Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cloud Atlas

Top 10 Trailers Better Than the Movie points out that some movies fall way short of their advertising trailers.  The interesting thing about a really great trailer is that it will generate so much excitement that the movie itself is likely to be a letdown.  Even so, a great trailer can influence the viewer into thinking that the movie is a great film even as the viewer is watching the movie.

One of the greatest trailers ever is for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.  Star Wars fans had to wait 16 years for a fourth movie, so any glimpse into a new Star Wars movie was bound to generate wonderful excitement.  Although I think that movie is very good, it doesn't appeal to everyone, and some people hate it.  For me, after getting so excited for the trailer, the opening sequence was a bit of a let down, but the film made up for this later.  Some people hate the movie for the character Jar Jar Binks, but I like the character and I think that he is a necessary comic relief in an otherwise serious movie.  With a 57% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I think that the movie is vastly underappreciated.

I think that the greatest trailer I have ever seen is the Cloud Atlas Extended Trailer.  My previous anticipation and enthusiasm for this film made me wonder if I had lavished too much praise on the movie in my review of the film.  I had this nagging feeling that I needed to see the movie again because maybe the film didn't quite live up to the trailer.  Although slightly true, a second viewing of the movie has reassured me that this is indeed a pretty amazing movie.

Cloud Atlas is a long movie.  It is almost 3 hours.  The first 38 minutes proceeds at a leisurely pace.  Emotionally the movie doesn't really connect with the audience until about 38 minutes into it.  From there the rest of the movie is a wild ride.

I have to give great praise to the editing that seamlessly switches between 6 different stories.  Had the movie been told in chronological order, it wouldn't have been as interesting and it wouldn't have conveyed the sense that all these different time periods are connected.  Individually the 6 stories aren't enough to carry the movie, but switching between the stories makes the film more interesting.

Cloud Atlas has its own philosophy that is some sort of new age mysticism.  Some people are likely to think that this is pretty hokey, but with any movie you have to have a certain amount of suspension of disbelief just long enough to appreciate the movie for what it is.  It doesn't mean that you have to buy into its ideals.  Also, the length and complexity of the movie might turn off some viewers.  With a 66% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this is another film that I think is greatly underappreciated.

After a second and third viewing, I am astonished at the film.  This is perhaps the best movie I have seen in the last decade, but I am thinking that not everyone will like it as much as I did.  It is a long, complex and somewhat hard to follow movie with a weird philosophy, but it is probably the most unique and ambitious film in years.

When you watch the movie, be sure to watch for a minute into the end credits where there is a little bonus that shows all the different characters each actor played.

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