Cloud Atlas Blu-ray Review

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The ambitious and undoubtedly epic adaptation of David Mitchell's equally sprawling 2004 bestselling book marks a return to form for the Wachowski siblings, who haven't been this impressive since the first The Matrix film, and who cleverly chose to collaborate with acclaimed German writer/director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, The International) and split writing and directing duties amidst the three of them.

This is one of those films which you really are better off seeing knowing as little as possible about the story. Thankfully even the trailer doesn't give away too much. Unfortunately, reviews have been somewhat polarising in how to regard this movie, and I don't agree with either extreme - I don't see how this earned a 10-minute standing ovation from a screening in the US and was...


Read the full review...
 
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Drexl

Distinguished Member
Great review as ever Cas

Loved the film - Jim Broadbent is amongst the standouts in this

Hope this finds a wider fan base on blu ray
 

Richard Cypher

Active Member
Awful film

The only half intresting story was the Neo story, and even that got silly and boring

I was very dissapointed in this, right from the beggining scene, just when Keith David spoke for the first time I couldn't stop laughing at how bad this film was

Hugo Weaving dressed up as a woman............oh dear

The script and acting was unbelivable bad, I couldn't stop laughing!! It's a so bad so good film for me
 

lucasisking

Distinguished Member
Just a small point, but shouldn't this say 'half a Millenium'? I thought the stories spanned hundreds of years? Or do you mean each segment covers half a century?

The film tells six tales set across a span of about half a Century, with a small epilogue – set after the final story – bookending the piece. The tales all follow a core group of about a dozen characters, who are, for the most part, unrelated from one to the next, although the events in their lives mirror those that came before them; themes carry throughout the piece; and an overview of what has happened to the world as a whole in the intervening years between the pieces can be gleaned from putting together the pieces of each puzzle
.


I haven't seen it yet but am very keen to regardless of some of the mixed reviews. Mark Kermode (as you mentioned) gave it a thumbs-down but did so in a very positive kind of way- which is enough to get me intrigued.
 

Casimir Harlow

Blu-ray Reviewer
Just a small point, but shouldn't this say 'half a Millenium'? I thought the stories spanned hundreds of years? Or do you mean each segment covers half a century?

.


I haven't seen it yet but am very keen to regardless of some of the mixed reviews. Mark Kermode (as you mentioned) gave it a thumbs-down but did so in a very positive kind of way- which is enough to get me intrigued.
Thanks, nice spot, you're indeed correct.

Yeah Kermode said it was a worthy failure, or something like that. Certainly has flaws, but it also has admirable ambition, and it's defo worth seeing.

Let us know what you think when you do get around to spinning it.

Cas
 

mentasm

Distinguished Member
In one of his recent Kermode Uncut blogs he revisited the film and said that he appreciated it more, although he still considered it a failure. I think it's one of those films that you either connect with or you don't. If you do, you're almost certain to love it, but if not there isn't much in the way of car chases and 'splosions to keep you entertained. It's a bit like Stoker in that respect (as in it seems to divide people). I've seen it a few times now (once theatrically) and I'm looking forward to watching the BD if the one I bought through the classifieds ever turns up...
 

Jim Di Griz

Distinguished Member
My brother's partner pre-ordered this which is very unusual for her (she must be a fan of the book I think) so no doubt I will see it round their place at some point - looking forward to it actually and I'm not going to read any more about it until I do.
 

Mr.D

Distinguished Member
The interlinked ever reoccuring sometimes reedeeming themselves character driven plot is interesting as an idea. However the way its telegraphed and executed varies from non-sensical to trite in the extreme.

Its a very unbalanced film and veers wildly from whimsy to hard thriller and back again. Most of the plot strands I found to be very dull and even the ones that have promise are very crudely executed.

The nuclear conspiracy plot is just unconvincing and feels like a primitive pastiche of some 70s paranoid thriller like the Parallax view. I found all the cast immensely irritating in this particular segment and the studio bound look peppered with some rather unconvincing bluescreen comps didn't help.

The sci-fi elements again are more interesting in their premise than execution and I couldn't help but be left feeling wanting for engagement. The motivation of all the characters in all the segmenst just felt unconvincing to me. I felt I was watching a bunch of actors reciting lines from a script than real people saying things and reacting truthfully based on their experiences and personalities.

It feels like a very badly executed film with a superficial veneer of sophistication and the occasional polish in terms of "BIG" shots from the photography department ...only to be swiftly undone by what looks to me like a studio complex in Hamburg masquerading as some back alley in New York.

Its one of those things that interesting to watch once just because its so odd but I doubt I could sit through it again and get anything out of it beyond the first viewing. I strongly suspect I'd have to skip half of it. And I think its performance on release is one of the most justified things about it; misunderstood and under-appreciated gem this is not.
 
