Friday, June 28, 2013

Review: Cloud Atlas

Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving
Directed by: Tomy Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Language: English
Rating: R
Running Time: 172 minutes

I literally knew next to nothing about this movie. It looked like an Oscar contender, something that critics and audiences would be talking about nonstop. It's interesting that that didn't quite happen, but I'll go into that later.

From past, present, and future, the actions of people effect the outcome of certain events. Six stories from 1849 to 2321 link together in an extraordinary compilation. Thus delivering a moral or message of reflection.

It's hard to say exactly what this movie is about without ruining anything. The less you know coming into it, the more intriguing the story can become. There are six stories with different characters and somewhat different conflicts, but they all link together because of a past character(s) in a different story. Through each story the actors are recasted into different roles and I have a lot of praise for the make-up and wardrobe staff. Some of the actors were unrecognizable.

The interesting thing I noticed while clarifying the movie's story was that this movie received more or less a split review among critics. Honestly, I'm on the fence with this one. My reasoning for seeing this was a couple friend recommendation. Two of my friends saw it in theater and absolutely loved it, while I thought it was alright. So, without spoilers, I'm gonna break it down for the reason I'm not overly praising this film, but not completely discrediting it.

This was a very ambitious effort and a lot of critics mentioned this as a positive and negative factor. I feel the same way, but for now, I'm going to explain the positive of their ambition. First of all, it's hard to bring a book to the big screen, but a book that contains six stories and interpreting it to the screen is an even bigger feat. I commend them for taking on the task and doing a pretty good job. I haven't read the book, but either way, you can still commend the writers and directors for their efforts. The actors did an amazing job embodying their various characters as well and bringing something distinct to each of them. I already commended the visual department for transforming the actors, but the other visuals were just as up to par. The story overall was very interesting and enjoyable. I like how they tied together, especially at the end. A couple of them I enjoyed more than others, but they were good.

On the other hand, I had no idea what the connections were between each story until I looked it up on Wikipedia. Something about the dialogue or the audio levels didn't catch my brain's attention or something. I'll also agree with some of those critics that this movie was too ambitious and with that ambition it made a 3 hour long movie. The time length was bit discouraging for me and there's a ton of dialogue you have to pay attention to to understand the connections between events and characters. Speaking of characters, I had no idea what characters' names were either. The structure was interesting, but could be confusing for audiences who are not used to following more than two storylines. If you're confused then it decreases the interest of the movie sometimes and if you don't know character names it loses possible sympathy or a connection towards that character. I think only two or three of the stories I actually felt a little something towards certain characters despite not knowing their names. I also had moments where I wondered whether certain things could've been cut out to move the story a little faster. Not too fast, but enough to feel like there's some sort of progression happening.

Overall, I don't completely dislike or like the movie. I thought it was well done and there's plenty of good things happening visually and character-wise. Unfortunately, the length, structure, and possible dialogue issues detract from the enjoyment and clear connection I could've possibly had. Seeing this movie made me understand people's praise for it and also understand their discouragement to watch this lengthy film.

Rating: 2.5/5

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