Monday, October 15, 2012

Cloud Atlas - My Review


Tonight I went to the Warner Bros studios to see a pre-screening of Cloud Atlas. This is part of my PGA deal. I get screenings DVD's of movies for the PGA awards but I also get lists of dates when I go actually go to a theater and see the movie for free. Sometimes I get lucky and I get to see the movie before it's even out in theaters. This was one of those times.  I'm able to bring one guest with me to these screenings and I asked my buddy Robert to join me.

Never been to the Warner Bros studio screening room, it's not as bad as some theaters but it's not as great at Paramount's large screening room. Anyways I heard about Cloud Atlas maybe a month earlier. My former boss asked if I had ever read the book and that they were making a movie. I have not read the book so I looked up the trailer and was amazed that I had not heard of it earlier. The trailer looked pretty cool. It's a difficult movie to explain but here is a synopsis that I found online:

An epic story of humankind in which the actions and consequences of our lives impact one another throughout the past, present, and future as one soul is shaped from a murderer into a savior and a single act of kindness ripples out for centuries to inspire a revolution. It also has a great cast.
  • Tom Hanks as Dr. Henry Goose / Isaac Sachs / Dermot Hoggins / Zachry Bailey
  • Halle Berry as N'Fera / Jocasta Ayrs / Luisa Rey / Ovid / Meronym
  • Jim Broadbent as Vyvyan Ayrs / Timothy Cavendish / Prescient
  • Hugo Weaving as Mephi / Bill Smoke / Nurse Noakes / Control / Old Georgie
  • Jim Sturgess as Adam Ewing / Lloyd Hooks / Hae-Joo Chang / Adam Bailey
  • Doona Bae as Tilda Ewing / Sonmi-451
  • Ben Whishaw as Robert Frobisher / Georgette Noakes
  • James D'Arcy as Rufus Sixsmith / Nurse James / Archivist / Sloosha
  • Zhou Xun as Yoona-939 / Rose Bailey
  • Keith David as Kupaka / Joe Napier / Ankor Apis / Prescient
  • David Gyasi as Autua / Lester Rey
  • Susan Sarandon as Madame Horrox / Ursula / Abbess
  • Hugh Grant as Reverend Horrox / Alberto Grimaldi / Seer Rhee / Cannibal
All I knew about this movie is that it takes place at various times and that each main actor plays several roles through out time.

I've always like the idea that we go through multiple lives with the same group of people (souls) around us, were all connected forever. So in one life you can be lovers, in another life you can be best friends and yet another life you could be brothers. This story is similar to that and that appealed to me. So we visit several different times, the nineteenth-century, the thirties, the seventies, present day and the two set in the future. Which one looks to be very futuristic and the other looks to be prehistoric but you find out it's far into the future.

You watch as these stories unravel and you bounce from time to time. Each piece adding a little more to the over all story. It's really cool to see how each of these characters are connected over time. I love how their actions in the past effect their actions in the future or how they mimic each other. I enjoy how some of the characters recognize this connection and comment about it.

The futuristic setting was pretty incredible and the special effects were amazing. I'd say about 80% of the age/altering make up was fantastic. There were a few times when it looked like a mask or that it wasn't the persons real face but then there were times that I didn't recognize the person for who they were. At the end of the movie they show the actors name and then show pictures of all the characters they played. I was amazed by some of them as I had no idea.

This is a movie that you can see again and again and pick up even more details. I don't think the writers try and hide anything it's just that there is so much going on it's difficult to take it all in, with the first viewing.

My favorite stories were the lovers in the 30's, though it was very tragic it had some very beautiful moments.  Jim Broadbent character in present day, he brought the humor to the film. All his stuff were good but when he gets to the senior home.. man that was some hilarious stuff. And finally the futuristic stuff. I loved the action, the love story and the meaning behind it all.

I can't forget the music as it's a big part to several of the stories and the sound track to this film was pretty amazing and I'm sure I'll be buying the CD when it comes out.

Overall I give this movie an A. It's very ambitious with a running time of almost 3 hours (2:44). I didn't once look at my phone to check the time. I was invested in this world and these characters. Every story had some high points and lows. It was blended together so seamlessly and made the experience fantastic.


  1. Hugo Weaving's characters are actually Haskell Moore, Tadeusz Kesselring, Bill Smoke, Nurse Noakes, Boardman Mephi (erroneously called "Control" on some sites) and Old Georgie. James D'Arcy isn't in the Sloosha's Crossin' plot, Ben Whishaw's female character is Georgette Cavendish (not Noakes) and Tom Hanks plays the Desk Clerk in the second story (and MANY actors play tiny cameos-- some are even pictures on other characters' walls. I didn't get them all transcribed, needless to say.) And yes, it's difficult to guess this based on one viewing of the film, as few names are mentioned more than once (some not at all) and the credits listing all the character names fly by at the end (I wish they'd been incorporated into the visual montages that begin the credit sequence.) Probably a deliberate ploy to get us to see it multiple times, which, in my case, will probably work.

    1. Thanks for that.. I just copied and pasted the cast and characters from Wiki.

  2. A big, bold, and interesting work of staggering ambition and artistry. It's not perfect by any means, but it definitely held my interest for the longest time it was on-screen. Good review Kenny.