Cloud Atlas - Blu-ray Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 21 Old 05-14-13, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
HTS Moderator
Reviewer
 
Mike Edwards's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 4,977
My System
Cloud Atlas - Blu-ray Review


Title: Cloud Atlas

Movie:
Video:
Audio:
Extras:


HTS Overall Score:84




Summary
I went into “Cloud Atlas” with torn thoughts on the movie. It seems to be one of those movies that is divisive in the film community. Some people, both critics and viewers alike, have given it the moniker of “the worst film of 2012” and seem to find very little redeeming value in the unorthodox storytelling method. Others tout it as the greatest film ever told and on and on the arguments go. Based off of a book by David Mitchell, Cloud atlas is tale comprised of six individual stores, each seemingly unrelated to the next. I won’t dare to summarize each of these six stories, for just describing them would only confuse a reader. “Cloud Atlas” is a prime example of a story that needs to be viewed, rather than read ABOUT (at least for the film).

To say that this is a juggernaut of an undertaking is putting it lightly. The film clocks in at a few minutes shy of three hours long and is most definitely a slow burn. I’m a fan of slow burn dramas, and “Cloud Atlas” is very slow burning indeed. So slow burning at times that I almost feared that the Wachowskis and director Tom Tykwer were going nowhere with the plots. It’s almost an hour and a half into the film that it picks up and we start to see just why these six stories were chosen to twine together. Each of the six stories has their own individual characters, their own individual plots and nemesis associated with them. Even the actual theme SEEMS to be different. An oil scandal in the 1970’s, a 1930’s tale of a composer with a checkered past, an old folks home set in the early 21st century and several futuristic tales of woe and post-apocalyptic origins. After a time I started to see the vein, the tapestry thread, so to speak, that wove all of these very different tales together. That thread was the thread of oppression and the trials and tribulations associated with freedom. Being a believer in evil always being a constant in this world I see startling resemblances to real life situations. Human beings have had a disheartening ability to oppress others, whether it be for racial differences, just being an “outsider”, or for having a different political point of view. Even something as simple as vengeance or coveting what is not rightfully ours. However, being that great evil can be done in this world does not diminish the human desire to fight for freedom. Slaves have fought for centuries to be free from their masters and debtors don’t just accept their chains, but rather strive for separation from their burden of debt. Humans naturally fight against oppression, even if they have to submit for short periods of time. It is in our nature, in our blood to do so.


One complaint that I’ve seen flying around is that the stories really have nothing in common. I beg to shine a different light on this statement. The stories themselves are not MEANT to share a comparable storyline or share the same characters even (for the most part), however, if you pay close attention you will see the burgeoning of the butterfly effect, or ripples in a pond so to speak. Each story leaves a legacy, chronologically, for the next. Every single main character in the stories are influenced by the passing on of knowledge from the last. I almost didn’t notice them, but you see stories, autobiographies and possessions pass hands from one story to the next, influencing that character and connecting another piece of the tapestry together. The Little boy in the 1970’s nuclear cover up story rights a novel based upon those events that influences our aging publisher in his struggle against a spiteful brother and so on and so forth. It is for these little nuggets that I am a firm believer that this movie needs to be seen at least twice to be understood and even more times for a more complete understanding of what the purpose and theme that the director was trying to accomplish.

The unconventional story telling is both exhilarating and tiring at the same time. Told in one to 15 minute increments each story is told in pieces, with quick cuts to another story without warning. Fragmented as it is, it allows us to jump around, non-linearly and allow us to experience what the heroes were experience without showing us a concrete ending for each story until they ALL wrap up together, thus allowing the true purpose of the film to remain hidden until the last moments. At the same time, this unconventional storytelling can get rather confusing in a three hour film. Sometimes I had to rewind to a certain scene just remind myself of an earlier encounter in the story due to all the flitting about.

I will have to say that whoever provided the makeup and prosthetics for the film is now a millionaire. Every main character from each story comprise the main characters for EVERY one of the six stories, just with different makeup and different ages and prosthetics to give them new identities. This technique was interesting to say none the least and while it looked a bit fake at times, I don’t think that it was every meant to pass as realism, but rather visually display the similar trials, tribulations and goals portrayed in each individual plot. Unfortunately I don’t believe the movie was as concise or allowed the viewer to grasp the threads tying each story together as easily as the book, but it is a valiant effort in storytelling (albeit flawed) and a sumptuous feast of visuals that only the Wachowski’s could have conceived.

