Sound Off: Wachowskis' & Tom Tykwer's 'Cloud Atlas' - Thoughts?
by Alex Billington
October 26, 2012
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? "Fear. Belief. Love. Phenomena that determine the course of our lives. These forces begin long before we are born and continue after we perish." It's time. The latest film from the Wachowski Starship, Andy & Lana, with director Tom Tykwer, adapting the David Mitchell novel Cloud Atlas, is now playing in theaters. An ambitious, grand, sweeping epic interweaving six storylines, with actors like Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Jim Broadbent, Doona Bae and Ben Whishaw playing multiple roles. So how is it? A masterpiece, or a massive failure? Time to voice your own opinion. Once you've seen it, write a comment with your thoughts on Cloud Atlas.
To light the fire, I completely love this movie. When I first saw it in Toronto, I gave it a 10 out of 10. Upon a second viewing, I might lower that score down to 9.8 for a few minor nitpicks I had, but beyond that, this movie is a "massive accomplishment", as I am quoted saying in many of the TV spots promoting this film. Cloud Atlas is an extraordinary, emotional, entertaining and exciting storytelling achievement in the way it intertwines six individual storylines into a much bigger exploration of oppression and freedom. I love the re-use of actors throughout the stories and had no problems with the make-up, because I was lost in the bigger universe they established. I believed the characters. This movie is an experience, not just a film. It's a beautiful masterwork of independent filmmaking and storytelling, and one of my favorite films of the year.
I could go on and on about Cloud Atlas, as it's a film that is endlessly discussable on many levels. Not only about its themes and morals, but about the filmmaking within it, its balance of stories, the editing between them, the unique performances across all the different timelines ("true true!"). Even those who didn't love it can still talk about it, and I invite everyone to get into these kind of philosophical and cinematic discussions.
What did you think of the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's Cloud Atlas? Masterpiece or huge mess? We will remove any comments that indicate you have not seen the movie, as this area is meant to discuss the film only once you have seen it and can talk about your thoughts. Please keep the comments civilized!
Reader Feedback - 42 Comments
I thought the use of of the actors in various roles was distracting, especially because I sometimes found the makeup to look too fake. That said, as a fan of the book, I was really impressed by how well the film manages to flesh out the book's themes. I feel like the editing in particular is phenomenal.
Richard O on Oct 26, 2012
Saw it in Toronto. I definitely think its an accomplishment for all involved. That being said its got some issues and I think the choice to cast Tom Hanks ended up distracting.
clinteastwoodscloset on Oct 26, 2012
Ehsan Davodi on Oct 26, 2012
It's now one of my favorite movies ever. An absolute masterpiece.
Tyler Bannock on Oct 26, 2012
it was nicely done. i didn't think the makeup on hanks made him fit in to a couple of the roles, but it didn't kill the film. i wouldn't put it on my personal list of great movies - but it was very good.
beevis on Oct 26, 2012
I'll tell you in four freakin months. Ridiculous!
Richie G on Oct 26, 2012
Spoilers: IT WAS AWESOME!!!!
Jericho on Oct 27, 2012
If someone spoils this movie for you, I will personally feel horrible, I would avoid googling it our anything. Read the book in the mean time,but I think it is weird that you guys have to wait
Steven Morgan on Oct 27, 2012
its alright i'll just ruin bond or killing them softly or kickass 2 when that comes out here first. I suppose I could pirate it in protest
Guest on Oct 27, 2012
I have no words to describe it so I will simply say I enoyed it and it is definitely one of my favorites of all time, I will need to watch it again though. I recommend going into it with an open mind and not focusing on the make up or visuals alone. Impossible to describe
Steven Morgan on Oct 26, 2012
A masterpiece, will go down as one of my favourite films ever. I'm high as a kite from the experience.
Nick on Oct 26, 2012
One of the most fascinating, intellectual, and thoughtful movies I'd seen in a long time. Great work by Wachowskis/Tykwer. Definitely among my favorites of the year.
Andrew DiDonato on Oct 26, 2012
Epic of Epics.
Lenin Tom on Oct 26, 2012
I thought it was okay, and a little preachy, but the theater ate it up. Laughing, crying, and a standing ovation at the end. I guess I'm an outlier.
Alex on Oct 26, 2012
I gotta say, I love you for not being one of those people trashing others for liking this like oh so many do....
Greg dinskisk on Oct 28, 2012
Cloud Atlas is a mediocre film at best with little to no entertainment value. The 6+ timelines as a whole are uninteresting, predictable, cliche as are the individual plots within each timeline. The sci fi action story was a poor knock off of Equilibrium. The Caucasian male actors in ethnic prosthetic make up were very distracting. The futuristic post Apocalyptic world ripped straight off of Mad Max/Waterworld right down to the way they talked was laughable. A smorgasbord of different genres each poorly executed. Red Box Rental at most. True true.
truetrue on Oct 26, 2012
I got off work nice and early. Went to the theater and waited for 3 hours to get in. Boy was it worth the wait. I specially loved the way the stories come together in the grander scheme of things. I bow down to the wachowski's and Tom Tykwer for providing this experience where it could have been so easy to get lost. I will definitely be watching it again. But i was surprised that not many people here have heard of Cloud Atlas as the theater was rather empty. I hope more people would watch it.
