Oct 23 2013 11:00am

Cloud Atlas One Year Later: Why 2012’s Biggest Flop is Also its Biggest Triumph

Cloud Atlas was never destined to be popular. When David Mitchell published a novel featuring six different stories set in six different time periods, nested one inside the other like Russian dolls, Hollywood said an adaptation was impossible. When the Wachowski Siblings bought the rights to the book, studios were still doubtful. Even after the film had been financed, investors backed out left and right. Nobody but the filmmakers seemed to believe that audiences could handle a movie this big .

As it turns out, the naysayers were right. Cloud Atlas flopped at the domestic box office, earning a paltry $9.6M its opening weekend against a $100M+ production budget. The film polarized critics; it barely scraped the 60% mark on Rotten Tomatoes; and it earned the wrath of many a movie-goer who found the three-hour film too long and confusing. Exploring the continuity of transmigrating souls across the centuries is not typical Hollywood fare, especially not for a Tom Hanks film. If the Wachowskis had been gunning for a new Matrix, what they seemed to get was another Speed Racer.

I adore Cloud Atlas. It’s huge, smart, ambitious, profound—everything a Hollywood film ought to be. And I’m not alone in saying so. The movie received a ten-minute standing ovation at its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival—a sign that the filmmakers had created something very special. Only later did the negative buzz begin. But those movie-goers who enjoyed Cloud Atlas didn’t just like it—they loved it, passionately. Some have even called this film a masterpiece. So who’s right?

Cloud Atlas tells six stories across six eras. Each story has its own characters, setting, and plot... and each story is a different genre . First there’s the redemption drama of Adam Ewing, the slave trader fighting for his life on the high seas. Next is the romantic tragedy of homosexual composer Robert Frobisher, set in pre-World War II England. Third up, a tight thriller about corporate wrong-doing at a nuclear power plant, starring Halle Berry as an investigative journalist in 1973. Number four is a modern-day comedy about a book publisher confined to a nursing home. Next comes a sci-fi epic taking place in 22nd century “Neo Seoul,” the star of which is a synthetic human slave. Finally, there’s the fantasy-esque tale of a post-apocalyptic future in which humanity has regressed into primitive tribes whose language is barely recognizable, with an elite few retaining the high technology of yesteryear and striving to escape the planet.

Holy interlocking stories, Batman! All of that is one film. The first act sets up the six tales in a (mostly) linear fashion, but from there forward, the brakes are off and (unlike in the book) the stories become as interwoven as threads of karma itself. One moment we’re in a car chase through 1970s San Francisco ; the next, a tension-filled composer’s mansion in 1936; then we’re soaring through the VFX-filled skies of future Korea; then it’s back to the high seas once again. Never has one movie jumped across so many settings and eras—and this isn’t even a time travel story.

And yet there’s a beautiful continuity to the whole thing. The six stories interlock like pieces of a puzzle, each one containing bits of the others. Every protagonist shares a birthmark in the shape of a comet. Sets and props are shared between the tales. Each story has a character reading a journal, book, or video from the previous era, which in turns affects the next storyline. And then there’s the “Cloud Atlas Sextet” itself, which not only forms the central story arc of 1936, but appears as a chant amongst the fabricants of Neo Seoul; as a swelling score in 1849; in a record shop in 1973; and so on. (The “Cloud Atlas Sextet” also refers to the six main characters and their connected fates.)

As dizzying as all this might sound, the storytelling is seamless . Great writing and masterful editing play a major role: the film might cut from a bursting fire hydrant to a surging sea, or from a prisoner in the future to a prisoner in the past; every cut seems imbued with meaning. ( The movie was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing.) The Wachowskis (and co-director Tom Twyker) also did an amazing job adapting the book into a screenplay, especially considering that the original novel has an entirely different structure than the film.

