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To 3D Or Not To 3D: Buy The Right Gravity Ticket

Since it premiered at the Venice Film Festival in late August, Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity has become the most buzzed about movie in the industry. Critics, including our own Katey Rich and Sean O’Connell have praised its stunning cinematography, awesome performances, and amazing direction. But how does the 3D stack up amongst the film’s laundry list of positives?

The festival hit will be coming to a theater near you this weekend, but that also means that you will be forced to choose whether or not to pay an extra few dollars to see the movie with an extra dimension. To 3D or not to 3D? Read on to find out!

Does 3D Fit?

The best scores in this category are generally reserved for animated movies and blockbuster action films, but Gravity gets big points for just being a big screen spectacle. Movies with fully CGI environments, like James Cameron’s Avatar, often work well with 3D because the background can be manipulated for the stereographer instead of it needing to be vice versa, and that is certainly the case here as well (despite what you may think after seeing the film, Cuaron did not fly to space to get it made). This is a hand-in-glove fit.

Fit Score: 5/5

Planning & Effort?

We first started hearing about Gravity all the way back in early 2010, which many of you will remember as the time when Avatar completely blew up at the box office and made 3D the new “it” thing in Hollywood. The film was introduced into the industry as the big new 3D film from Alfonso Cuaron and built up plenty of buzz in doing so. The director was thinking about the movie in the multi-dimensional format with every shot, and it shows.

Planning & Effort Score: 5/5

Before the Window?

Thanks to blockbuster genre films that use 3D as a gimmick, throwing things into the audience either for a laugh or a scare, it’s common for classier 3D films to ignore this part of the viewing experience in favor of simply creating deep, immersive environments, but Cuaron fully utilizes every aspect of the technology with Gravity. Whether it’s a floating screw that slips out of someone’s hand, a strap that someone needs to hold on to for dear life, or a tear, the director makes a habit throughout the entire film of extending out into the movie theater.

Before the Window Score: 5/5

Beyond the Window

While stars may appear as though they are floating just outside of our atmosphere, the truth is that outer space is just that: space. One would think this would hamper the ability for a movie about floating astronauts to properly utilize 3D, but Cuaron does it almost magically. Not only does the movie make you feel like you are sitting next to Sandra Bullock whenever she enters a shuttle, the sense of depth and emptiness that surround the astronauts like a void while they float out in space is damn near miraculous.

Beyond the Window Score: 5/5


? This is a category that will always vary from theater to theater, as some places purposely dim the projector bulbs to try and make them last longer, but under ideal conditions Gravity had no problem competing against the lenses of 3D glasses. Despite the fact that most of the film is set in the darkness of outer space, the astronauts always seem to be in the perfect line with the sun that allows the screen to fill with light. Things get a bit darker during the interior shots, but it never hampers the 3D or the look of the film as a whole.

Brightness Score: 5/5

The Glasses Off Test

Taking off your glasses in the middle of a 3D movie is a way to see all of the layers of depth that the stereoscopic effect is using, and with Gravity the results of the test are impressive. Even the aforementioned shots that feature nothing more than an astronaut and a dark, starry backdrop are surprisingly blurry. As hard as it was to watch the scenes out in space, it was even harder to watch those set inside space stations or shuttles, as the screen would become unwatchable without the glasses. The best part is we did it so you don't have to-- don't dare take off your glasses and miss a moment of this 3D. Rest assured, the effect is there.

Glasses Off Score: 5/5

Audience Health?

It’s possible that members of the audiences with general motion sickness issues may have some trouble with Gravity, as there are multiple sequences that have the camera simply spinning through space, but those afraid of the 3D affecting their health have nothing to worry about. This is a somewhat subjective category, but I walked out of the film feeling fine.

Audience Health Score: 5/5

3D Fit5
Before The Window5
Beyond The Window5
The Glasses Off Test5
Audience Health5
Total Score35 (out of a possible 35)

Final Verdict: A score like 35/35 isn’t merely us suggesting that you should go see Gravity in 3D, but that you absolutely must see it in 3D. Since we’ve started publishing these To 3D or Not To 3D reviews, which goes back to 2010, only three other movies (Legend of the Guardians, Hugo, Oz The Great And Powerful) have gotten perfect scores, which puts Cuaron in a special class. Not only is Gravity a film you need to see just to witness phenomenal filmmaking, it’s a film that demands to be seen in 3D

Click to visit our full To 3D Or Not To 3D Archive.

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Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.