Alfonso Cuaron screens terrifying Gravity footage at Comic-Con and blows us away

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Jul 20, 2013, 9:09 PM EDT

If the footage we saw today in Hall H is anything to go by, Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity is going to be one of the most immersive experiences ever put on film.

The film stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, who are stranded in space above the Earth after a disastrous accident destroys their spacecraft.

It took Cuaron, who last directed the brilliant Children of Men, five years to craft the film, for which groundbreaking new camera equipment was developed to create the illusion of the two stars floating gravity-free in space.

And not just floating. In the footage displayed, the ship is violently torn to pieces by debris from a destroyed satellite, with Bullock and Clooney buffeted helplessly through the wreckage until Bullock is finally flung free -- into open space. And this is all done in one take.

Striving for scientific accuracy, Cuaron does not employ sound effects in these sequences, since there is no sound in the vacuum of space (he does use music, however).

The footage is frightening, intense and also oddly beautiful -- exactly how one might describe the vastness of space.

Cuaron is joined on the panel by producer David Heyman and Bullock herself, making her Comic-Con debut (although her sister and brother-in-law apparently had their first date at the show years ago).

Bullock spoke about getting in shape for the film and doing extensive training, since she would be suspended by 12 wires for up to nine hours a day. She noted that she "wanted to make myself as androgynous as possible" because her character has suffered a tragedy in the past and has tried to move past it.

Asked if the studio had suggested making the film via easier methods, Cuaron said, "There was always the suggestion, but that's not fun." He also said that making the film was not difficult for him, "but for everyone around me."

Based on the stunning sample we saw, it looks like that five years of hard work is going to pay off. Gravity launches into theaters on Oct. 4.