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post #1 of 91 Old 05-07-2013, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
91





Studio and Year: Warner - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 172 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Hugh Grant, Zhou Xun, Keith David, Susan Sarandon
Written & Directed by: Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski
Music by: Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, Rheinhold Heil
Based on the novel by: David Mitchell
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 14, 2013







"Everything is connected"


Film Synopsis:

Future. Present. Past. Everything is connected. From the creators of the Matrix trilogy and the director of Run Lola Run. An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. The story is a time-shifting weave of six interlinking narratives, with diverse settings from the savagery of a Pacific Island in the 1850s to a dystopian Korea of the near future. Based on the best-selling novel "Cloud Atlas" written by David Mitchell.


My Take:

What to make of Cloud Atlas? This was the question that resonated through my mind after watching it. Based on the novel by David Mitchell the big screen adaptation is extravagant in context and scope with broad conceptual elements. The segmented narrative tells six stories that span differing eras, beginning in the mid 1800’s through to an undefined dystopian future, with stops in the 1930's, 1970’s, 2012 and 2144. The film is a sort of mosaic with interrelated storylines that have a correlating progression that builds through to the climax.

I haven’t read the novel but watching Cloud Atlas proved to be a challenging experience as it really doesn’t adhere to typical conceptual filmmaking. That isn’t a knock against it per se however trying to discern exactly what is going on by picking up on what one might see as standard plot point cues proved frustrating for the first 45 minutes or so. After giving up on that and just taking it in as it came made things much easier and ultimately rewarding. I know that the tagline is “Everything is connected” however attempting to glean where all of the dots connect in one viewing asks a lot of the audience.

The six interwoven stories are blended in a consistently shifting fashion that jumps back and forth between them in a chronology that seems to rest outside of logic. It has an artsy feel that transcends genre boundaries touching upon elements or romance, crime, sci-fi, drama and action. So what you can take away from all that I have just said is that figuring out what Cloud Atlas is truly all about may rest somewhat in your discerning of its narrative components.

What I took from it is the innate connection between several (not all) of the storylines and how evocatively and beautifully they are told. The film was made by two directing teams with the members of the cast bouncing between them depending on the storyline. I loved the concept of using the same actors to play various roles, some of the same character (at differing points in life) and some entirely different, even transcending genders.

I didn’t care for the broken English dialect spoken in the dystopian future segments. Comprehension wasn’t impossible but required multiple rewinds especially for crucial dialogue. The film opens in this era with a singular commentary by elderly Zachary (Tom Hanks) and initially I couldn’t make much out of it. What he says kind of sets the tone for later events so take your time and pick up as much as you can. One of my favorite scenes involves Hanks (in a different character) and a book critic, don’t worry you’ll get the joke when you see it. Once you settle in Cloud Atlas will keep you on your toes as its evolving message slowly takes shape via an abstract yet coherent tone that will frustrate you early on.

The production design is gorgeous and the makeup team does an amazing job transforming the same group of actors into different roles several of which you will not be able to detect. At $102 million dollars it is the most expensive independent film to date. Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, and Andy Wachowski (I am sure those names sound familiar to you) are visionary filmmakers to be sure. From listening to author David Mitchell talk about the film I think he is pleased with their adaptation. The cast does a terrific and lends credibility to the film’s thematic tone in their various roles. I didn’t find Cloud Atlas to be wholly satisfying but found it to be a rewarding film experience that I think will improve with a second viewing.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence, language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use.



AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


Audio: 90

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 92

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699


Cloud Atlas comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 Mbps.

