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Can George Clooney save 3-D?

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in "Gravity."

There's a little irony to add to government shutdown and film premiere news today. Though NASA has furloughed 97 percent of its workforce, "Gravity," a 3-D space film with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney comes out this week.

Wesley Morris, Grantland's film writer, hopes the use of 3-D won't re-inspire its use throughout cinema. 

"This should be a really good example of a movie that should make other people say, 'We shouldn't bother if there's no reason for it,'" Morris says. "I think if you can find a way [to use 3-D] that's not just throwing things into your face for two hours, or do that horrible thing ... where they shoot the movie in standard definition and retro-fit it in 3-D, so it looks terrible."

But overall, Morris thinks the film was a "complete moviegoing experience." 

"From a physics standpoint, it is apparently very good and very plausible ... but for me, as a moviegoing experience," he says, "this is a very good directing performance by Alfonso Cuarón."

One thing director Alfonso Cuarón has said is that "Gravity" can't be viewed like a normal movie. Morris thinks that has to do with the film's submersive experience. 

"He hasn't made a movie in seven years. The last time he made a movie, we weren't watching them on our phones," Morris adds. "He made a movie that is virtually phone-proof, in that it helps to be sensorally overwhelmed by the 3-D, by the sound design, by the visual effects."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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