Another element that ties things together is the clever casting. While the characters in each time period are unique, the same actors play all the roles. In various time periods, Halle Berry plays a a young black reporter, an old Asian man, and a white Jewish woman. Ben Whishaw is not only Frobisher, but Timothy Cavendish’s freckly-faced sister-in-law. And there’s meaning implied in many of the casting choices. Hugo Weaving always plays an oppressive character such as a slave trader or a Nazi. Halle Berry is always good, gradually rising from slavery to become a savior of mankind. Tom Hanks is generally selfish, except when he meets Halle Berry and falls in love, while a similar echo occurs between Jim Sturgess and Doona Bae, whose love affair repeats in both 1849 and 2144. All of this was added by the filmmakers.

 As an aside: m any critics found fault in casting actors and actresses in roles that required make-up to change their sex or race. But these casting choices are thematic, reinforcing the idea that all beings eventually get reincarnated into every race, sex, clan, and situation. Regardless of whether you believe this notion, the movie does an amazing job of expressing it; it misses the point to get caught up in political correctness here.

In short, this movie is completely unique, unlike anything that came before it. It’s perhaps no surprise that so many rotten tomatoes got thrown at the screen—audiences tend to prefer their entertainment relaxing rather than soul-searing and thought-provoking—but the greatest stories are the ones that voyage unflinchingly into the depths of the human condition. So while Cloud Atlas may never be a movie with mass appeal, I do think it will become a timeless classic, because it’s just too good to become anything else.

At the very least, Cloud Atlas will always have a special spot on my own media shelf. In this life, and the next, and maybe even the one after that.

Brad Kane writes for and about the entertainment industry. You can c heck out his website, like his page on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, or just email him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Matt Williams
1. sprainogre
I loved this movie when I finally had a chance to see it. I missed it in theaters, which still upsets me. But after borrowing a copy from one of my siblings, I knew I had to own it. And the soundtrack. And the book. Ordered the whole mess of them from Amazon that day. (Still need to find a time when I'm not bogged down with school work and can actually read the book...)

All that said, it was amazing! Simply incredible. One of my favorite movies ever.
Rusty Patti
2. Rusty Patti
I'm also a fan of this movie. It was one of two movies that I rewatched immediately. The other was Donnie Darko.
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
Good article and I agree. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit but it clearly isn't to everyone's taste. But then, neither is Citizen Kane.
Rusty Patti
4. Nissa N.
This is probably one of my favorite movies of all time. Both the book and movie are so wonderously fabulous I can't even find the words to describe them.

(Just got the movie for my birthday four days ago! Happiest day ever.)
Rusty Patti
6. shellywb
I was surprised by how many people couldn't see beyond to surface of this movie, beautiful though it is, to see everything happening beneath. It is an incredible adaptation, and while I don't know if it's one of my top 10, it's certainly a masterpiece.
Rusty Patti
7. tbob
"I enjoyed the movie quite a bit but it clearly isn't to everyone's taste."

Exactly. The reviewer seems to think people who didn't like this movie are simpletons who couldn't understand it or timid souls who only want to watch the movie equivalent of comfort food. Offputting in a review, to say the least.
Rusty Patti
8. Dougg
I thought it was a fantastic adaptation of a book I didn't like very much. Beautiful, clever and ambitious, but I just couldn't get into the stories - they all seemed to be pretending at depths that just aren't there. Obviously others got more out of it than I did, and that's great.
Sean Tabor
9. wingracer

I don't see anything like that in this review. The only shot fired at people that didn't like it was against those that put it down for the non PC casting which in this one particular case I think is justified.
Anthony Pero
10. anthonypero
I didn't get that from the review at all, tbob. Can you point to where it is that you felt Brad was trying to make this point?

As far as the movie itself goes... I watched it over two days with my 14 year old neice.

Her comment when the credits rolled summed up the "other side" for whom this movie is not to taste quite succinctly: "Well, THAT happened." She understood perfectly what was going on, but it just wasnt for her.