This film essentially utilizes two distinct visual styles to convey its thematic content. One makes use of darker/monochromatic color schemes and grittier textures while the other features richer contrast and vibrant colors emboldened by warm accents. Each provides the look that the filmmakers strove for to drive the narrative components. Close ups reveal crisp definition and perceptible detail that reveals the presence of pores, stubble, peach fuzzy hair and subtle complexional variations. The texture on the surfaces of objects is just as defining which give them visibly apparent structure and lifelike quality. Black levels are slightly elevated but not detrimentally so and contrast is spot on which delivers bright punchy whites and appreciable dimension when mixed light/dark elements are present onscreen. The video has a noticeably clean and pristine quality that appears devoid of video related anomalies and artifacts.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack features frequent use of the entire surround platform which occasionally engulfs the listening position so as to provide a feeling of total immersion. This is a highly detailed presentation that has excellent dynamic range which enables it to be bombastic at one moment and intricately nuanced the next. Dialogue is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel as it reaches far into the room. It’s located just slightly in front of the left/right speakers within soundstage. I never had any trouble distinguishing even the slightest changes in the pitch or inflection of voices. Front channel separation is excellent. This draws out both large and small sound elements and allows their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable. There isn’t perpetual use of the rear channels and subwoofer however when applied the effects are involving. Focus and imaging are on point as the various venues and locations featured in the film are replicated with discerning realism. Low frequencies aren’t earth shaking however depth is both appropriate and palpably room filling.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) A film like no other – 7 minute featurette

  • (HD) Everything is connected – 8 minute featurette

  • (HD) The impossible adaptation – 9 minute featurette

  • (HD) The essence of acting – 7 minute featurette

  • (HD) Spaceships, slaves & sextets – 8 minute featurette

  • (HD) The bold science fiction of Cloud Atlas – 7 minute featurette

  • (HD) Eternal recurrence: Love, life, and longing in Cloud Atlas – 7 minute featurette

  • Bonus DVD

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy




Final Thoughts:

Based on the novel by David Mitchell Cloud Atlas’s big screen adaptation is extravagant in context/scope with broad conceptual elements delivered as a mosaic with interrelated storylines that have a correlating progression that builds through to the climax. This can make it a challenging film to completely absorb in one viewing. I enjoyed it but plan on sitting down with it again as I believe a second viewing will derive more from it. Cloud Atlas comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video featuring excellent high definition audio/video quality and a middling assortment of supplemental features that look behind the scenes. This is tough to recommend as a blind buy but it is worth seeing so start with a rental to go from there.

Here is the trailer:







attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
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post #2 of 91 Old 05-07-2013, 01:09 PM
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thanks Ralph, I'm going to rent this to see what this is all about. I kinda like movies that don't make complete 'sense'.......
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thanks Ralph, I'm going to rent this to see what this is all about. I kinda like movies that don't make complete 'sense'.......

You must have loved vanilla sky then. Watched that for the first time a couple weeks back and man what a ride. Tom Cruise was perfect due to his already over the top creepyness.

This one sounds like a weird lovers feast!
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post #4 of 91 Old 05-07-2013, 01:38 PM
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"Comprehension wasn’t impossible but required multiple rewinds especially for crucial dialogue. The film opens in this era with a singular commentary by elderly Zachary (Tom Hanks) and initially I couldn’t make much out of it." That's one thing that subtitles are useful for.

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post #5 of 91 Old 05-07-2013, 01:47 PM
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I preordered this blindly having never read the book(s?) and your review echos the one posted on bluray.com. The reviews scared me a bit, but I'll keep my preorder in place and give it a ride. Your review seemed slightly more positive that the bluray.com review. smile.gif


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post #6 of 91 Old 05-07-2013, 03:46 PM
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Thanks for the review, Ralph! cool.gif

I've been looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it and will likely buy once the price comes down a bit. The cast is a good one, the story seems interesting, and I don't mind multiple viewings if that's what's needed to grasp it.

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post #7 of 91 Old 05-08-2013, 05:25 AM
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Will only rent, thanks for the review Ralph.

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post #8 of 91 Old 05-08-2013, 09:05 AM
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Since your film tastes seem to match mine, I was very interested to read your review on this. It is about what I expected. Definitely worth a rental now just to see what they attempted.

I know they are not the same in topic or approach, but would you say that what people think of this film depends a lot on what each viewer brings to the experience? I was blown away by The Tree of Life, but I have been fascinated discussing that film with others and finding that what they think it is "about" seems to have a lot to do with their own life experiences....resulting in very different interpretations of the material.
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post #9 of 91 Old 05-08-2013, 10:10 AM
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I'm in...Thanks!
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post #10 of 91 Old 05-08-2013, 10:34 AM
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Thanks, Ralph--looks like a rental for me. smile.gif

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post #11 of 91 Old 05-08-2013, 11:53 AM
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Thanks Ralph! I am interested to watch this one.

