GRAVITY was released to BLU RAY and DVD last week and I have been receiving all sorts of feedback about it. One of the more common responses has been that it was completely underwhelming, overrated and overhyped. Dealing with these reactions in a rental home-viewing environment is tricky because they are right, of course. Watching GRAVITY in the comfort of your home is not going to serve the film well at all and if anyone remembers my review they will recall me suggesting that I wont even bother watching it at home. What compounded my frustration today was a customer complaining that GRAVITY was disappointing, having watched it on DVD. When people bring this sort of feedback to me I suggest that they wait for IMAX to show it again because the film is an EXPERIENCE as opposed to entertainment. Having seen it on IMAX myself I can't even comprehend watching it on a regular cinema screen (though I have been reassured that it remains effective) and furthermore it seems pointless to me watching it in 2D. The 3D was so overwhelming and consuming that I spent most of the film with my jaw on the floor. Watching GRAVITY at home is the equivalent to watching a school production through the viewfinder of a cam-corder. There is no comparison and if you didn't make the effort to see it on the big screen then I'm afraid that is your loss.
In today's internet age of streaming, illegal download and video on demand the cinemas are at a constant struggle with all of the alternatives. We are losing touch with the cinema culture as people adapt their lounge rooms into home theatres and others even watch the latest blockbusters on their fucking iPhones. I'm a traditionalist and a purist when it comes to film and I reject gadgets as a delivery service... but I'm not in denial and I do understand that we live in a progressive time... ha. The word progressive seems ironic to me when people are watching TRANSFORMERS on a 2 inch screen. So maybe films like GRAVITY are the key to dragging people out of their homes and into cinemas. Maybe we need more "Event" movies that rely on one preferred medium. The key is keeping the content fresh, intelligent and original. We don't want to see a heap of GRAVITY knock-off movies, but rather films that rely on scope and seem worthless on a smaller screen. The technology is better than ever with 3D becoming the norm, as opposed to a gimmick and yet people's expectations are becoming unreasonable.
I move in cinematic circles. I attend film festivals and socialise with likeminded people. To us the cinemas are an important part of our life, however, we are a niche. The average Joe takes cinema for granted and expects big bigger and BIGGEST when it comes to movies. PACIFIC RIM, MAN OF STEEL and THE AVENGERS dominate most people's repertoires and yet more and more people are viewing these for the first time at home (illegally, but that's another conversation). So what the hell is it going to take to drag them away and into cinemas? It must be something that they can't any other way. Something so impressive that their attitudes to a movie-going culture are changed. GRAVITY is the first film in a long that that had this effect and so long as we can maintain the quality, we need more like it.
Oh and the cinema chains could reduce the cost of their... um... EVERYTHING for fuck sake!