Meanwhile, I teared up on about 4 different occasions (I've been known to tear up during both sports films and Disney films, so this is not a good indicator of quality, lol). The film stuck with me emotionally for days afterwards.
George Jong
11. IndependentGeorge
@9, @10 :
This is the line that bothers me:
It’s perhaps no surprise that so many rotten tomatoes got thrown at the screen—audiences tend to prefer their entertainment relaxing rather than soul-searing and thought-provoking
This isn't even a subtle implication - it's an explicit statement that if you didn't like the movie, it's because you want something relaxing instead of thought-provoking.
Rusty Patti
12. Tesh
There are also those who disagree with the social and political commentary on offer. It's a movie that tries to Say Something (or several somethings), and that won't always translate to box-office success.
Anthony Pero
13. anthonypero

I have disagree. Its a generalization. They are commonly used to make points about large groups of people. They are generally true.

The only problem with using a generalization is when you try to take something that is true across a large scale and apply it to an individual. The author of the post almost certainly did not do that. The "rotten tomatoes" mentioned in your quote are a direct callback to the 60% positive score on the rotten tomatoes website--dealing with mass groups of people.

Audiences, when taken as a whole, do tend to prefer their entertainment relaxing. The author made no claims that any individuals reading this would feel the same way, nor does any seem to be implied, by my reading. The blogs author is certainly not responsible when a reader takes a generalization that is clearly applied to a large group (which is clearly signified by the use of the word audience here, coupled with the rotten tomatoes score callback) and applies it to an individual, then gets offended.
Erica May Stratton
14. Ericamayps
I love this movie. I had to rewatch it because I was not able to finish it the 1st time around. I think it just so amazing. My friend didn't really like it because it confused her. I just like how everything just fit together. I also love the soundtrack which I bought. I still need to buy the book.
Rusty Patti
15. Don O'Neill
I completely agree. This was a fantastic, original movie. The visceral negative reaction it got was because it dared to not follow the "save the cat" formula that has homogenized Hollywood in the last decade or so.

I highly recommend both the movie and the book. And, for anyone who is interested, I also recommend "The Bridge of San Luis Rey" by Thornton Wilder, which is thematically similar and provided David Mitchell one of his primary inspirations in writing Cloud Atlas. It's a short read, barely over 100 pages, and it's every bit as bittersweet and inspiring as Cloud Atlas.
Rusty Patti
16. Stefan Jones
I have yet to read the book. It is in my queue.

I found the movie wonder-filled, gripping, and profound . . . even though I don't buy the central premise of shared souls. (And I'm pretty dubious about souls.) Beautiful and horrifying.

I did not find it slow or hard to follow, but it was challenging. Deliberately challenging.

If there is any justice, Cloud Atlas will -- like Blade Runner -- be eventually be recognized for its daring and ambition.
Sky Thibedeau
17. SkylarkThibedeau
I watched streaming from Amazon one rainy Saturday afternoon. If you think of it 4th dimensionally as the progression of the Tom Hank's characters soul thru the wheel of time to enlightenment it all makes sense. It is a good vehicle for understanding Buddism and other similar Eastern beliefs which aren't as linear as our Hellenic minds are accustomed to.
Rusty Patti
18. N. Mamatas
The review has it perfectly backward. It's only the provincial multiplex dweller that would find the film's theme of "We are all connected" to be profound rather than hokey.
Rusty Patti
19. hictio
I loved the book.
The movie, IMHO, was dismal.
Kristin R
20. Lysanor
The movie was great because it was both beautiful and complex. It was very interesting seeing the same actors play all characters within different timelines. I ordered the book soon after I watched the movie and also enjoyed it, though there are some interesting differences between the two.
Alan Brown
21. AlanBrown
This review reminded me that, although I missed it in theaters, I have always wanted to give this movie a try. I am home sick, probably for a few days, perhaps this is a good opportunity to do that.
Kate Nepveu
22. katenepveu
As an aside: many critics found fault in casting actors and actresses in roles that required make-up to change their sex or race. But these casting choices are thematic, reinforcing the idea that all beings eventually get reincarnated into every race, sex, clan, and situation. Regardless of whether you believe this notion, the movie does an amazing job of expressing it; it misses the point to get caught up in political correctness here.

