The best movie of 2012 and possible one of the best movies of the decade. And it's finally fanedited... into an amazing and new experience.
"Cloud Atlas" is proof that truly original, thought-provoking and intelligent blockbusters can be produced, and produced well. It also displays huge creativity and workmanship on a scale rarely seen in the multiplexes these days. It’s set in the past and the future; it’s every genre – it’s every movie that’s worth seeing.
Now, nesting doll structure (aka book structure) of the edit helps to focus more on the individual stories which are part of one big story of the humanity. We can still see and feel all these connections and that the characters can “hear” each others’ voices through the ages. I’m happy to finally have that version of the movie that was on my mind for a long time.
Is the fanedit better than original movie. No… it’s different and it points a new direction. It can be seen (multiple times) for newcomers and those who have seen the original movie and yet, there is still a lot of things to be discovered.
If because of the mosaic structure the movie didn’t get the deserved attention, now there is an opportunity to see it in a straight way.
A wonderful viewing experience. This is the way the story was meant to be told. The nested structure really does let the viewer get involved in each story more fully and lets the suspense build up. As for making a sense that everything is connected, well that was always a little forced and pretty much about characters having deja vu every so often. Other philosophical points are more convincing, especially that fighting for the good is always important even if it seems to fail.
Avid 4D hasn't exactly split the stories in half to make the nested structure. It's more like an anthology of 6 stories in chronological order, and then you get the endings of all 6 in reverse order. I think it works pretty well, since you've spent enough time with each story, you can easily pick up the endings where they left off, plus you want to find out how each story ends.
The stories and scenes are bolted together and the seams are sometimes pretty obvious, usually with a fade to black and silence. I noticed it for sure but it's not too distracting, and other joins are very smooth. The picture quality is glorious, extra props to Avid 4D for a spectacular encode.
Do you recommend this edit?
Thanks Brumous... I'm glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate your review.
Have you seen the theatrical cut of Cloud Atlas? Did you enjoy it? No matter the answers to these questions, this is an edit worth seeking out. I, for one, did see the original and felt kind of "meh" about it. I like a lot of things about it, I dislike some things, but ultimately I feel like it doesn't earn its profundities. The new structure in this edit certainly makes it easier to follow, and spending more time with these characters instead of jumping away just as we get a handle on what's going on gives us more time to consider the meaning of what we're seeing. Unfortunately, it also wreaks havoc with the pacing, meaning you really feel the runtime. Also, in compartmentalizing the stories, it breaks up what was an unclassifiable meditation on life and humanity into a series of vignettes with wildly disparate tones. You'll be watching a romantic tragedy for a few minutes, then a comedy, then a sci-fi actioner, and so on. I like all of those things, but if you're not digging a particular story or style, you're going to be stuck watching it for a bit anyway, twice.
Aside from all of this, though, Cloud Atlas: Everything is Connected is a fascinating exercise in editing! When you consider that the film started life with a mosaic structure and a (gorgeous) ever-present soundtrack tying everything together, watching these bits and pieces reorganized into larger chunks that work on their own while still retaining much of the (gorgeous, truly) soundtrack is astounding. There are a (very) few moments where you can sense the edits or hear a bit of dialed-down soundtrack in the background, but they are few and far between and don't even come close to ruining the experience. This is an impressive edit, make no mistake.
I still don't think the movie is very successful in what it set out to do, but I believe it's still worth watching. Tom Tykwer and the Wachowski's shot the hell out of this movie, the production design is terrific, the cast all really went for it (Tom Hanks especially is a blast), the makeup while frequently distracting is still really interesting, and did I mention the score? So even if it's all a bunch of hooey, it's nonsense made by pros. Oh, and the HD MP4 looked great, no complaints.