket prices. A new featurette for Gravity assures us that Alfonso Cuaron's latest is the other kind of contemporary 3D feature.

You know, the altogether rarer kind of 3D movie, the kind that uses the extra dimension to more effectively tell the story and sell the jeopardy faced by the characters.

In Gravity, there are only two onscreen characters, Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalsky, played respectively by Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Stone, a medical engineer, is on his first NASA mission into Earth's orbit, while seasoned astronaut Kowalsky is taking his last shuttle trip before retiring from the space exploration game. They duo are conducting ordinary repairs during a spacewalk when debris from a damaged satellite leaves them scrambling to survive against the infinity of space as their oxygen supply dwindles.

Cuaron has delivered a space adventure that communicates the nauseating physics of zero gravity and the primal scariness of space. Essential to Gravity's evocation of the void is 3D. "From the minute you start watching this film, you can't breathe," says Bullock in the featurette. "We're in zero gravity, so you have this weird slow motion, you can't control things as things are ripping by you. So with that 3D aspect of it, it's as though you're in the same peril they are."

It's difficult to convey the immersive qualities of 3D via a tiny 2D window on your computer, but this featurette does a solid job of suggesting the possibilities presented by Gravity's added dimension.

Cuaron co-wrote the screenplay with his son, Jonas Cuaron.

The Mexican helmer hasn't directed a feature since 2006's masterful Children of Men, largely because he has spent the last several years attempting to get Gravity off the ground. During that time, a long list of big-name actresses were approach for or associated with the role of Ryan Stone, including Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Marion Cotillard. Interestingly, Robert Downey Jr. was set to play Kowalsky for a time, as well.

Back on topic. Gravity earned some pretty effusive praise at the Toronto International Film Festival, and we'll soon have the opportunity to see why. The film hits in 2D, 3D, and even IMAX 3D on October 4th.

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I keep checking for showtimes in my town for next week and all I get are 7 PM screenings of Kirk Cameron's Unstoppable. :'(

Also, I know that ONTD has predictably started to turn against this movie because of the hype, but critics are still loving it and I've yet to be disappointed by Cuarón. By the way, for those other Cuarón stans out there: read this super long but amazingly insightful profile. Keep snatching them wigs, padre Charolastra