Movie Title: Cloud Atlas
Directors: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Date Released: October 26th, 2012
Date Seen: October 28th, 2012
Seen with: Anna (sister)
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
Stop reading. Now. Go see this movie. Right this second. It’s amazing.
Alright, back from the movie? Ok, good. Glad you saw it. Because everyone should. This movie is incredible. It’s a visually stunning masterpiece, a fantastic book that is retold by three brilliant directors. Never has just the trailer moved me so much and made me so emotional that I rushed out to buy the book. I mean, I have read a book in preparation for a movie, just because it seemed interesting (like, The Road for example), but never like this. I wanted to get immersed in this story well before the movie…. all thanks to the trailer.
So first a bit about the book, which might make you understand it a bit more. The book was published in 2004 by David Mitchell. The book has 6 stories in it. Each story has different characters, a different writing style, vernacular, plot, and even time period. For example, one story (the first) takes place on a ship across the Atlantic Ocean in 1849 I believe, in the form of journal entries. Another story is in the 2100’s, with clones and very futuristic, and is told through an interrogation. Another story is even beyond that in time where society and language have collapsed and is first person. The story also goes in the style story 1, story 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, then story 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. So stories 1 – 5 you only get the first half of, then move on. It’s amazing. Through the second half you start making all these crazy connections and ahhh. It’s just great.
So now – for the movie. The movie intertwined all the stories at the same time. So you were introduced to TONS of characters all at once. Having not read the book, I can definitely see the first 30 minutes being confusing for someone. My sister and I immediately recognized every character and knew the stories, which really helped. But, even if you haven’t read the book, you’ll pick it up quick what is going on. You just have to accept that for a little while you’ll be like “Wtf….”. Like any book –> movie adaptation, there are some details left out – and because of that, I can see how some plot lines might lose a little bit. One story line in particular I think they didn’t explain very well was the Luisa Rey plot line. It needed a couple more scenes or details and then I think it would have been spot on. So, in short, if you haven’t read the book – you’ll be fine. If you have read the book, then you’ll be thrilled to see how they put some of your favorite characters into film (Hugo Weaving as a Nurse Noakes was quite possibly the best). The plot lines that they alter/change a little bit are necessary and not poorly done. Probably because the directors talked to David Mitchell about the screenplay and had him agree to any necessary changes. But really, they aren’t bad ones.
This movie better be getting some oscar nominations – for two things in particular. One is the cinematography. Some of the visuals and shots were STUNNING. I got teary eyed at one point just from the visuals. I’m not even kidding. They were fabulous. We saw it in IMAX and I highly recommend that. My sister also thinks that the makeup should get an oscar nomination. I mean, they took Jim Sturgess and made him look Korean for one plot line, Doona Bae look white, Hugo Weaving was Korean in one scene, a woman in another, etc. Sometimes a certain character would look a little cheesy, but overall, holy crap they did a good job.
I also know everyone is talking about how awesome Tom Hanks and Halle Berry were… but to me, Hugo Weaving, Doona Bae, and Jim Sturgess were the best. EVERY single character that Hugo Weaving played I wanted more of. I wanted way more Nurse Noakes, and I found myself loving how they did “Old Georgie”. My eyes were glued to him in every single character.
Anyway, I feel now I might be getting spoiler-y so I’ll move to the next part of the review.
But please, trust me, go see this movie. The visuals will have you excited, the characters amazed, and then the plot will really get you bawling.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review
Alright, I will give a link to the synopsis – but I have to say, just reading the synopsis won’t let you appreciate the movie. Part of the beauty of the movie is how it intercuts the stories of these people through time and shows how the actions in one story directly affect or correlate with another story line. So, you kind of lose something just reading it. But if you’ve already seen the movie, it is helpful to clear up some details. I still suggest reading the book, for the best experience. The synopsis is here.
One of my favorite things about this movie was how they staggered the climaxes of various stories at the same time. And it wasn’t just climax after climax (well that sounds dirty)…. no. They picked the more depressing climaxes, and had them all together, so you could just have one big cry fest. Then, you had the inspirational holy crap happy make you feel great about life climaxes.
In the book, my favorite passage is the Frobisher passage. And in the movie – definitely my favorite again. The scene with Frobisher on his last day, before his suicide, is one of the most powerful scenes ever. I couldn’t help but cry. And I don’t cry in movies. I just don’t. It’s not my thing. But this scene, holy crap. Watching Frobisher complete his sextet – and watch his last sunset – and then the hiding from Sixsmith, and then with Sixsmith walking up the stairs of the hotel and hearing the gunshot. Oh. My. God. I think it was so great because Frobisher and Sixsmith on that building was one of the prettiest scenes in the whole movie. The lighting was perfect, the actors were perfect, and just ahhh so pretty. And so much crying.
I did think one hilarious thing during the movie. In the futuristic world, Jim Sturgess plays a Korean, Hae-Joo Chang. The makeup was actually (I thought) very well done. He didn’t look like a Vulcan, like a couple of the characters did (Hugo Weaving’s Korean character). So anyway, apparently Korean Jim Sturgess has mad fighting skills. Yes, I realize it’s the character, but it was just so hilarious knowing that Korean Jim Sturgess was acting like a ninja.
Fabulous. Just go see it. Asap.