Do you think you will include in the Audio section of your review, a place for the heights and wides effects, now that you own a AV8801? I would appreciate that, not sure if many others would.

Have a great day!

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post #12 of 91 Old 05-08-2013, 02:53 PM
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Gunna rent this one. Looks kinda interesting. Thanks Ralph.

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post #13 of 91 Old 05-08-2013, 03:17 PM
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LOVE this movie. Bummed there's no commentary frown.gif
Also, for my money, this movie had the best soundtrack of 2012...just beautiful
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I pre-ordered Cloud Atlas hoping it would be good, I like just about anything Tom Hanks is in. My nephew had read the book and said he loved it and couldn't wait to see the movie. From this review it sounds like a very interesting story if I can just keep all the pieces of the story lines together.

Thanks for another great review Ralph.

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post #15 of 91 Old 05-08-2013, 06:31 PM
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Hey Ralph,

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the film after a second viewing.

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post #16 of 91 Old 05-09-2013, 02:50 PM
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I'm in...Thanks!

Me too! Sucker for Washowski stuff! cool.gif
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post #17 of 91 Old 05-09-2013, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey Ralph,

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the film after a second viewing.

Greetings,

Okay, I will update this thread afterward...smile.gif


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post #18 of 91 Old 05-09-2013, 10:20 PM
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I too found the future Appalachian dialect kind of annoying - not just hard to understand, but didn't seem plausible that English could reasonably turn into that ("true true"? Really?). I also felt that Halle Berry was odd casting. Overall I did enjoy the movie though.


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post #19 of 91 Old 05-15-2013, 11:08 AM
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"Comprehension wasn’t impossible but required multiple rewinds especially for crucial dialogue. The film opens in this era with a singular commentary by elderly Zachary (Tom Hanks) and initially I couldn’t make much out of it." That's one thing that subtitles are useful for.
Using subtitles absolutely salvaged the post-Fall dystopia story and made it eminently watchable and enjoyable.
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post #20 of 91 Old 05-16-2013, 06:49 PM
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I'm at least half way through right now, not overly impressed. Almost seems like there is no point to the movie, just random scenes chopped together with no running plot.


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post #21 of 91 Old 05-16-2013, 08:23 PM
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I'm at least half way through right now, not overly impressed. Almost seems like there is no point to the movie, just random scenes chopped together with no running plot.

That's what this reviewer thought for much of the movie until.... http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/61113/cloud-atlas/
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post #22 of 91 Old 05-16-2013, 08:24 PM
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I'm really interested in seeing this movie. I know that for me, knowing some back story and histories of things makes movies and music more fun, so I figured I'd give a little to anyone who wants to read this in case it makes you more interested to see the film or read the book. Last year I saw an interview online with the Wachowski's about the making of the movie. It was actually really fascinating, so I'll do a brief recap of it but some of the details might not be exactly accurate:

First thing I didn't know is that the Wachowski brothers are no more since one of them, Larry I believe is his name, got a sex change and is now Lana. I think this is the first project they have done since that took place. The idea for this movie was initially conceived when one of them read David Mitchell's book and basically had their mind blown out all over the sidewalk in amazement and made the other sibling read it, to which there was another equally gruesome mind-explosion. They decided they were going to make a movie out of it even if it bankrupted them and they never did another project.

Their first challenge was that the book was in no way easily adaptable to film. For a year or so they tried to figure out how they could re-arrange and change things to make it work as a movie while still maintaining as much of the original book as possible. They worked extensively with the author during this process and I believe they had a quote from him at the time when they finally got everything together how they wanted it to the extent of, "This version might actually be better than the novel, and I wish I would have written it this way originally." They started pouring most of their own assets into the project since no one really wanted to provide enough monetary support to pull off the project on the grand scale they had envisioned based on what they had sent to various studios. Some time passes and eventually they get a script into Tom Hanks' hands and basically he calls them and tells them he loves it and that he'll do the movie regardless of what they can afford to pay him. I believe what happens next is that Halle Berry gets on board next after she hears about the project and had coincidentally just finished reading the book. After they are in, they basically get all the money they want and the project is underway.

