Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter shared this new Gravity featurette. It’s the second piece of smart marketing/art (smartketing?) from the team behind the smash hit. The release feels like a sales push and a bit of Oscar campaigning all in one. Usually these featurettes are DVD bonuses, but this one tells us: Gravity is important; Gravity is serious; go see Gravity on Christmas day, if it’s still playing near you.
All that aside, it’s got some fascinating behind-the-scenes interviews about the script, the effects, and Sandra Bullock’s preparation for the role. And the enthusiasm of the cast and crew is both endearing and exciting—Gravity was absolutely an exciting movie, but I was over it. I’m not so over it anymore.
Back in November, Jonas Cuaron, Gravity co-writer and director Alfonso Cuaron’s son, released a companion short, Aningaaq. The seven minute film is the opposite number to one of Gravity’s most important scenes: Ryan manages to call out from the spacecraft she’s holed up in and actually raise someone from earth, but is disappointed to learn that the non-English speaker she reaches can’t help her. Ryan breaks down, howling with the dogs she hears in the background of the call. But eventually, she pulls herself together.
Aningaaq introduces us to her rescuer (of a kind), an Inuit fisherman in Greenland, who’s weathering punishing conditions and personal tragedy of his own.
As affecting as Gravity and Aningaaq both are, Ryan’s newfound resolution to continue fighting to survive, which comes soon after this phone call, contained shades of The Blind Side‘s come to Jesus melodrama—unworthy of an otherwise pitch perfect film. And Aningaaq had me worried it was going to hit the same sour note. Thankfully its drama wraps up abruptly. Aningaaq doesn’t have time to emote. Like Gravity, Aningaaq‘s strength is in the simultaneous beauty and threat of its setting, and the matter of fact plainness of the script and performances.
There’s talk, now, of some sort of double-Oscar crossover extravaganza, but that seems unlikely. But who knows, the Oscars might go for the potential of the narrative: father-son Oscars, how precious. Best of luck Cuarons.