Cloud Atlas (2012)

Cloud Atlas: Overambitious, three-hour ego trip? Or epic sci-fi splendour?

At a glance:
Tom Hanks a little behind Robert Downey Jr. on this one.
Many thought this movie was not possible, you can read. Eventually made for over US$100 mil on a peculiar split shootin arrangement between Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and the Wachowski siblings (now that one of them has turned into a woman), Cloud Atlas (2012), with its stunnin, otherworldly trailer, is just about the most excitin, non-superhero movie that you'd have saved up to catch on IMAX this year. It runs for 172 minutes and chronicles six related stories, featurin an embarrassment of stars such as Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Doona Bae, Jim Sturgess, James D'Arcy, Keith David, Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw and Zhou Xun. The story is adapted from David Mitchell's 2004 book of the same name - a book that Natalie Portman apparently introduced to the twin directors on the set of V For Vendetta.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Jim Broadbent oughtta have known better than to be in this.
It's one of the most expensive, unnecessary and over-directed movies I've ever seen in my life. Talk about seethin sci-fi shyte - that's three hours of my life I'll never get back. Ebert has been slowly losin it these past few years and none more so than his unadulterated praise of this. You're either gonna be one of those people who gave this supposedly visionary movie an extended standin applause at the Toronto International Film Festival or you're sat here with me cursin your sore bum. The last time the Wachowskis took us on a ride through realms was in The Matrix (1999) and it worked despite the incredulity and disorientation because the audience is afforded the space and respect to establish links through strong characters and their compellin dialogue. Cloud Atlas is a confetti of visuals, thrown about to celebrate what flatters and deceives. I can barely hear what Tom Hanks mumbles half the time! A movie this grand, you'd think that when the pieces fall together in the end, you'd get a big emotional payoff that rewards you for keepin up. The reality is that this is a narrative many producers will avoid for years to come.
Jim Sturgess does a yellowface.
Strangely he spoke Cantonese as a Korean.
Perennial wonderment:
If there's one thing I can defend the movie on, it's against all the well-publicised MANAA bullcrap about not hirin Asians to play the Asian roles in the movie. It's actually vital to the context and integrity of the story that the same actors appear in multiple races and even different genders. Why don't these activist jokers go for bigger fish and leave this already doomed movie alone, eh?
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
While we at least can be consoled that the picture doesn't pivot entirely on a gimmicky M. Night Shyamalan twist (that you'd have to decide whether or not to buy), the central themes are lost in the sheer spectacle of it all, and drowned in a routine music score. This R-rated story could've been told in 30 other shorter, more accessible and less ambitious ways but it simply had to go for this serendipitous portrait of self-grandeur. To the rest of you who enjoyed this conceit, I envy your patience.★★


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