"Cloud Atlas" Dazzles

Laura Martin ’14 / Emertainment Monthly Editor

Tom Hanks stars in “Cloud Atlas.”
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
Cloud Atlas, essentially, is the Avatar of 2012, with half as much hype but twice the meat. Its visual effects are dazzling, its multiple storylines are exhilarating and complicated to say the least, the marriage of the two resulting in a borderline 3-hour epic that should not leave you disappointed.
The film seeks to connect anything and everything that is to be connected. It spans several continents telling six separate stories ranging hundreds of years that are ultimately all but separate or individual. Each time period tells a slew of stories, the majority of which run parallel to stories of another period or present common, age-old elements or lessons which disregard time. It does all this while periodically introducing the much-needed comic relief such an ambitious film requires, followed closely by scenes of intense action or suspense.
Ultimately, Cloud Atlas wants us to realize that we are all connected, regardless of time, age, gender, geographic location, or what have you. But aside from the actual storylines themselves, the film is also an amusing game of “who plays who,” as Cloud Atlas is mainly comprised of a cast of a dozen or so actors who play approximately five times that many characters, making up the overwhelming majority of the characters in the movie. Audiences will surely be excited to view the film a second time to pick up on actors playing characters they did not realize they played before.
Above all else, what stuck out, at least to me in particular, was the distinct editing style of Cloud Atlas. Though the time periods and parallel stories were distinct in dress, environment, and just about everything you can think of, the transitions between stories were flawlessly executed. The action of the past could be related to the action of the future, and vice versa. In a film highlighted by visual differences, the conceptual similarities helped to tie everything together quite nicely.
The only criticism I would admit to is that the coexistence of multiple stories at once certainly causes a bit of inevitable confusion. It seems that the beginning of the film is a bit difficult to grasp ,as you are attempting to familiarize yourself with each of the scenarios and develop a connection with and understanding of the multitude of characters. But this is, as previously stated, inevitable. It is inevitable for a movie of such length and such intricacies.
See it: If you are partial to longer films or looking to see a science-fiction film.
Don’t see it: If you have a short attention span or can be confused easily, unless you are willing to see it more than once.

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