I made the time to see this movie in theaters (and I had two kids under the age of five at the time, so this was a serious effort). I liked a lot of it. I disliked a lot of it. But that one paragraph has me literally shaking with rage so that's all I'm going to discuss.

One does not need to be acting out of "political correctness" in order to find the yellowface in this movie upsetting. I did, profoundly and viscerally, to the point where I could barely look at the screen, for two reasons.

One: my ancestry is Korean. I know what people who have Korean ancestry look like. The makeup was awful, completely unconvincing and distracting and "uncanny valley."

Two: want to make a point about interconnectedness and reincarnation and whatever? You can still do it if you CAST MORE THAN ONE ASIAN MAIN CHARACTER. Giving the future-Korea action-romance hero role to a white dude is not equivalent to Doona Bae playing a white woman: one decreases the representation of an underrepresented group, and one does not.

The yellowface didn't hit you where you live? Fine. You're allowed to feel that way and like the movie. But it is a seriously dick move to claim that no-one else could possibly sincerely object.
Rusty Patti
23. TheAndyman
I might have a jaded view of the world but I'm pretty sure the only reason many people do not like this film is because it requires them to engage their own brains. This isn't mindless fun, this isn't pure entertainment, this is literature, a modern classic, that doesn't appeal to every person the same way. But like good literature, even if you don't "like" it, it's a movie that can be studied, compared to, referenced, and analyzed. I, personally, loved it! I feel like its one of those movies I can watch several times over the years and find something new to make me think.
Rusty Patti
24. DeathSentry
I have to say that I had trouble staying focused on the movie when watching it in the the author stated, it was deeper than I had planned for that day after a long week at work. However, I then rented it later when I was in a more open mood and found it fantastic.

And as another author wrote, noting the progression of character through time, and then the intertwining of destinies did impress me as a nascent follower of Buddhism. So in the end, I took in the broad expanse of what the movie was trying to convey and it overwhelmed me gently light a wave of enlightenment and it saddens me that a movie such as this may not be attempted again for years.
Doc Tobin
25. thegooddoctor
I totally agree...with the criticisms of the review. I think it was very simplistic and insulting. I love the book, but I found the movie dull and the stunt casting highly distracting. The script robbed the story of much of its tension, and the 'big themes' really seem very trite and obvious. That's my opinion and certainly people are entitled to enjoy the movie to their hearts' content, but this review is very self-congratultatory, as if the reviewer and the other people who 'get it' are onto something that many people are oblivous too. I don't think the movie was too deep or challenging for people. I just think it was insipid (the people who understand what that word means probably get what I'm saying).
Rusty Patti
26. iand
I wanted to like this film, but the fact that I was unable to understand 1 word in 10 that Tom Hanks was saying didn't help. Constantly mumbling (why does that happen so often!) in an invented dialect - not good.

Add to that the over-frequent scene/time changes. Just as I started to get a handle on what was going on (something which never happened when Hanks was talking), it would change again. I swear some of those scenes barely lasted 30 seconds.

Dunno - maybe I'm just a big thicky. Thicky, thicky thick. I'm off to watch Terminator 2. Soooo much better than the first - whoosh! Bangbangbang! Awwww...lookit the cute kid.
Rusty Patti
27. ASG
@25 I agree. I thought the move was okay but I kept waiting for for it to deliver something more. They dedicated nearly three hours to this, it should be something profound. Sure, they're trying to make the point that throughout history people are all the same and maybe get a little spiritual about reincarnation and eternal love, etc. Fine, that's great. We got it after an hour or so. We figured out that these are supposed to be reincarnated souls after about 20-30 minutes. It needs to go somewhere from there, but to me it didn't and it felt very underwhelming.

