I felt much less than my preferred sense of anticipation going into this movie. Generally speaking I'm not a big fan of either lead here (though I have enjoyed a good few Clooney flicks on DVD/TV of late) and don't know enough of director Cuaron's work to arouse my excitement. That being said, post-Gravity experience, I have made the effort to attain more information and note his involvement in various projects that I thoroughly enjoyed (Pans Labyrinth, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Children Of Men & Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban) in his relatively modest body of work.
It should also be mentioned from the outset that Gravity will not appeal to all and certainly not those anti-Hollywood-Blockbuster-cinema-goers, for despite Cuaron's perceived mainstream anonymity, this is a big budget, talk-of-awards blockbuster with two big Hollywood stars at its epicentre. BUT... if you are a lover of cinema; a lover of leaving the house, travelling, sitting in large foam-backed seats, with arm rests for oversized soda drinks, big paper bags of popped corn, huge screens, loud noises and sharing the experience in an unspoken manner with a large group of strangers, then this film is a must see. It shouldn't be approached only as a movie, but as an experience.
For all its great work and attention to detail, Gravity is not without fault (what movie is?) and in true sci-fi style it takes elements of what we know (or could find out) to be true and with use of artistic license, manipulates the laws of physics and likelihood to maintain the ebb and flow of the plot. (See: http://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2013/10/17/what-does-a-real-astronaut-think-of-gravity/ for an informative response to the reality of space walks)
Without going into too deep a monologue about humanity and its lack of definitive knowledge on 'all things' and self-righteous position to incorrectly declare something 'impossible' or not, this, like others in the sci-fi genre is a work for the purpose of entertainment and it was the decision of the vast team that made it, to pay attention to certain details and make things as plausible (or not) as they saw fit, for their creation to work; and as stated by former astronaut Garrett Reisman, should be treated as such.
Gravity is, in a manner of speaking, a disaster thriller, with a tiny cast, little dialogue and arguably the most superb special effects and use of 3D-IMAX technology to date. It is a hugely immersive experience with the camera work swapping between POV of Dr. Ryan Stone and its smoothly oscillating third person view of the action, mimicking the gravity-less motion of an object in space. There is never a still moment; barely time to catch breath and an unerring sense of inclusion in what translates as a simply terrifying occurrence. Unlike other big sci-fi flicks, the temptation to deviate is avoided. You don't once see a cut to 'Houston on the ground' nor a wide panning shot of machinery exploding or vaporising in the void. At the heart of the 'disaster' aspect is a very basic premise: a chain reaction of debris is hurtling at unimaginable speeds round the orbit of the Earth and threatens to destroy anything in its path. In another film, this could easily be treated as a less significant event in a greater, more complex plot line (imagine an entire episode of the Star Wars saga based around one woman's struggle to survive when the Death Star is destroyed) but Cuaron makes it the focus; and rightly so.
You might be one of those cinema goers that enjoys a final twist at the very end, such as when an Alien hybrid bursts from the chest of one of the Predators in AVP, or the moment of realisation in Seven Pounds when you learn the final part of Will Smith's plan for redemption, but this movie will disappoint in that department. I would be lying if I stated I wasn't sat prepared for one last twist in the final moments after Bullock flirts with death once or twice more before hauling herself from the bank of an Amazon-esq river bank; but no disappointment. Just the chance to exhale.
Boldly, I would say that this is the best piece of cinema I have seen this year, not for its performances, script or complexity, but as a cinematic experience that will probably be unrivalled for some time to come. Highly recommended here and goes some way to providing evidence that 3D movies can work if dealt with correctly.