Cloud Atlas: A Review
Running at a solid 2 hours and 51 minuets Cloud Atlas it about our actions and how they affect the past, present and future and how through time love remains a constant and pushes people to be better. Or something like that.
The official synopsis of the film according the the http://Cloudatlas.warnerbros/about.php states:
“CLOUD ATLAS” EXPLORES HOW THE ACTIONS AND CONSEQUENCES OF INDIVIDUAL LIVES IMPACT ONE ANOTHER THROUGHOUT THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE.
ACTION, MYSTERY AND ROMANCE WEAVE DRAMATICALLY THROUGH THE STORY AS ONE SOUL IS SHAPED FROM A KILLER INTO A HERO, AND A SINGLE ACT OF KINDNESS RIPPLES ACROSS CENTURIES TO INSPIRE
A REVOLUTION IN THE DISTANT FUTURE
I consider myself to be a pretty smart guy. I can follow very complex plots and dissect deep philosophical, metaphorical, theological, and sociological ideas within films/books/tv/poetry. But if I were to lay out to you the plot of this story I would literally be re-writing the book that this film is based on. So to simplify is as much as I can: there are multiple story lines which start from the what appears to be the late 1800’s and presses on through to present day and then there are several story lines which take place in a very distant future. We then follow these multiple stories in between each other as they all reach their individual climax. Therefore by the end you are left thinking: okay there was some stuff on a ship, then there was some stuff that happened in the 1920’s or 30’s, then some other stuff happened in the 1970’s, some more stuff happened in modern day, then some stuff happened in the year 2144, oh and then other stuff happened some time after that year, and then some more stuff after that other year. The Asian girl is good, Hugo Weaving is bad, Tom Hanks is every other character, Jim Broadbent is mental and the bad guys win but the message of hope and love presses on and it took about 3000 years for someone like Tom Hanks to get with someone like Halle Berry.
It’s not the worst film in the world. There are other films out there that are very very bad. This one is just very bad. See it’s missing a “very”. I can say that you do get some good performances from Hanks, Weaving, and Broadbent, and Whishaw. Others like Hugh Grant and Susan Sarandon weren’t on screen long enough to care about them and everyone else was just there. Some of the visuals were done very well. Others were horrible green screens that pulled me right out of the film with others were very poor prosthetics that were painfully distracting.
At first I did find it intriguing that all the actors were playing somewhat different versions of themselves throughout time and space. I found myself, at first, engaging with the story lines set within what has been our reality, the 1800s – 2000s. The stories beyond that I found very difficult to engage with or take seriously. With Tom Hanks being haunted by a New Orleans-ish, Zombiefied, Witch Doctor, inspired Hugo Weaving
while also being seeing Hugh Grant in a sort of Orc-like/Batman Forever inspired villain getup
topped with a future with a hot asian fetish
and Jim Sturgess’ horrible prosthetics
I just wanted very badly to get out of those worlds. So what was intriguing at first with actors playing various counterparts soon became annoying and then boring when you realised after about a hour of film that none of these counterparts actually connect other than metaphysically. I honestly felt exhausted by the end. I thought at least we’d get a decent explanation as to why all the main characters had a comet shaped birthmark and that this mystical connection would be explained through that. Nope. Didn’t happen.
All trending themes relied on the idea that ‘Our lives are not our own,’ and well I pretty much felt like my own life was not my own when I watched this film. I can only hope that the actions of the past the pushed me to this present will only effect positively on the universe to come and that we won’t be succumb to such poorly executed stories again.
I’ve heard it said that Cloud Atlas, the book, is not filmable. To anyone who said that, I would agree. But also to anyone who complained that The Hobbit was either boring or too long a film, sit through Cloud Atlas, you’ll quickly change your mind.