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Wayhomer Review #135: Cloud Atlas

By Widge - posted 11.07.12 @ 9:31 am

Ben Whishaw and James DArcy in Cloud Atlas

Episode #135 for Cloud Atlas, in which our protagonist has a "Scanners" moment while trying to give a synopsis, gives a huge bonus for sheer ambition and scope, and wants to go break the living shit out of some plates. Also: hemorrhaging!

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Special thanks to PhantomV48 for the closing animation.

Previous episode here.

Read More About:

Widgett Walls is Need Coffee's Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. He is the author of the novel Mystics on the Road to Vanishing Point, and two collections of short stories, Magnificent Desolation and Something Else: The Complete First Season. He is also co-author of the children's book There's a Zombie in My Treehouse! All of those books are available in paperback or for the Kindle from Amazon. He is also the narrator and publisher of the first unabridged recording of Seneca's letters, available here. He is active on both Twitter and Facebook. (If you befriend him on Facebook, do say you came via Need Coffee.) He lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. He hardly ever sleeps.

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A Mob Numbering 9
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    1. 

    The beginning of your synopsis sounds like something out of a Carl Sagan special.

    Comment by B.Smith — November 7, 2012 @ 10:06 am

    2. 

    I will own this on DVD. It requires additional processing well beyond a single vue. I REALLY liked what I can remember! 4 1/2 cups is a good call.

    Comment by John Kirkpatrick — November 7, 2012 @ 10:45 am

    3. 

    I particularly enjoyed it, and for me, when I saw it, it didn't hurt my brain as much, because I had the experience of the book as a sort of structure. I can appreciate what they did with the cutting of the stories, but, in my own personal opinion, I would have much preferred they kept to the structure of the book, rather then jump all around.
    But I really liked it, and I'm glad to hear you liked it as well, since I stood up for it when you posted the trailer. Are you still planning to check out the book at some point? I think it would benefit you so to do, even if only to compare and contrast them.
    -M

    Comment by EditorMikeC — November 8, 2012 @ 12:51 am

    4. 

    EMC: The book is on The List. Especially since I know how the book was structured and want to see it in action.

    Comment by Widge — November 8, 2012 @ 1:01 am

    5. 

    Hey Widge. Been looking forward to your opinion on this one, and I agree with everything you said. I like how this film shot for the stars and missed, as opposed to a by-the-numbers action flick or rom-com that played it safe. My brain hurt after the film, but in a good way.

    Two other things: Tom Tykwer's last name is pronounced like "Tick-Vur," for future reference. :-) Gotta love that tricky German language.

    And secondly, Warner Bros. Blu-Rays tend to be pretty subpar in the special features department. Let's hope the Wachowskis and Tykwer add a second disc onto this one and do it right.

    Comment by Marshall — November 8, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

    6. 

    Marshall: Thanks for the correction...actually what I did is I got a bit slydexic and in my head I saw his name as "Twyker." Don't ask. I have no idea why...

    Comment by Widge — November 9, 2012 @ 3:36 am

    7. 

    Wow... this was everything I feared based on the trailer. Bloated pseudo spiritual new age rubbish, not dissimilar to Star Trek TNG. Broadbent's stories were solid, if not really great, Hugh Grant was a welcome distraction and Wishaw sold his story, but I still find it's a very adolescent minded film. And I wish someone finally made a great (and faithful) Fahrenheit adaptation instead of referencing the story. But not these people.

    Comment by Montag — January 19, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

    8. 

    Hm. My last comment reads way too harsh... let's just say the content doesn't live up to the ambition and scope of the project.

    Comment by Montag — January 20, 2013 @ 3:46 am

    9. 

    Wow... this was everything I feared based on the trailer. Bloated pseudo spiritual new age rubbish, not dissimilar to Star Trek TNG. Broadbent's stories were solid, if not really great, Hugh Grant was a welcome distraction and Wishaw sold his story, but I still find it's a very adolescent minded film. And I wish someone finally made a great (and faithful) Fahrenheit adaptation instead of referencing the story. But not these people." It's not pseudo new age. Haven't seen the movie yet but the book is awesome. The stories are interconnected, but not in a obvious kind of way and differ depending on the stories. For example, the first story is a diary entry of a notary in the 19th centuary in oceania and also appears in a funny story about a musician in the 20th centuary. I liked the science fiction story about a totalitarian state of Korea the most, inwhich a clone becomes self-aware, and is therefore a threat to the state. (because they are working like 18 hours a day and do the low-wage and dangerous work noone els is willing to do. This system would collapse if clones are equal to humans). And it's told in the form of an interview and retrospective. Taking this as an example, I don't think it's pseudo anything, but asks some hard questions about freedom and the scifi story could be used as an metaphor of our society as well. The people in the 19th centuary (like the first story) thought there are steps of civilisation; of different qualities of humans. History repeats itself, arguments stay the same. People try to legitimize there wrongdoings with pretty words. But even if we are victims of our times, we can still change something. I think this is a deep and positive message about being alive.

    Comment by Matthias — January 29, 2013 @ 8:26 am

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