Trailer Hopping : Cloud Atlas is a Massive Undertaking that's Light on Entertainment

Rating: No Butter
Posted August 11th, 2012 by popcorn

The Cloud Atlas trailer, at five minutes and 42 seconds, is a complicated, visually appealing scene after scene of interwoven unrelated stories unfolding and refolding into a purpose or theme that I can’t quite appreciate on film. I am not familiar with the book or its general ideas, but from the first minute and a half of explanations, I gather they’re multiple stories telling how life is circular from one generation to the next.

Some of the voice-over explanations are:

“…cloud atlas sestet, a whole movement … imagining us meeting again and again in different lives and different ages.”

“Our lives and our choices, each encounter suggests a new potential direction…”

“We cross and recross our old tracks like figure skaters…”

“…just trying to understand why we keep making the same mistakes over and over again.”

The trailer goes on to explain other philosophical theories about lives being bound to each other, how one affects the other, while different scenes from different era and people are depicted in separate life journeys and adventures.

Even after five minutes of explanations, it is still unclear to me why they need six different stories that bear no relationship to the other. To cut down on the confusion, not to mention the cost of making such a challenging movie, it would be easier to follow only a couple of stories. Why is it necessary to toss six unrelated short stories into one – in six completely different settings and time periods, using the same circular concept?

The scenes for each of the stories look expensive to stage, create and edit, using different time periods, locales and landscapes – mountains with lotus and building structures; futuristic cities, flying contraptions and skyscrapers; sailing ships in wide open sea; water violently flooding structures; planes exploding; and numerous costume changes.

Although the trailer is visually pleasing and the music is a beautiful journey in itself – epic and soaring, the movie leaves no emotional attachment or appeal. What is so entertaining about watching a movie with no conflict or suspense other than that life is circular and not linear?

Cloud Atlas is scheduled to open on October 26, 2012. It stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, Susan Sarandon, James D’arcy, Xun Zhou, Doona Bae, David Gyasi, Gotz Otto, Zhu Zhu and others.

Cloud Atlas Trailer:
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