Rating:

Rated R for violence, language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use



Video
I was a bit worried about the encode for the film for “Cloud Atlas” is a 3 hour film with over 1 hour of HD special features to boot and that’s a lot of time to put on one disc. Luckily for us, there’s no need to worry. Warner Brothers did a fantastic job with the 2.40:1 AVC encode. Colors are lush and brilliant, from the rich Scottish countryside to the outdoor scenes of the post-apocalyptic future. Even the deep rich darks shown in the futuristic New Seoul were popping off the screen at you. Detail is absolutely flawless and even long shots were picture perfect. Facial detail was excellent as well, but softened ever so slightly to mask the telltale signs of prosthetics used on our actors. Darks were beautiful, inky and deep they showed fantastic shadow detail even in the dead of night. Compression artifacts were a non-issue and luckily there has been no signs of digital tampering beyond the softening of a few facial shots.





Audio
Being that “Cloud Atlas is a dialogue driven film don’t expect a wildly robust and thunderous sound track. There ARE several action set pieces near the end of the film and when those occur the soundstage just lights up and the surrounds are used in full force. However for most of the film, the surrounds were limited to ambient noises and the sounds of vehicles passing by. The front soundstage carried the brunt of the usage with some very well balanced dialogue and frontal usage of ambient sounds. LFE was very mild, mostly used for the score and REALLY used for the sporadic action sequences in the second half. A very well done track, that is mostly limited to just bearing the weight of dialogue more than showcasing a demo track.






Extras:
• A Film Like No Other
• Everything is Connected
• The Impossible Adaptation
• The Essence of Acting
• Spaceships, Slaves & Sextets
• The Bold Science Fiction of "Cloud Atlas"
• Eternal Recurrence: Love, Life and Longing in "Cloud Atlas"





Overall:

A slightly flawed, but stunning nonetheless, adaptation of the book by the same name; “Cloud Atlas” is divisive and rightfully so. It’s a storytelling style that may be off putting to certain personality types, while others will be able to see and enjoy the unique storytelling style. I personally find it to be one of the better films of the 2012 year and there was some stiff competition to boot. Totally enthralling, even at the slow spots, it gives us a peek into the human spirit and an understanding that everything we do in life as effects. Even if we are not alive to see what those effects may be. Beautifully shot and with some very well done audio and video scores I highly recommend seeing this film. Even if you end up not understanding many of the story points the visual beauty and complete style of the film is worth the viewing.

Additional Information:

Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving
Directed by: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Written by: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, French DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: R
Runtime: 172 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: May 14th, 2013
Available on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download


Buy Cloud Atlast Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: Rent It


More about Mike
Mike Edwards is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 21 Old 05-14-13, 09:20 PM
HTS Hillbilly
HTS Administrator
 
Sonnie's Avatar
I'm a redneck!
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: L.A. (Lower Alabama)
Posts: 22,554
My System
Re: Cloud Atlas - Blu-ray Review

Seems like a rather strange movie.

Cedar Creek Cinema

PremierHomeAudio: Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Yamaha, Sony, Pioneer, Def Tech and more. Shoot me a PM!
Sonnie is offline  
post #3 of 21 Old 05-14-13, 09:37 PM
HTS Administrator
News Editor
Reviewer
 
Todd Anderson's Avatar
Todd Anderson
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: MD
Posts: 4,078
My System
Re: Cloud Atlas - Blu-ray Review

Hmmm... nice review! I'm not totally sure this one will ever see the light of day in my house. If it did, I predict it would take about 3 sessions to get through it...

I am intrigued, tho.

Last edited by Todd Anderson; 05-15-13 at 03:16 PM.
Todd Anderson is online now  
post #4 of 21 Old 05-14-13, 10:31 PM
Shackster
 
lcjr71's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 41
Re: Cloud Atlas - Blu-ray Review

Should i rent or buy the blu ray. Not so sure if the story line moves around like it did on Babel, Amores Perros. Both of which I personally enjoyed and all came together nicely.
lcjr71 is offline  
post #5 of 21 Old 05-14-13, 11:06 PM
Elite Shackster
 
JBrax's Avatar
Jeff
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,127
My System
My wife has read the book and is wanting to watch this one. I'm not really sure what to expect and to be honest not very compelled to see it. Having said that I've been pleasantly surprised by these types of movies in the past. Thanks for the review Mike and I'll be giving it a rent soon.
JBrax is online now  
post #6 of 21 Old 05-15-13, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
HTS Moderator
Reviewer
 
