CLOUD ATLAS Blu-ray Review

     June 13, 2013


The Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer’s Cloud Atlas was tragically the most under-appreciated and under-seen film of 2012.  It had to be a marketing mishap.  How else do you explain the poor performance of a film that encompasses multiple genres over vastly different time periods with high-caliber actors like Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant and Jim Broadbent (just to name a few) taking on multiple roles?  But wait, there’s hope!  You can help remedy this glaring oversight by picking up the ambitious and epic movie on DVD and Blu-ray now.  Hit the jump for my review of Cloud Atlas on Blu-ray.


Our own Matt Goldberg’s review of the film can be read here.  We also talked about the film in an episode of our podcast and implored audiences to go give it a chance.  No one listened (either to the podcast or our advice, most likely).  The word “ambitious” was thrown around a lot for Cloud Atlas, to the point that it took on a negative and almost snarky connotation.  One of the most expensive independent films with a budget of around $100 million, Cloud Atlas was banking on the hopes that a timeless love story that transcends all boundaries – and features some of today’s most talented filmmakers both behind and in front of the camera – would be enough of a draw to lure and ultimately captivate audiences.  Unfortunately, the gamble didn’t quite pay off, which not only does the film a disservice, but future films with similar ambitions.

Now’s your opportunity to give Cloud Atlas a second chance at impressing you with its incredible storytelling, master editing, visual diversity and timeless appeal.  This is the type of film that’s rather enjoyable for a first course in a theater, but more fulfilling upon multiple viewings in a more relaxed home setting.  The bonus features provide lots of insight from the cast, crew and author David Mitchell on the interconnectedness of Cloud Atlas’ story and clue us in on a number of not-so-obvious connections throughout the film.  There’s more here than can be picked up on a cursory viewing, so I’d recommend a buy on the Cloud Atlas Blu-ray and will caution that this film isn’t meant for the short-attention spans of the majority of theater-goers.

tom-hanks-halle-berry-cloud-atlasBonus Features:

*Oddly called “Focus Points” in the menu, each item is approximately ten minutes long.

A Film Like No Other

  • The cast, directors and production team talk about the process of making Cloud Atlas from the moment they signed on through the mind-bending process of editing.

Everything Is Connected

  • The cast and directors discuss the connections among all six stories and the themes of greed and ambition, which influence not only actions in one life but in future lives as well.

The Impossible Adaptation

  • The Wachowskis, Tykwer and Mitchell talk about the process of adapting Cloud Atlas, starting with writing the novel itself to blending all six individual stories into one.

The Essence of Acting

  • A truly overlooked accomplishment on the part of the actors in Cloud Atlas is the fact that all of them play multiple roles that not only differ in personality, but cross gender and racial lines.  The actors themselves talk about those inherent challenges here.

Spaceships, Slaves and Sextets

  • This featurette talks about unifying the disparate stories while tracking each of the characters and actors through their time periods.  The separate stories are linked visually, musically and through character, though not always in an overt way.

The Bold Science Fiction of Cloud Atlas

  • The directors and Mitchell talk about a sci-fi interpretation of his book, plus creating the future worlds and the language that changes over time.

Eternal Recurrence: Love, Life and Longing in Cloud Atlas

  • If nothing else, Cloud Atlas is a timeless love story, a tale of how it transcends all boundaries, exemplified by each of the characters and their relationships in the film.



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