Also, as to the issue of "PC" in my opinion a theatrical production should -never- be cast based on a percieved need to have a multi-ethnic cast. You should cast based on the what is needed in the plot and the talent of the actors. Sure, Hae-Joo Chang could have been cast as a Korean actor, but that would mean the Korean actor would be playing a non Korean in at least 2 or 3 other timelines in not all 5. Logically it makes sense that they did it the way they did: 1/6 of the timelines are set in Korea and 1/6 of the main cast is Korean. Because of the premise of the film you can't have a full cast of any one ethnic group and all or most of the main cast needs to show up as characters in every timeline. If you're going to do this movie, you have to have actors playing across race. The only other option would be to change the plot or premise of the film.
paul Hend
28. tugthis
I appreciate your advocacy of the film. But I think that some its success in your eyes, were the things that doomed it in (more) eyes. It was too long for its format, (why not split it into several films) the main idea was difficult and may not have been as deftly presented as it required, the casting for some was problematical, and while some sequences were grippeing others were dull and overly slow.
But again, this is not a review but an encomium and nothing wrong with that, as long as you can avoid the whiff of superiority, that sometimes come with advocacy.
z drake cupsford
31. zdrakec
Cloud Atlas was absolutely brilliant, whether you read it, or watched it. Brilliant beyond belief. The novel had me slack-jawed in amazement, then the film did it again.

Just brilliant.
Alan Brown
32. AlanBrown
I understand where @22 is coming from--actors using makeup to play other races can be offensive. But as @27 said, in this movie, playing characters of other races is an unavoidable consequence of having the same actors play different interconnecting characters across the world and across time. The alternative would have been to cast appropriate actors for each segment, and have some visual or behavioral cue show us the connections between the different actors. But that would have probably been all the more confusing, as many watchers could have missed those cues.In the end, I suspect that the conceit of using the same actors in different roles overshadowed an already complex plot, overwhelmed the movie, and made it so inaccessible to so many people.
Kerwin Miller
33. tamyrlink
I loved this movie on first watch. I didn't get it all right away, I had to watch it a second and third time. But a puzzle like that is what marks a good book or movie. I showed it to my sister and she didn't get it right away either, but she loved it. She always wants to watch it when she comes over for movie night.

In my opinion, anyone who doesn't like this movie just has bad taste.
Rusty Patti
34. JM1001
"( The movie was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing.)"

Actually, no, it wasn't. You would think it would have been, though, right?

But no. The Academy snubbed the film entirely.
Brad Kane
35. bradkane
@34 - Good catch, not sure where I'd read that. The movie was indeed snubbed from the Oscar race (and the Golden Globes too, with the exception of a Best Score nomination). Thanks for the correction.
Jamil Wamubu
37. selfwise
I loved this movie, book, and score, or I mean to say I have always loved it. The crescendo of Death is only a door and the way in which that moment unfolds in the climax of the film is emotionally overwhelming to me everytime I watch the film, or start to even think about it. I longed for love for a long time in my life and thought that it might not be possible, but then due to some fortunate turn of events I was given the chance to experience love and companionship that lends credence to the notion that perhaps there are plot threads to my existence that may or may not complete themselves during my actual lifetime. And that is ok, unresolved issues in my life and relationships may in some universe or some timeline be resolved, and I can use that possibility to provide hope in my own life right now when I need it to stay on track.

Peace to all of you that were touched by this film.
Jenny Creed
38. JennyCreed
I suppose the most seamless way to solve the issue where asians are underreprestented in the movies, for this movie, would have been to change Neo Seoul to New New York and Hae-Joo Chan to Hank Jones. Could have been more respectful, or less, I'm not sure.