Since the movie had no firm release date, and I travel a lot, I decided to buy the book. My own opinion on the book is that it is fantastic. As the review says, the story is comprised of six separate stories that span a wide swath of time but are all subtly interlinked. The film differs from the book in that in the book the stories are told chronologically (past-future). But you only get the first half of each story. Some of them even cut off mid-sentence and you are just done and sent to the next chapter. The last story (farthest in the future) is told all the way through and then the 2nd halves of the stories are resumed in descending order (future-past). So the first chapter you read is concluded in the last chapter and so on. For example, I remember specifically that the first chapter ended mid-sentence, It was actually pretty fun to have to flip back in the book and re-read a few lines from page 60 in order to complete the same sentence on page 400 or whatever. The stories are also written and told very different from each other. The first story is written as diary entries in the style and vernacular of someone in the 1800's. The second is written in the form of letters, contains a decent amount of French, and is really funny. The third, written like a normal action/drama novel in the 3rd person. Another as transcripts of an interview/trial with an android and a human arbiter. It felt like reading six different short stories by different authors and having them all be related and interconnected. It was cool.

Anyways, that's about all I have to say, hopefully that can make a few people a little more excited for the flick or if you're looking for a good book, I can definitely recommend it. Like the reviewer says, the plot is a little hard to get your head around but I was very satisfied after I was done and it was one of the best books I have ever read. If you read the book, the first chapter starts kind of slow so just stick it out and I promise it's worth it.

Thanks to all who are still with me this far. Hopefully I haven't made all of you angry about the time you just spent reading reading it.

Steve
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post #23 of 91 Old 05-16-2013, 08:54 PM
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That's what this reviewer thought for much of the movie until.... http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/61113/cloud-atlas/

Finished it, unfortunately no 180 for me. Didn't enjoy this one, didn't think the minimal reward was worth the time. The plot in each of the 6 stories is fairly weak, and the overlapping themes and connections didn't do enough for me.

The acting was good and the A/V was good, just didn't enjoy the method of production and plot.


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post #24 of 91 Old 05-16-2013, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by lepermess1ah View Post

I'm really interested in seeing this movie. I know that for me, knowing some back story and histories of things makes movies and music more fun, so I figured I'd give a little to anyone who wants to read this in case it makes you more interested to see the film or read the book. Last year I saw an interview online with the Wachowski's about the making of the movie. It was actually really fascinating, so I'll do a brief recap of it but some of the details might not be exactly accurate:

First thing I didn't know is that the Wachowski brothers are no more since one of them, Larry I believe is his name, got a sex change and is now Lana. I think this is the first project they have done since that took place. The idea for this movie was initially conceived when one of them read David Mitchell's book and basically had their mind blown out all over the sidewalk in amazement and made the other sibling read it, to which there was another equally gruesome mind-explosion. They decided they were going to make a movie out of it even if it bankrupted them and they never did another project.

Their first challenge was that the book was in no way easily adaptable to film. For a year or so they tried to figure out how they could re-arrange and change things to make it work as a movie while still maintaining as much of the original book as possible. They worked extensively with the author during this process and I believe they had a quote from him at the time when they finally got everything together how they wanted it to the extent of, "This version might actually be better than the novel, and I wish I would have written it this way originally." They started pouring most of their own assets into the project since no one really wanted to provide enough monetary support to pull off the project on the grand scale they had envisioned based on what they had sent to various studios. Some time passes and eventually they get a script into Tom Hanks' hands and basically he calls them and tells them he loves it and that he'll do the movie regardless of what they can afford to pay him. I believe what happens next is that Halle Berry gets on board next after she hears about the project and had coincidentally just finished reading the book. After they are in, they basically get all the money they want and the project is underway.

