Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cloud Atlas, Space Travel, and Souls

I saw Cloud Atlas tonight, and I must say my favorite part was at the very end, with its revelatory punchline about space travel.  This was not only satisfying but appropriate, because, after all, the movie does have "cloud" in its title.   Before the digital cloud there were and manifestly still are clouds above us in the real sky, and I take our capacity to get beyond them - now just to our solar system but someday far beyond - to be one of the most inspiring aspects of our existence and therefore of this movie.

There were other good things in the movie.   Speaking of digital, the neo-Seoul segment had lots of that, along with a powerful, exciting mini-story of clones and heroes that rang with the best of The Matrix, which is probably why the hero of this segment looked so much like Neo.

Speaking of which, Hugo Weaving played a major role in Cloud Atlas - actually, major roles, as did all of the major actors - and delivered some of his patented brilliant sheer evil, soulless bad guy, along with  a bad guy who may have turned to good guy in the neo-Seoul segment.   Tom Hanks also put in some fine performances, especially as the lead in the two farthest future segments, including the final one that finds his character along with Halle Berry's as grandparents on a planet far from Earth.   These two future segments also offered some fine future evolved English - I thought I heard the Hanks character say he needs to "cog" a situation, meaning he needs to understand it, for example - which gives Cloud Atlas a bit of Clockwork Orange resonance.

There was even some good comedy on hand in the final parts of the Cavendish segment - set in 2012 Britain - well played by Jim Broadbent and company.   Not every segment was too my liking, though.  For some reason, the music segment in 1936 Britain didn't ring as true as it should have, or maybe it's just that I'm not a big fan of suicide.   And although the 1848 segment had some moments, I found it slow going.

But all in all, Cloud Atlas deserves to be called a tour-de-force, not only because of the stories which were stunning, but because of the quiet way the lives all did seem to play - in the musical sense - so well together through history into the future.   This is no time travel movie, but that's ok.   Cloud Atlas tells us souls are inherently connected through time just by their very being.


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