Otherwise, I love this movie. You can engage with it cerebrally or emotionally or both, and it's four entirely different movies depending on which; it can be six separate stories with thematic resonances and references or one story taking place in six time periods at the same time; it can be one story inspiring another five times over, or a story about people and events all inspiring each other crosswise through time, depending on and drawing strength from each other with only the most indirect knowledge of the others' existence. It makes its point with an overwhelming full-spectrum assault on the limitations of the viewer's short term memory - that the world is fully, madly overwhelming and frightening to take in all at once - in that perfect synthesis of message and delivery that maybe only one work in a generation seems to achieve.

I usually watch movies many times. But this one I couldn't stand to watch twice in a row, even though my friend I showed it to wanted to do that, unusually. It's draining. It demands more, I think than any other movie made, short of pure tragedies. But if you give in, I think it's going to stand the test of time. I think I'll still be watching Cloud Atlas a hundred years from now. It's more than a masterpiece, more a kin to what in terms of music I like to call an archetype. It might be the first movie of its kind.
Rusty Patti
39. Jose Rico Soares
The movie was visually appealing but exceptionally poor in its assembly and presentation to the audience. That's why it bombed at the box office. Gush over its artsy schmaltz all you want, it really wasn't a very good movie.
Rusty Patti
40. Rob Murano
I agree. Cloud Atlas is a masterpiece. I always loved the book, yet the movie came to me unexpectedly. Music, photography, depth, acting quality, genre intertwining... In every sense, this audiovisual composition appeals, I believe, mostly to people who's conscience goes far beyond the usual. Those who are tired of stories with linear development and overused eye catching effects will surely appreciate the true beauty, passion and message about love, loss, life and death that lie in the multidimensional core of this film. It was greatly done, and I'm sure that sensitive souls will find answers and inspiration in this masterpiece for many many years. Absolute classic.
Rusty Patti
41. Brandon c
A non-linear philosophical, if not spiritual composition. A masterpiece to some, boring, confusing to others. All in all I can compare this to music whereas a vast majority prefer a good beat and easy sing along chorus they can understand which I think everyone can enjoy once in awhile and on the other hand it takes someone cerebral to really enjoy this film and even then not all will like it, like a piece from Mozart or Picasso if you will. It's the nature of an abstract concept, yet the genius the wachowski brothers pulled off with the matrix was largely successful for three reasons with one main theme this genre of movie couldn't pull off which is 1. Action Kung foo great effects, visually stunning a great cast. 2. Very literal linear dialogue with open ended meaning. 3. It appeals to sci-fy, action, drama, romance and even dark humor fans... While both films are abstract and don't give a definitive reasoning to why the movie is the way it is one call pull it off more due to having a good beat and sing along chorus if you catch my atlas is amazing but it will never be widely considered a success for too many obvious reasons...I personally am now going to by the book because I loved it that much.
Rusty Patti
42. William J. Hoak
I had not even heard about this movie when I stumbled onto it last night on one of the HBO channels. It was just starting so I settled in to watch. Wow! What an incredible experience, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was as if someone had painted a living picture of humanity from the beginning of time all the way into a distant future. I laughed, I cried, I was happy, I was sad. Our lives, our insecurities, our deepest motives and all of our flaws were so well presented. Also great leadership, strength and courage were displayed. I didn't want it to end, but I was exhausted when it did. I will watch it again and again, for it truly is the atlas of my tribe, the human beings!
Rusty Patti
43. William J. Hoak
I had not even heard about this movie when I stumbled onto it last night on one of the HBO channels. It was just starting so I settled in to watch. Wow! What an incredible experience, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was as if someone had painted a living picture of humanity from the beginning of time all the way into a distant future. I laughed, I cried, I was happy, I was sad. Our lives, our insecurities, our deepest motives and all of our flaws were so well presented. Also great leadership, strength and courage were displayed. I didn't want it to end, but I was exhausted when it did. I will watch it again and again, for it truly is the atlas of my tribe, the human beings!
Rusty Patti
44. Velda
Wow, so many people think just because they need to think about a movie for more than 10 seconds or so it MUST be a masterpiece. It isn't difficult to understand the core premise of Cloud Atlas, and it isn't difficult to follow each individual story. What I fail to comprehend is why this movie was written in the first place. What was the point of it, the larger story behind it all? Somewhere in the movie they say that cruelties and kindnesses span across lifetimes. But you hardly see the same souls meeting each other again to resolve their karma, unless of course they're soulmates. To be honest, I was waiting (for three hours!!) for a bigger, more profound, message than the soppy, irritating message about soulmates that I got.
Maybe it's because I was expecting a movie about reincarnation. But it's not about reincarnation, it's a movie with six rather run-of-the-mill stories about characters that just happen to be reincarnated people meeting each other again.
As for the makeup to turn white guys into Asian guys, I hated it. Not because I was offended, but because Hugo Weaving and James D'arcy make for some seriously butt-ugly Asians. Why couldn't they have cast different actors, and I don't know, maybe spread it out over more than one movie? Because I couldn't even recognize half the actors in their makeup, so I missed the point of them playing different roles anyway. The film convention of having reincarnated people all be look-alikes has always irritated me, anyway, because obviously that's not how it really works.
Another annoyance: Why do the two straight couples get to be together and be a perfect couple in at least one of their lives, but the two gay guys don't? It seems the only lifetimes where Halle Berry and Bae Doona get their soulmates is when they incarnate as women - why not when they're male? Or if their soulmate incarnated as a woman as well?
I also couldn't understand Tom Hanks and Halle Berry's mumbling, so I missed half that plot anyway. Not that I minded that much, because the end of the sixth story is seriously one of the most cowardly cop-out endings I have ever seen. So a few lucky human beings get saved from our nasty planet by aliens which we don't see and get taken to a brand new planet. Lovely, now they can start over and poison that planet as well.
In summation, this movie was one of the biggest, most overrated disappointments of all time for me. But not because I wanted a "relaxing" movie. Because I wanted a clever movie about relationships spanning time and lives, and that's what Cloud Atlas didn't deliver.
What the hell. I think I'll go watch reincarnation episodes of Xena again.
Rusty Patti
45. Arshton Milo
Utterly banal nonsense, a typical example of Hollywood self-indulgence, far too much money burned to enable people with no deep thoughts upstairs to look at themselves in the mirror and say "gosh I'm profound!"