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KiLLiNG-TiME

Distinguished Member
I watched this the other night not have read the book or really followed the film at all, an interesting mishmash of ideas that really didn't glue to well, some of it I loved like Jim Broadbents incarceration that was just wonderful to behold but on the whole I have to agree that's its ambitious certainly but epic not really the interconnect seams of the story just didn't interweave enough for me, so in the end I just found myself watching few story's cut & mixed together, if you like this kind of story I recommend a read of Katharine Kerr Deverry novels much better, still I didn't mind the film that much was just a little disappointed. Now I shall read the review.
 

TenthPlanet

Standard Member
I hadn't read the book but saw with someone who had. He was disappointed with the Halle Berry 70s segment it came across much better in the book he said.

I didn't enjoy the Jim Broadbent oap home segment and the far future with Tom Hanks being hinted by primitives I didn't much care for either. The segment with synthetic girl making a run from the McDonald's type job I thought was excellent though. I'd have enjoyed the movie more it if i'd been watching that plot line had been beefed out into an entire movie in its own right instead.
 

Johnmcl7

Distinguished Member
I really enjoyed the film the first time I watched it and have enjoyed it just as much on successive viewings as there's always something else to take in. The stories are quite different to begin with but eventually they're tied carefully together and end up much the same, it can be difficult on the first viewing but I think the quick transitions back and forth work well. I hadn't read the book before I saw the film (I'd purposely avoided knowing any of the film beforehand) but gave the book a go after seeing the film for the first time and although it does differ significantly, it still goes well with the film (the author was part of making the film) and it's useful in explaining some aspects of the film particularly the fifth storyline (An orison of Sonme-451) which doesn't have enough time to explain the setup of the fabricants.

The extras as mentioned in the review are a real letdown as it's such a complex film I was looking forward to seeing how they made it although I guess given the generally negative reaction to the film, it's understandable they weren't inclined to put decent extras in. I thought the review in general was spot on although I wasn't keen on the grain as it felt artificial to me and quite distracting, I don't remember that when seeing it at the cinema although that was some time ago and I was engrossed trying to work out what was going on in the film.

John
 
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Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
Thread bump!

Just watched this and yes, the key word to describe it is ambitious. Successful? Not entirely.

For me, there were a few distinct flaws:

1. As a species, generally speaking, we tend to experience time and space in a linear fashion i.e. yesterday is not tomorrow, today is not yesterday. A disjointed, fractured narrative structure does not flow as well nor is it as even as one that simply moves forward.

2. If you are going to have six disparate, yet connected, storylines then they all have to have equal strength, but that was not the case here. With some stories being more interesting and engaging than others, this felt like the weaker stories dragged the pace down but you were forced to watch them if only to see how they fitted into the bigger picture.

3. I found the structure to be challenging but not the content. If you isolated each story and just followed them separately, none of them did anything revolutionary at all, their narratives were still fairly straightforward.

4. There were two scenes that basically ruined the film for me: one featured a rapidly cut flash forward. Why was this there? You should never show scenes yet to come in a mystery, not if you want to keep your audience with you. The second was an entirely unnecessary sex scene which told us nothing we didn't already know about the two characters involved.
In fairness, both these scenes totalled less than 30 seconds of screen time of a three hour film, but they annoyed me and took me out of the film and I never really went back.

5. The extras were interesting in that cast, writers and crew seemed so pleased with themselves with their efforts, almost like they had made the film for themselves and not for us. And I kind of felt like that when I was watching it: that it was a great technical and logistical exercise (which it was) and somehow that was good enough (which it wasn't).

Ultimately, its big message of interconnectedness and small acts of kindness leading to an evolution of the spirit and the species was no great surprise to me as I already know and believe this. If this seems like a great revelation to anyone, then yes, I suppose this film would seem like the best thing ever.

It's not a one-star film like some of the "reviews" on Amazon suggest, but it's not a five-star film either. For me, definitely somewhere in between.
 
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QuestShield

Distinguished Member
It's a 5 star film for me, well maybe 4 star. I did read the book and though not a perfect adaptation it was extremely ambitious and beautifully made, and improves with subsequent viewings.
 

Jim Di Griz

Distinguished Member
Its a 3/5 for me. Ambitious but flawed. Some bits great, some bits really grate..
 

gibbsy

Moderator
It's a film you have to watch a second time to understand and appreciate and I enjoyed far more the second and indeed a third time. True true!
 

gap

Distinguished Member
Phenomenal cinema - ambitious and thrilling.

For me, there were a few distinct flaws:

1. As a species, generally speaking, we tend to experience time and space in a linear fashion i.e. yesterday is not tomorrow, today is not yesterday. A disjointed, fractured narrative structure does not flow as well nor is it as even as one that simply moves forward.
I completely disagree. To have a film like Cloud Atlas play out in a chronological/entirely linear way would defeat the purpose and be incredibly boring.
 

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