Mike Edwards's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 4,977
My System
Re: Cloud Atlas - Blu-ray Review

Quote:
Sonnie wrote: View Post
Seems like a rather strange movie.
it is a very different type of film. I honestly thought I was going to hate it, but I ended up loving the off beat narrative

Quote:
lcjr71 wrote: View Post
Should i rent or buy the blu ray. Not so sure if the story line moves around like it did on Babel, Amores Perros. Both of which I personally enjoyed and all came together nicely.
it movies in a chronological order, but flits from story to story at will. sometimes each "flit" will last 60 seconds, other times 10-15 minutes, but everything in each story does tie up nicely. I will say this.. PAY ATTENTION!!!! A lot of the comprehension comes from paying attention to the little visual clues that show up in each story.

as for renting vs. buying. I honestly don't think I can say. it's so unique that I think it will affect people different ways so I'd honestly say it'd be best to do a cheap redbox rental before buying just in case, but that's just me
Mike Edwards is online now  
post #7 of 21 Old 05-15-13, 04:10 PM
HTS Moderator
 
ALMFamily's Avatar
Joe
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 7,209
My System
Re: Cloud Atlas - Blu-ray Review

Thanks for the review Mike!

Blind buy for me - I am a Tom Hanks fanboy.
ALMFamily is offline  
post #8 of 21 Old 05-15-13, 05:20 PM
Senior Shackster
 
fitzwaddle's Avatar
Brad
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Torrance, CA
Posts: 591
My System
Re: Cloud Atlas - Blu-ray Review

I found it interesting that the box office receipts are so heavily tilted towards international - 20.8% domestic, 79.2% foreign (compare that to Avengers - 41.2% domestic, 58.8% foreign) - maybe more marketing abroad? Didn't seem like they promoted it much here.

I enjoyed the movie - although not without flaw - I thought Halle Berry was just OK, and didn't like the excessively primitive / uber-creole future slang ("true true"??). Will watch it again to see if I pick up anything I missed the first time.

My HT construction thread

XBox Live ID: Atomic Hamper
fitzwaddle is offline  
post #9 of 21 Old 05-15-13, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
HTS Moderator
Reviewer
 
Mike Edwards's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 4,977
My System
Re: Cloud Atlas - Blu-ray Review

Quote:
fitzwaddle wrote: View Post
I found it interesting that the box office receipts are so heavily tilted towards international - 20.8% domestic, 79.2% foreign (compare that to Avengers - 41.2% domestic, 58.8% foreign) - maybe more marketing abroad? Didn't seem like they promoted it much here.

I enjoyed the movie - although not without flaw - I thought Halle Berry was just OK, and didn't like the excessively primitive / uber-creole future slang ("true true"??). Will watch it again to see if I pick up anything I missed the first time.
yeah, the pan-american speech they used was interesting (I know the idea, it's basically the belief that language evolves and that after hundreds of years what they speak will sound like utter jibberish to us and vice versa)... I had to toss on subtitles for that story line to get a better understanding of that particular tale
Mike Edwards is online now  
post #10 of 21 Old 05-16-13, 12:10 AM
Senior Shackster
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 575
Re: Cloud Atlas - Blu-ray Review

I personally watched it twice so I will agree you can't walk away for 10 minutes and come back to it and comprehend what is happening. I enjoyed the movie and bought it after the 2nd viewing. Thanks for the review. The critics that panned the movie probably thought Texas Chainsaw 3D was Oscar worthy, LOL.
ericzim is offline  
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
atlas , bluray , cloud , review

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now




PLEASE COMPLETE ALL REQUIRED FIELDS BELOW... THANKS!

REQUIRED FIELDS ON THIS PAGE
YOU MUST COMPLETE ALL OF THESE

Username
Password
Confirm Password
Email Address
Confirm Email Address
Random Question
Random Question #2




User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
PLEASE READ BELOW PRIOR TO ENTERING AN EMAIL ADDRESS!

ATTENTION!

YOU MUST ACTIVATE YOUR ACCOUNT!

Activation requires you reply to an email we will send you after you register... if you do not reply to this email, you will not be able to view certain areas of the forum or certain images... nor will you be able download software.

AN INVALID EMAIL ADDRESS WILL CAUSE YOUR ACCOUNT TO BE DELETED!

See our banned email list here: Banned Email List

We DO NOT respond to spamcop, boxtrapper and spamblocker emails... please add @hometheatershack DOT com to your whitelist prior to registering or you will get nowhere on your registration.


Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML is not allowed!
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 


For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome