AVS Forum banner
1 - 20 of 215 Posts

· Blu-ray Reviewer
15,923 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )



Audio/3D Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Warner - 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 91 minutes
Genre: Thriller/Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC/MVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris
Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron
Music by: Steven Price
Written by: Alfonso Cuaron & Jonas Cuaron
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 25, 2014
"Don’t let go"

Film Synopsis:

GRAVITY, directed by Oscar nominee Alfonso Cuaron, stars Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in a heart-pounding thriller that pulls you into the infinite and unforgiving realm of deep space. Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney). But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes.

My Take:

Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission with veteran astronaut and mission commander Matt Kowalsky, who is on his final mission. While the crew is on a routine spacewalk involving making much needed modifications to an orbiting satellite, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone - tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.

I had every intention of getting to the theater to see Gravity but it seemed like every time it came up there was something that diverted the effort. The fact that my wife isn’t an especially big fan of Sandra Bullock didn’t help but I digress. Truth be told I very much looked forward to experiencing it for the first time in the familiar surroundings of my home theater.

Wow. Gravity is all that I hoped it would be and speaks to the human condition from a place that most can’t embrace from a literal standpoint. Luckily the film isn’t designed to be taken from a literal perspective per se, but instead engages in a metaphorical tone built around overcoming adversity. Gravity is a very intimate film with an emotional center that follows a woman who has known extreme loss and has thrown herself into her work which has landed her a job with NASA and ultimately on a space mission. Unbeknownst to her the events that transpire will bring her to the precipice and force her to reexamine what is most precious, the will to live.

This is a powerful and at times gripping film experience that an escalating level of suspense that subtly builds. At times I found myself holding onto the arms of the chair as the sort of roller coaster series of events unfold. At 90 minutes the pacing is tight and spot on as there is no real feeling of wasted time or unnecessary plot offshoots. The story’s primary focus is seen from Ryan’s point of view although the character of Matt despite his lesser role is an integral component in the narrative’s context. Sandra Bullock devoted herself to this role and carries the film with aplomb. I loved her performance which in my opinion is worthy of the praise she has garnered.

From a creative and production standpoint Gravity is a marvel to behold. The execution of the variety of pre and post production work required to bring it to life the way it did comes through with breathtaking results. The cinematography is integral to deriving the most from the conceptual design and is simply outstanding. As I stated earlier, Gravity is all that I hoped it would be and is a terrifically crafted and enacted film that is among the standouts of 2013.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for intense sequences of peril, some disturbing images and brief strong language.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 100

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:

3D Presentation: 96

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Depth (Onscreen):

  • Dimension (Beyond the screen):

  • Realism:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Color reproduction:

Gravity 3D comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p MVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.3 Mbps.

Gravity is one of those high definition presentations that looks as good in 3D as it does in 2D. Shot in 2D high definition with natively incorporated 3D elements detail is preserved as the video retains its high level of clarity with objects, people and backgrounds within the frame appearing delineated and sharp. I was taken in by the depth and realism of the three dimensional imagery. The spacing of objects/characters in the foreground/background is incredibly lifelike which imparts a natural sense of scale as things of various shapes and sizes occupy the virtual world onscreen. I wasn’t drawn out of the film by odd looking proportions or hokey 3D for 3D’s sake. In fact I would say that it was just the opposite.

The cinematography utilizes many near field camera perspectives that enhance proportional correlation. There are a variety of sequences that utilize the 3D platform to reach beyond the borders of the screen and the effects are as good as I have seen. The sequence when Ryan boards the ISS features lots of floating and hurtling debris which had me blinking, bobbing and weaving. There is also a scene (about 25 minutes in or so) where Ryan and Matt are tethered and floating toward the camera. At one point Matt continues forward while the camera doesn’t move and fills up the frame almost seeming to come into the room. Contrast is spot on, blacks are inky with excellent dynamic range and colors are beautifully vibrant and eye catching. I didn’t notice any distracting signs of ghosting/crosstalk. I am not sure what the future holds for active 3D however this presentation fulfills the promise of the format and as a whole is among the finest I have had the pleasure of experiencing on Blu-ray.

There has been some concern regarding the lack of a 7.1 channel lossless track for Gravity on Blu-ray. Let me assure you that I never found that this presentation was lacking in any way with respect to its ability to render an involving and invigorating listening experience. I run a 9.2 channel setup and use DTS Neo:X processing to derive the additional channels. This is how I watched the film during the 3D presentation. Later I watched the film again in 2D and this time turned off the additional processing listening to the 5.1 channel mix. Once again I found myself completely involved in the listening experience.

This is not an aggressive or action style sound mix but its ability to deliver an engaging home theater experience is not to be underestimated. This film uses an intricate sound design that has to maintain a delicate balance so the plethora of sound effects, bass and dialogue within the soundtrack can be clearly and easily interpreted by the audience. The relationship between the characters and the environment is purposeful and near field and proximity switches abound. Dialogue perception can be variable but this is also purposeful and designed to simulate distance/proximity. When this isn’t at play dialogue is articulated and clear. Sound effects are accurately placed within the sound field and establish a tight correlation between the onscreen information and what is being heard within the listening environment. This creates an immersive and involving soundscape that is abundantly rich in detail. Its wide dynamic range can go from subtle, intricate control to room energizing dynamism.

The eclectic music score occasionally takes center stage as it is broadcast over the entire system with high level detail and smooth, strident free treble. Low frequency effects accentuate the music, sound effects and dynamic impact of the audio with aplomb. The effect produces bass response that is demonstrative as it reaches transient levels that rumble deep enough to give the upstairs china a shake. A great example can be felt during the sequences involving the fire on the ISS. This scene puts everything together quite nicely and represents the track’s incredibly nuanced and topical near filed correlation which at times creates an immersive and rich feeling of dimension. All in all it features superlative surround sound coupled with associative bass response that sounds terrific. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

2D Video Quality:

Video: 94

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

Gravity comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps.

Having not seen this film theatrically I had high hopes for this video presentation. I have read of concerns with the quality of the image due to its bitrate and any possible post-production tampering. The film was shot digitally and as such strikes me as appearing somewhat less so, having a bit more texture than I would have expected. I would say that this was indeed done in post and is a stylistic choice which I don’t see as a deleterious issue. First and foremost this is a dark film (as it should be) and its ability to clearly render its elements under those conditions is essential to getting the most out of it. Well you can rest assured that this Blu-ray disc delivers some of the richest, deepest and velvety textured blacks that I have seen.

The abundance of continuous long range shots of space with the earth as a backdrop, look stunning. Images are gradationally adept and three dimensionally rendered so that wide angle perspectives, unevenly lit interiors, and shadow laden environs have a seemingly infinite level of depth. Shadow detail is consistent and is probably as good as I have seen. Images are crisp with resolute definition and refining dimensional perspective. Contrast is well balanced and dynamic which energizes colors, empowers whites/grays and engages blacks. Colors are appreciably delineated with natural rendering and punchy primaries that stand out among those within the varied range used. Save for one or two instances where there appeared to be very minor digital noise visible against a light background (you’d have to look for it to see it) I saw no problems with video related artifacts. The video has a pleasing, filmic quality that coincides nicely with its storyline. This plays hand in hand with the film’s stark visual style and provides an incredibly entertaining experience that looks superb regardless of the size of your display.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1:

  • Gravity 3D Blu-ray

  • Disc 2:

  • Gravity 2D Blu-ray (plus the following bonus features):

  • (HD) Collision point: The race to clean up space (narrated by Ed Harris) – 22 minute documentary

  • (HD) Gravity Mission Control – 106 minute making of documentary broken down into 9 segments that can be viewed separately or via a play all option

  • (HD) Shot Breakdown – Dissects 5 specific sequences from the film (viewable separately or together via a play all option) – 36 minutes

  • (HD) Aningaaq – A 7 minutes short film by Jonas Cuaron with optional filmmaker introduction

  • Bonus DVD

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

I am pleased to report that Gravity is all that I hoped it would be and is a wonderfully crafted film that is deserving of the praise that it has received thus far. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment in both 3D (the subject of this review) and 2D Combo Pack that feature resplendent 3D/2D high definition video, superb DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound and a complimentary assortment of bonus supplements that are well worth exploring. Gravity deserves a place in the video collections of both film and home theater enthusiasts and comes highly recommended. Enjoy!