The only thing atypical about this as an exercise in Hollywood self-indulgence is that wiser heads in Hollywood recognized this tripe for what it was and passed, allowing easily-impressed foreign film funds to waste their money on it.... a good example why Germany has a negligible impact on worldwide films.

I agree with the reviewer that there are six utterly run-of-the-mill plot lines that in and of themselves would never rise above C movie level. These are filmed with incredible luxury at obviously immense cost, truly technically excellent and lush filmmaking, but the result is a bit like taking a thoughtless, shallow adolescent's diary that's full of banal prattle and reproducing it as a hand-written manuscript on vellum that has capital letters illumnated by fine artists and bound in a gold binding. As pretty as the book may be the content is still banal prattle.

As if the Matrix sequels weren't enough to show the world that the Wachowskis are one-hit wonders with nothing really profound going on upstairs, the Cloud Atlas will once again prove that point.
Rusty Patti
46. Owen Shaw
The fact that this movie was not popular just goes to show how riddled down and pathetic 'average moviegoers' are expected to be in hollywood's eyes. Cloud Atlas was not only brilliantly done among special effects, soundtrack, acting and plot alike, but should have won various awards for that! No, instead we would rather see another 'twilight' or the next 'tyler perry' film, which is not funny at all by the way. People have dumbed down their expectations and manage to be satisfied with half produced films that should have had better stroylines (Iron Man 3 anyone?) I wish not to occupy such a world where movies as stunning as this are not accepted as anything less than exceptional, so perhaps a journey of my own shall begin. Maybe next time a film like this comes along, it won't be reviewed so negitively... assuming we get such a chance for one again.
Rusty Patti
47. norzo
I was so happy to read that this movie received a ten minute standing ovation at the premiere. I have been baffled since the first time I watched it as to why it isn't on everyone's top ten list.