Nithin on Oct 27, 2012
God! The trailer itself I think was masterfully done. I'm very excited about seeing this!
Lucas Vaz e Silva on Oct 27, 2012
I'm gonna wait untill I finish the book, just another 200 pages !
Guy who comments on things on Oct 27, 2012
Like a literary Matrix. 100% enjoyable - http://www.filmpositivism.com/2012/10/cloud-atlas-2012.html
Samantha Page Smith on Oct 27, 2012
Not gonna lie, when Alex and Jeremy gave this film a 10/10 i laughed and called them fanboys. I never liked the Wachowskis and didn't much like the book cloud atlas either, so naturally I wanted this movie to fail, however, it was probably the best movie i've seen all year, and i've never had such thoughtful conservation aobut a film until after watching it. The themes come out a lot stronger in the movie than the book, it's just absolutely amazing
Hazedmind on Oct 27, 2012
I loved the homage to Sagan.
Matt Peloquin on Oct 27, 2012
I liked the movie, but I did have issues. First of all, my favorite story was Timothy Cavendish and the old people home. In fact, Jim Broadbent was a bigger draw for me than Tom Hanks was. I think Broadbent is the best physical actor living today. You can tell how his character is feeling just by looking at his face. His facial expressions always matched perfectly with what the narration said he was feeling. All of the acting was superb but I think Broadbent and Weaving stood out the most. The one thing that didn't feel right at all for me was the pacing. All of the stories just seemed to be happening all at once with nothing tying them together except the same actors being in them. The tone of each story was in some cases dramatically different than the tone happening at the same time in a different story. One story would be at an action scene and the other would be a humorous scene or dramatic scene etc. Also the music didn't seem to fit all the time. The music was beautiful but with the issues I had with pacing it seemed a bit forced in some of the stories at times and that was due to the inconsistent tone. I still admire the film for it's ambition and it's quality in general. However, I cant give it top ranks as there were some major problems. Great work though to everyone involved. The movie is a truly unique piece of film art.
someguyfromreddit on Oct 27, 2012
Check out my review of the film. 10/10 movie. /watch?v=de6nrYNAK4c
mmmmmmmm on Oct 27, 2012
Was my most anticipated film of the year. I cried during the trailer, that's how much I connected with this film's premise. And I'm a huge fan for ambitious, out-of-the-box, epic filmmaking. Caught a screening last night. My thoughts (this might be spoiler-ish): - messy. editing is all over the place. - cockblocker. the moment I would get fully invested in a scene I'd be taken somewhere else. I never got to fully appreciate any one storyline. - makeup. lots and lots of makeup. some of it amazing, some of it so bad it's disturbing to look at. I can think of 4 makeup jobs in particular that I simply couldn't help but be distracted by. - music. at times distracting and really not that fantastic - i thought the stories would tie together more cohesively to express the idea of interconnectedness. I mean, isn't that the point of Cloud Atlas? I found that they tried to use dialogue to force this idea though. didn't flow as the trailers suggested A fantastic and thought-provoking idea that unfortunately missed the mark in a muddled way for me. Ambitious yet I felt that the first trailer communicates the grander ideas far better than the 3hrs I watched.
quoter on Oct 27, 2012
I thought it was a fantastic film. I think that the way the movie was cut reinforced the themes of the movie but it also detracted from each individual story as much as it emphasized the overall story. The way it jumped around from storyline to storyline did a great job showing the interconnectedness of everything but also was a bit of a distraction. That said, I cannot wait to see this film again!
JKnaak on Oct 28, 2012
Hypnotizing and grand. A remarkable achievement. Obviously a super divisive film. Agree completely with eberts glowing review
Lane on Oct 28, 2012
A CINEMATIC COMMUNICATION OF PROFOUNDLY IMPORTANT IDEAS AS FOUND IN LITERATURE. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago (see p. 77 [528-451=77]) and Douglas Hofstadter’s Godel, Escher, Bach (see page 37 [528-491=37]) are represented in, if in fact are not the premises of, Cloud Atlas (2012) and Inception (2010), respectively. I want to point out what I believe is a tipping-of-the-hat by the Wachowskis to Christopher Nolan (by way of engaging in meta-cinematic code sharing) in their Cloud Atlas screen play adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (2004). Consider the scene in which Sonmi-451 meets Chang via the extraordinary mirroring of scores, Zimmer’s track 528491 to Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek & Reinhold Heil’s track Sonmi-451meets Chang. The thorough-going Inception fan was musically primed to the significance of 528 meets 451. MARK RAYBOULD
Mark Raybould on Oct 28, 2012
Roger Ebert said he saw this film twice and would like to see it a third time. And I think this is the best way to see "Cloud Atlas." It is an incredibly ambitious beautifully done film (killer in IMAX) with a lot more going on than 95% of the movies released out there. There is a huge amount to take in and ponder. There was so much going on, I knew this would have to be seen again. At first, the six stories appear disconnected and remote, but little by little, everything slowly starts tying into each other. I was not bored by one minute of this three-hour film. Will this film be debated, with very little grey area? Sure, and rightfully so for something this ambitious and enigmatic, The makeup and role playing was astounding. During the final credits, they explain who played what and I guarantee you will be surprised by some of them (a lot of gender reversal roles for just about everybody). I don't think this is a movie that should be judged on one viewing. Highly recommended.
