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[film] Cloud Atlas - badgerblog
October 27th, 2012
02:49 pm

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[film] Cloud Atlas
maegwynn and I saw Cloud Atlas on opening night. Six stories crosscut sometimes scene by scene and sometimes camera shot by camera shot, Cloud Atlas is a three-hour achievement of film that is gorgeous both visually and structurally: even if you choose to dismiss the film as a stunt or gimmick of interwoven narrative it's worth seeing the film only for how well they pull off the stunt. But you get six varied short stories of some great acting and stunning visuals. Strongly recommended, will see again.

(To the question "do you have to know the book to get the movie?" asked of adaptations, I read the book for the first time in the last month, maegwynn has never read it. She loved the movie and thought the pacing was good, wasn't bored for the almost-three-hour run time.)

Stay for the second part of the closing credits, where they get to the dozen-ish main actors and a video montage of their many performances throughout the movie. If you can spot all of them during the movie and nothing in this montage surprises you, you're amazing. However, there are no final surprises after the end of the closing credits.



I don't remember Timothy Cavendish yelling "Soylent Green is people" at the inhabitants of the prison-nursing home during his first escape attempt in the book, so I suspect it was added for reasons apparent to either reader or viewer.

The composer's daughter is entirely absent and I didn't see a real replacement explanation why Frobisher hung out at the top of that tower in the movie, other than it was really pretty.

Worth watching closely for the multiple interconnects: Jim Broadbent as Timothy Cavendish in 2012 talks about "when this episode in my life is filmed as "The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish" and who he, Cavendish, would like to play him, and the movie the future clone-foodserver Soon-Mi 451 in future dystopia Neu Seoul watches is the film The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish, with Tom Hanks as Timothy Cavendish the multiply-fictionalized.

The kid in 1973 that the reporter hangs out with writes a detective novel about the reporter that is the manuscript Timothy Cavendish is reviewing as a candidate for publication in 2012.

The future Hawaii story worked better in the film for me than in the book. That's probably a personal issue, as dialect-solid narratives don't generally work well for me. (Riddley Walker, not really. Feersum Endjinn I never really clicked with. A Clockwork Orange and Womack's Dryco stories work just fine for me, though.

(Added because I forgot: Stephen Rea's "I had a moment" description of his vision in the Wachowskis' film _V For Vendetta_ is strongly reminiscent for me of the central theme of the Cloud Atlas film. Interestingly and divergently, a friend who's read the book said he views the novel as different narrative renditions of power structures, control, and peoples' responses.)

Trailers:

* The Collection Nov 30 - Remember The Collector, the stand-alone goreporn movie done by the Saw horror franchise people a couple of years ago? The movie I was disappointed was NOT a film version of the John Fowles novel? Based on the trailer this is a sequel/reboot/prequel to The Collector film, I'm not really sure, with the lone survivor/final girl motif from Saw II.

* The Impossible - Dramatized version of one family's struggle to survive and hopefully reunite after the tsunami hit their vacation spot a couple of years ago.

* Life of Pi.

* Les Miserables - The film of the musical. Because that worked so well for The Phantom of the Opera. Ahem. I'll probably see this. Never seen the musical.

* Zero Dark Thirty - Katheryn Bigelow, one of my favorite directors who I will watch everything by, on the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. December.

* The Hobbit - An Unexpected...ending, for people who say "what? they're making THREE movies out of this book? What?" - Dec 14

* Gangster Squad - Sean Penn as gang lord Mickey Cohen in mid-twentieth century Los Angeles, and vigilante cops fighting an underground war. Yes, I'm there. January.

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[User Picture]
From:andyhat
Date:October 27th, 2012 06:53 pm (UTC)
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Edward and I went to the Imax version last night at Southpoint, and I have to concur with you. We were both rather amazed at the montage of who played whom.

I guess I should figure out where my copy of the book is hiding so I can read it now.
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From:badger
Date:October 27th, 2012 06:59 pm (UTC)
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I was happy I spotted Jim Broadbent playing violin outside Soon-Mi 451's window the couple of seconds he's on screen.
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From:dr_scholl
Date:October 27th, 2012 07:08 pm (UTC)
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We saw it last night and loved it. Had a couple of criticisms about the way it was filmed - or rather agreed with each-other on how we would have done it differently - but otherwise it was good enough that we went out afterwards and bought the book.

That also tells you that neither of us had had the chance to read it yet.

We had different trailers - almost none of which appealed to me (and so I don't necessarily remember all of the names, or the order in which they appeared):

Jack Reacher - something-other-other with Tom Cruise and a lot of punching.

A Good Day to Die Hard - see the last 2 words to know what this movie is ;)

The Last Stand - Arnold Schwartzenegger as an over-the-hill sherriff in a small town meeting up with drug runners.

(Do you sense a theme? Beat-em-up action-and-adventure with big-name, though getting older, stars)



Oh - and one that I *do* want to see:

The Lone Ranger.
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From:badger
Date:October 27th, 2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
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(Added a paragraph to the post I neglected to before replying)

There's huge subplots in Robert Frobisher's and Soon-Mi 451's stories in the book that were dropped from the movie, and other significant points of her story were changed from the book's recounting. Interested in what you would have done differently, tell me sometime, doesn't have to be here, no rush.

trailers:
Seen the trailer for Jack Reacher, read those books, Cruise is a contentious casting issue for this and not for the reasons people may think :). Know about Die Hard 5. Seen The Last Stand trailer. Seen the Lone Ranger trailer, am interested.

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From:dr_scholl
Date:October 27th, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC)
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Our main comment had to do with pacing. We felt it did jump around a bit more than it should have at the beginning, making it a little difficult to settle into the individual stories and separate them out to start. We both ("we" including Reinhard, of course) felt like the individual scenes should have been a little longer at the beginning of the movie, and the more choppy feel of jumping between scenes used more progressively throughout.

Now, saying that - I wonder if I'd feel the same way:
1. If I had read the book
2. If I were seeing it a 2nd time

Maybe the beginning scenes were longer than I realized, but they just didn't "feel" that way to me. It took me a little bit to separate the composer's story and the lawyer's story as two different timelines at first.
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From:badger
Date:October 27th, 2012 07:33 pm (UTC)
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I can see where the story shifts could be seen as a bit too seamless in the beginning of the movie. Not directly on point but tangentially relevant, from an interview I read recently, David Mitchell wrote the six stories separately, then just before sending in the manuscript he did big copy-pastes to break the six stories into twelve chunks and stacked them the way he wanted.

Describing this to maegwynn she said that if the three-hour movie had followed that chunking more faithfully and been twelve approx.fifteen-minute segments she would have thought the film dragged.
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From:dr_scholl
Date:October 27th, 2012 09:41 pm (UTC)
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I can agree it might have dragged if it were done that way. My comment after the movie was I would have started with longer chunks and had them get shorter and shorter, but I wasn't sure if that'd be too "obvious" of a scheme.
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From:dr_scholl
Date:October 27th, 2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
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Formulaic might have been the word I was looking for... It might be too formulaic to have it start with longer scenes and have them become progressively shorter
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