This movie is a daringly amazing accomplishment on so many levels. To this day, my fiance and I watch it whenever it's on. It's one of our favorite movies and we constantly recommend it to our friends who we think will understand it.

After watching it about ten times, my only criticism is of the post apocalyptic story line. It is my firm belief that this movie would have been a major hit without that section. It is the only part of the movie that doesn't relate to anyone.. from the moment Susan Sarandon starts speaking gibberish to when Tom hanks starts seeing an evil imaginary green man.

But the rest of the movie more than makes up for this. Listen to Robert's voice poetically reading love letters hinting towards suicide and just try not to tear up...

If you didn't like this the movie, just watch it again and again until you love it...
Rusty Patti
48. 24frames
You use the opening Domestic weekend take as proof it's a complete flop, it isn't, It's worldwide take was $130 million and while that still classifies it as a flop, far more movies in 2012 didn't even surpass their production budgets like:
Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure
A Thousand Words
Rock of Ages
People Like Us (incredibly underrated IMO)
That's My Boy
Premium Rush
Red Tails

I could keep going, but all of these didn't even make it past the cost of their production budget some of those budgets were less than 20 million as well, so for Cloud Atlas to hit 130 mill was a miracle in and of itself and it certainly isn't the BIGGEST flop of 2012, it seems like a bit of a stretch used to make an article headline instead of accurately representing the film's performance...
Rusty Patti
49. Raime
This movie is one of the best movies ever made in my oppinion. What I like so much about it is the fact that it is completely unique, there is literally nothing like it! I understand why it never became popular, I'd estimate that 80% of my friends wouldn't like it, and 50% of them would probably turn it off after the first 30 minutes had passed. That being said these persons are part of the enormous crowd of people who believe that the fast and the furious series and other movies in that genre is the best thing that has happened to hummanity. I strongly disagree. While the fast and the furious might be a fine movie for shutting off your brain and enjoying some high-end special effects, this movie constantly makes you look for connections, consider the impressions from each of the unique stories and by the time you're done watching it you're left breathless and absolutely amazed! It is as close to perfection as a movie can get, a true masterpiece!
Rusty Patti
50. Vinicius
its not popular because in general people are dumb and they like dumb movies :)
Rusty Patti
51. Vik Marcell
A three hour film with disjointed stories loosely, and seemingly, tied together by the "universal" force known as karma.... LOL. No. Just no. This is a great example of people reaching and grasping at an illusion.

In all honesty, the film (not the stories) was boring and ran one hour too long. Self-Proclaimed Intellectuals claim that the rest of us simply "didn't get it". I say it's you SPI's that are looking to make bread from rocks. Review what you watched, and not what you thought it really was.
Rusty Patti
52. Vik Marcell
BTW... I demanded a refund after watching this film. And guess what? Three other people followed suit. The cast did great. Shame their effort was wasted. I honestly knew the film would flop at the 43 minute mark. See why for youself.
Rusty Patti
53. TommyL
51. So true. I felt the exact same way. I found it boring and no, that doesn't mean I didn't "get it".
Rusty Patti
54. aurigae
there is not a single original storyline or concept in the entire movie. I kept on thinking ive seen it all before. Just general mishmash of ideas, but no coherent plot. 3 hours is way too long for this. but yes, it is beautiful.
Rusty Patti
55. slane
I read the book years back and was warned by a girlfriend it was a hard read, she was right! I persevered and soon was enthralled. When I saw it on the shelf at a dvd shop I could not remember at all it being at the cinemas. I am bad with faces and my husband was the one who pointed out after we warched it they were all repeat performers just goes to show how lost I was also in the movie. I was just searching the web to try and find the story of how it ever got made. Definately a classic right up there with the greats an indepth sociological perspective of iconic charater types and all round great adaptation. The sheep brained masses wouldn't appreciate it of course.

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