Cloud Atlas is a bold and ambitious film that links six stories set in differing time periods which uses actors to play roles in each of the periods as if to suggest that we are all linked, through time, history and space. I saw the film over a week ago on a plane and while I usually try to write reviews within 24 hours of seeing a movie, it wasn't possible with Cloud Atlas. The time between seeing and reviewing as well as the nature of the movie means that I don't feel I can write a proper review so I'm just going to bullet point some of the thoughts I had while watching it. So here we go.
The opening five minutes are incredibly confusing.
An 8" screen in the back of a seat on a plane isn't the optimum medium to watch a movie like Cloud Atlas.
I experienced character overload.
In the story set in 2012 London, Tom Hanks resembles an angry, mahogany Pirate with a half Irish, half Cockney accent. It's ridiculous.
Korean Hugh Grant doesn't work.
The film is bold for taking the Babel style interconnected stories movie a step further.
A friend from work left after 80 minutes. I don't really blame her.
Monday, 18 March 2013
Monday, 2 April 2012
For me the film can be viewed in to ways. The first is as a children’s animation and the second is as a contemporary political analogy. As far as being a good children’s film goes, I don’t think it is funny enough and lacks the adventure of the likes of Finding Nemo. The penguins are cute though and it is funny to see a penguin tap dance. I think the film is much more successful in its subtle look at modern political, racial and religious tensions. The film goes to great lengths to have its lead character treat religion as superstitious nonsense which is very brave for a children’s film. Mumble is at logger heads with the religious establishment throughout the film and tries to uncover rational explanations for questions that the rest of the colony attributes to their penguin god. Like the fantastic Wall-E, the film has strong ecological themes. It is a damming study of the problems caused by human activity in and around the Antarctic.
Where the film’s solid political stance falls down is in its racial stereotyping. The only black inspired penguin is portrayed by Robin Williams as a jive-talking religious preacher while Mumble is joined by four Latino inspired penguins that are all party animal, women harassing Adelie penguins. The female Adelie’s are even more stereotypical than the males. I think that this type of stereotyping is lazy at best.
The songs are all fairly modern and well performed and the dancing is funny. Unfortunately, not much else is. The jokes are cheap and fall flat. Also the films central romantic thread feels a bit forgotten. On the plus side the animation looks great. Some scenes look real and the film makes great use of camera angles.
Overall, the film is a bit of a letdown. While I think its attitude towards religion deserves praise and the animation is very good, it is quite boring and not very funny. It has a good idea at its centre and I liked the central character but little else.