“Cloud Atlas:” sci-fi that doesn’t feel like sci-fi

Originally published at: http://alderaanplaces.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-return-of-alderaan-places-and-cloud.html. Adapted and reposted by permission of author.

Cloud Atlas, an adaptation of the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell, follows six intertwined stories, utilizing an ensemble cast of Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving and Jim Sturgess among others. The cast members play various roles across the six stories.

The first thing I need to bring up about the film is that it is not for the casual film goer. This 2 hour, 52 minute film requires all of your attention to keep track of what is happening. Mitchell said it best in a Wall Street Journal interview that, unlike the book, the film “Stay[s] in each of the six worlds just long enough for the hook to be sunk in, and from then on the film darts from world to world at the speed of a plate spinner, revisiting each narrative for long enough to propel it forward.”

That being said, the film is not too unwieldy. Though the actors are playing different characters in each story, the connected characters are meant to be the same soul and it shows through similarities and evolution of the various characters.

That’s the second thing that blew me away about this movie, these actors didn’t come in to play a great role, they came in to play up to six great roles. The makeup crew deserve an Oscar for their work on this film. They utilized amazing prosthetic makeup to make changes between the actors in different stories. It helped the story not feel so static. For a few actors, they made flawless changes in race or gender that made you second guess who you thought you were seeing.

The film was an epic masterpiece of science fiction that doesn’t feel like a science fiction film. This film comes across as an absolute labor of love by the directors and I urge EVERYONE to get out and see this film while it is still in theaters.

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