Drew Kerr on Oct 28, 2012
easily one of my top 5 favorite films. the best part was seeing a theater full of people all leave with a smile. made me feel like something truly sticks with you after the seeing the movie.
DoomCanoe on Oct 28, 2012
How come we all loved the film and still (sunday night update), it bombed?? For all I know it ended up making something like 9 petty million during the weekend??
leinergroove on Oct 28, 2012
It's not a mainstream movie...the 'masses' won't enjoy a film like this. They'll find it too complex, and thus see it as 'dumb' because of it. I'm just glad it's gotten the release that it HAS gotten and I hope it gets every penny that it can. It'd just be nice for Hollywood to see that there is SOME level of audience for this type of film.
Chris Groves on Oct 28, 2012
I really really liked it. I could understand if someone said it was 'too complicated'...but I don't see how it can objectively be called 'bad'...it had a little bit of everything. The kind of movie that has great replay value.
Chris Groves on Oct 28, 2012
ok i hope people realize after reading these comments , that you're gonna have to watch this twice , on a big screen , then one at home in your comfortable chair , before you'll be able to appreciate everything going on . Like if the stories seem too disjointed to you , fine ; that's probably what they were going for . We just need to know those 6 eras of characters better , to appreciate how they fit together ....
Dominic A on Oct 28, 2012
Horrible waist of time!!! First time i walked out of a movie early EVER!! I stayed for 2 hours (barely) and had to leave before final 50 minutes. Couldnt take it anymore. Exactly like Truetrue said, absolutly NO Entertainment! Not one story was interesting, couldnt care less for any actors, and the make up was so fake it felt like endless Saturday night live skits that wouldnt end. Even the audience was getting irritated after 2 hours with people yawning extremely loud over and over for the whole theatre to hear, to express their anger. I seen a few leave before me and im sure a few left after me. Not even worth dvd rental, just another damn Speed Racer flop. Someone said they were surprised it bombed, i completely understand why.
Chris P on Oct 29, 2012
It was incredible - smart, original, eye-opening, emotional, AMAZING!
Alex M on Oct 29, 2012
i truly thought it was a cool movie.
babababababababbababab on Oct 29, 2012
CONGRATZ INTERNET MEDIA!!! Yesterday, monday October 29th, it was decided Cloud Atlas was a flop, mere days after it was set up at the movies, due to it only making $10 million at the US boxoffice. No word yet on how many internet film sites have followed this report, time will tell; shame will be handed out by the truckload.
David Banner on Oct 30, 2012
Best movie ever in my opinion, it had everything; romance, action, drama, conspiracy, themes of horror with that future server, suspense, it was funny, it was sad, it was a period pieced and futuristic sci if and done very well at that. Saw it on Sunday and I'm still high from my experience. Sadly not everyone can appreciate as I saw some reviews stuck on some real petty things like the broken future English they spoke, whatever cuz I could follow. Love loved loved it. Could be a bit of a mind fuck though if your sensitive to that but it can be seen from the trailer I think.
Barbara Ruiz on Oct 30, 2012
I know I'm a little late but I loved this movie. The chase sequence in neo Seoul riveled some of the best sci fi Ive ever seen.
Jon Odishaw on Oct 31, 2012
I know I am a little late to the party but I just saw it and here are my thoughts. First of it is an incredibly ambitious narrative, Taken as a whole Cloud Atlas is far from the traditional "lead you by the nose" stories that seem so prevalent today. In may ways it is 5 different films with just enough of each to give you the whole story leaving you to fill in the bits and pieces yourself. Those without a healthy sense of curiosity and imagination or just the patience to sit through it may have a hard time piecing it together. Once understood and appreciated it is truly a moving story with a powerful message. The fact that it takes such process of mind to understand makes the discovery of it much more enjoyable. It is not for everyone that is for sure and I can understand why many did not like it. My advice would be to not expect to soak it all up in one setting but rather to watch it a second time and try and pay attention to the characters as they move through the stories and their relationships. Once these relationships make sense the rest falls into place.
Arthur Kendrick on Nov 2, 2012
Wow i thought the movie was incredible. I love how although you may disagree with some of the concepts and ideas they are portraying that the viewer is still drawn in and connects with the characters. This movie may not be seen as successful now but im sure as the years go by it will gain the recognition it deserves.
Tower on Nov 11, 2012
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