Movie Review: ‘Cloud Atlas’ Tumbles to Earth [Video]

The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer might have working hard to make a profound and soaring film, but the complex story of ‘Cloud Atlas’ is beyond their grasp.

The producers and filmmakers tried to do their best to make a picture out of David Mitchell’s past-and-future combining novel Cloud Atlas, starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and other Hollywood stars, it’s a visual treat, but critics aren’t entirely satisfied.

According to Kenneth Turan in The Los Angeles Times, the filmmakers failed to live the film up to the original book, thus, “attempts to be original are not enough, they have to succeed. … Earthbound when it wants to be soaring, striving for a kind of profundity that is out of its grasp, this is simply not the film everyone hoped it would be.”

“Together the filmmakers try so hard to give you everything—the secrets of the universe and the human heart; action, laughs and romance; tragedy and mystery—that you may wind up feeling both grateful and disappointed,” said of the picture AO Scott of The New York Times.

He went on, adding that it’s “by no means the best movie of the year, but it may be the most movie you can get for the price of a single ticket.”

Mike McGranaghan in Aisle Seat said in his review of Cloud Atlas: “Whereas most movies take you on a very linear journey, this one is intentionally non-linear, asking you simply to absorb its ambiance until the bigger meaning becomes clear. To call it a “mind bender” would be an understatement. Cloud Atlas is quite literally mesmerizing; the more I watched it, the more I wanted to watch it.”

However, McGranaghan came to the opposite conclusion: “Visually dazzling, superbly acted, and massively ambitious. I’m going to be obsessed with this visionary saga for a while.”

Christopher Orr in The Atlantic wrote in his review: “Cloud Atlas is an eminently watchable film, and one possessed of a certain hokey grandeur. Even as the movie’s constant narrative hopscotching prevents any individual storyline from coming fully to life, it also prevents us from noticing overmuch.”

He went on: “The movie’s heady pace and fluid editing are such that, just as we might begin to tire of one story, we find ourselves promptly deposited into another. And in this, perhaps, lies the filmmakers’ genuine achievement: Cloud Atlas is an otherwise mediocre movie that knows exactly when you’re ready to change the channel.”

However, there are those who liked the video version of the book. For example, David Kaplan in Kaplan vs. Kaplan writes: “Cloud Atlas” is much easier to watch than it is to describe. It really is an extraordinary cinematic achievement.”

Austin Kennedy in Film Geek Central agreed with the colleague, concluded: “This isn’t a movie that you rent and knit while you half-pay attention. This movie requires you to work. But the work will pay off and you will be rewarded with one of the most entertaining films of the year.”

Examiner’s Chris Sawin adds: “While Cloud Atlas is visually impressive in a massive way, the stories are expertly and flawlessly woven together, and it’s a sci-fi film that’s magnificently bold and breaks boundaries, its nearly three hour duration is daunting.”

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