Since the movie had no firm release date, and I travel a lot, I decided to buy the book. My own opinion on the book is that it is fantastic. As the review says, the story is comprised of six separate stories that span a wide swath of time but are all subtly interlinked. The film differs from the book in that in the book the stories are told chronologically (past-future). But you only get the first half of each story. Some of them even cut off mid-sentence and you are just done and sent to the next chapter. The last story (farthest in the future) is told all the way through and then the 2nd halves of the stories are resumed in descending order (future-past). So the first chapter you read is concluded in the last chapter and so on. For example, I remember specifically that the first chapter ended mid-sentence, It was actually pretty fun to have to flip back in the book and re-read a few lines from page 60 in order to complete the same sentence on page 400 or whatever. The stories are also written and told very different from each other. The first story is written as diary entries in the style and vernacular of someone in the 1800's. The second is written in the form of letters, contains a decent amount of French, and is really funny. The third, written like a normal action/drama novel in the 3rd person. Another as transcripts of an interview/trial with an android and a human arbiter. It felt like reading six different short stories by different authors and having them all be related and interconnected. It was cool.

Anyways, that's about all I have to say, hopefully that can make a few people a little more excited for the flick or if you're looking for a good book, I can definitely recommend it. Like the reviewer says, the plot is a little hard to get your head around but I was very satisfied after I was done and it was one of the best books I have ever read. If you read the book, the first chapter starts kind of slow so just stick it out and I promise it's worth it.

Thanks to all who are still with me this far. Hopefully I haven't made all of you angry about the time you just spent reading reading it.

Steve

So you haven't seen the movie yet? Most of the book vs. movie reviews have not been kind to the movie. Let us know what you think.
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post #25 of 91 Old 05-16-2013, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Done Deal DR View Post

Finished it, unfortunately no 180 for me. Didn't enjoy this one, didn't think the minimal reward was worth the time. The plot in each of the 6 stories is fairly weak, and the overlapping themes and connections didn't do enough for me.

The acting was good and the A/V was good, just didn't enjoy the method of production and plot.

My wife and I both hated O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Napoleon Dynamite the first time we saw them. Coerced to give them another chance, we had a complete change of opinion and O Brother became one of our favorite movies, and Napoleon very likable. YMMV with Cloud Atlas.
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post #26 of 91 Old 05-16-2013, 10:24 PM
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I'm not sure I could sit through it again, but I guess having the bluray it's always an option. If I do watch it again I'll watch the special features first.


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post #27 of 91 Old 05-17-2013, 03:00 PM
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Never read the book, but blindly bought this and gave it a whirl. I was thoroughly interested while watching it, and I'd say it's overall a pretty enjoyable and involved flick. Definitely requires a second viewing, which I'll have to do sometime soon. The stories are told really well, although I couldn't help but feel that overall the storylines were a bit weak and that they tried way too hard to reinforce the "everything is connected" theme.

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post #28 of 91 Old 05-17-2013, 03:58 PM
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I guess I don't really understand what was so "connected" about the storylines. Same people in different realities/era's that go through some sort of struggle and make choices. How are those so interconnected with each other though? I really didn't get the sense watching that one affected any other story, just that they rode along with the same general feeling. What was up with the old people storyline? I thought that was by far the weakest.


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post #29 of 91 Old 05-18-2013, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Done Deal DR View Post

I guess I don't really understand what was so "connected" about the storylines. Same people in different realities/era's that go through some sort of struggle and make choices. How are those so interconnected with each other though? I really didn't get the sense watching that one affected any other story, just that they rode along with the same general feeling. What was up with the old people storyline? I thought that was by far the weakest.

Here you go: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
If you didn't notice, there was one person in each story who had the shooting star birthmark. The guy who freed the slave (birthmark), his novel is found by the young composer's aid (birthmark) who reads it. Composer's aid's lover meets Halle Berry in the elevator. Halle Berry has the birthmark. Haven't seen the movie since it came out so I'm missing the connecting jump to android. Android # who rebelled and is being questioned has the birthmark. Her events caused the fall that Tom Hanks and Halle Berry meet up in in the jungle. Tom Hanks has the birthmark on the back of his skull which is not revealed until the final scene, where they are the old people. They ended up starting a family together on another planet iirc.

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post #30 of 91 Old 05-18-2013, 01:43 PM
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Sort of same soul living different lives, reincarnation concept.
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