I’d like to be the wet blanket and point out at this time that Cloud Atlas will be the biggest flop of the year. First of all David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, while lovely, is not exactly one of those books that lends itself easily to adaptation. For those that don’t know, the book consists of six interlocking stories that interrupt, digress into and then regress back out of each other. I suppose the challenge is part of the fun in making one of these movies, but the Wachowski’s have a nasty habit of changing narratives to fit their particularly narrow world-view (see: their butchering of V: For Vendetta). Again, the Wachowski’s aren’t bad film makers, just lazy. And Cloud Atlas isn’t a bad book, it’s just simple and over-written to the point where the connections fall fast and easy by the time the last few chapters wrap up.
So why is that a bad thing? Well the two most common comments on this movie by the public at large may shed some light on my cynicism ([sic] and [lol] throughout):
“Is this a trailer for a trilogy?”
So clearly from the outset Andy and Lana have an uphill road convincing people that 1. This narrative is not THAT confusing; 2. This is NOT a trilogy, even though their CVs would lead you to assume otherwise.
And honestly? I don’t think anyone in this film is up to the task. I love Tom Hanks, he’s a great actor and seems like a nice human being. He’s not the chameleon needed to fill the various rolls required by the film. The whole thing kind of looks like the siblings are trying to up their credibility in the film world with a genre prestige film. I’m not sold and I think audiences are going to continue to be sorely confused by the trailer (which is pretty bald about its underlying premise so that’s not promising) before they even get to the theatre. And there’s where the Wachowski’s are going to stumble: getting butts in seats. But who knows? This may well flop in theatres and go on to have a rich, fulfilling life in Blu-Ray. Or it may do gang-busters and outsell The Avengers and I’ll eat crow.
Also, while we’re on the subject of adopting books into movies: where the hell is my Yiddish Policeman’s Union movie, Cohen Brothers?
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