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector

(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal )

Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System

Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)

Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Gravity (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Combo Pack)

  • Threads: 6
  • Articles: 1
try {
if (typeof embedModuleDisplayOnce == 'undefined' || !embedModuleDisplayOnce) {
embedModuleDisplayOnce = true;
_gaq.push(["_trackEvent", "affiliate-d-embpro-mct-lo-t", "displayed", window.location.pathname, 0, true]);
catch (e) {}

· Registered
1,356 Posts
Another great review Ralph.

One thing you didn't expand on that I would guess will be on everyones mind after reading your review....did your wife watch it with you and if so did she like even with her dislike of Sandra Bullock?
  • Like
Reactions: Ralph Potts

· Blu-ray Reviewer
15,923 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Originally Posted by dan4081  /t/1518003/gravity-3d-blu-ray-official-avsforum-review/0_20#post_24362550

Another great review Ralph.

One thing you didn't expand on that I would guess will be on everyones mind after reading your review....did your wife watch it with you and if so did she like even with her dislike of Sandra Bullock?


Good point Dan. The answer is yes she did...


· Registered
677 Posts
Gravity 3D was a "day one pre-order" for me, so I'm glad that all the negative chatter going on in the other thread was incorrect about it having poor video quality.

Thanks for taking the time to review it for us, Ralph, and I'm glad you enjoyed the film!

· Registered
1,737 Posts
Meh, I didn't like this movie much.

I felt it needed more Lance Armstrong and Matthew McConaughey playing the bongos naked. In space.

· Registered
1,584 Posts
I just watched it again in Imax on Thursday... looking forward to seeing this at home.

I think repeatability might be problematic though, we'll see after watching it a fourth or fifth time.

· Banned
1,806 Posts

Originally Posted by boguspomp  /t/1518003/gravity-3d-blu-ray-official-avsforum-review#post_24362667

Thx for the review.

I believe it is the first time that a 3D BD gets a higher rating than the 2D version.


I noticed that also. Just wondering if stores like Best Buy, Target, etc. are going to have editions with additional features (as is sometimes the case).

· Premium Member
25,110 Posts
Thanks Ralph for your review. Definite pick up for me. Those trolls running around in the other thread saying the movie is garbage due to its video presentation can be put to rest.

· Premium Member
8,419 Posts
I haven't seen a single flick in the Theater is the last 6 months or so.. On Monday will be trying to make to watch this one on an Imax screen. Sounds like I'll love it from this review...

Thanks for the great job Ralph.


· Banned
5,755 Posts
Thanks for the great detail work in your review, Ralph. Your reviews are so clear and understandable.

From performance and pacing to tech work and thoughtful content it seems to me that Gravity will be respected as a classic someday.

I will be getting this film.

vv Edit: yes, one particular physics inaccuracy did trouble me too, in one critical, pivotal moment. Had to just forgive it, move on and get back into the story.

Someone PMed me and said that I had not considered another physics force in the scene that bothered me - perhaps they are right. If so, this is a good realization for me.

· Registered
9,607 Posts
Agree with your assessment Ralph. One of the best technically shot movies I've seen in years. The 17-minute opening cut is simply amazing and if this film doesn't with for best cinematography, then the Academy should have their voting rights taken away. As for the actual movie...the lack of scientific accuracy bothered me a bit, but it was still an enjoyable experience.

· Registered
4,801 Posts
Ralph, thanks for the great review! This is the one I've been waiting, and it looks like it won't disappoint. Really looking forward to this one, although they are not my two favorite actors in the world... or out of it either
1 - 20 of 215 Posts