Cloud Atlas Extended Featurette: That Bold & Original Blockbuster You’ve Been Asking For

Published 3 years ago by , Updated October 25th, 2012 at 9:42 am,

Personally speaking, I’m going to be watching the box office earnings of Cloud Atlas like a hawk. Not necessarily because I want to see the Wachowskis and their co-writer/director Tom Tykwer achieve a big win for themselves (not that I’m opposed to that outcome or anything) – but rather because I want to see just how much support a “different” and “original” blockbuster film gets (or doesn’t get).

Everyday, we here at Screen Rant are inundated with complaints from those around the Web who like to vent their frustrations with Hollywood’s so-called lack of originality (see: responses to the Evil Dead or Red Dawn remakes) – but as the latest featurette for Cloud Atlas goes to great lengths (literally) to argue, the film is attempting to give audiences something they’ve truly never seen before.

Based on author David Mitchell’s novel of the same name, Cloud Atlas attempts to tell an at once cosmic  – and yet, very human –  story of destiny, cause and effect, and the enduring power of the soul. Actors like Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, Keith David and many others undergo numerous radical transformations to play characters that vary in era, attitude, race and even gender – in order to convey the idea of a soul’s evolution over time, and the bits that both change and remain the same as that process unfolds.

The film runs all of its various story threads simultaneously (rather than covering one epoch at a time in separate vignettes or chapters), starting off as a dizzying and somewhat confusing web that reaches thematic convergence as the threads between each tale (and the characters within) become clearer and clearer. If that explanation makes you go “Huh? What?” well… welcome to the world of newness and originality.

Tom Hanks in Cloud Atlas Cloud Atlas Extended Featurette: That Bold & Original Blockbuster Youve Been Asking For

So far, the biggest points of interest about the film seem to be in seeing the Wachowskis – the sibling team behind The Matrix Trilogy and Speed Racer – returning to the film circuit (especially after Larry Wachowski was transformed into Lana Wachowski), and the controversy emanating from certain sectors over the race-swapping that the actors in the film undergo in order to play their various parts. The overall intent and thematic message that the filmmakers and actors articulate in this featurette’s latter segments has yet to gain significant foothold in the discourse.

Will all those people who lament the lack of something fresh in Hollywood turn out to support a movie that is attempting to do just that? Or will Cloud Atlas fail to achieve success, to the tune of the usual “Oh, it didn’t appeal to me for [insert superficial reason]” excuses – ergo re-affirming studios’ reliance on recycling used properties?

We’ll know soon enough, as Cloud Atlas hits theaters on October 26, 2012.

Source: WB (via Movie Clips)

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  1. Something original that few people will see. Instead they will be watching ____________ part 5 or the remake of _____________, and this movie will open with 5-10 million and be considered a flop.

    Go see this and any other original film, even if you are only a little interested. Support originality and creativity. STOP WATCHING MINDLESS SEQUALS AND REMAKES!

    Unfortunately I can`t put my money where my mouth is on opening week. I have no idea when this will open in Japan.

    • Well its based off a book so not original.

  2. I wholeheartedly endorse this message. I really hope that people see Cloud Atlas this weekend. Not only to encourage original storytelling but also because it’s very good and highly entertaining!

  3. Hopefully the marketing is strong enough to entice people. Seems like it faces a challenge selling the concept, particularly after Speed Racer.. which kinda lost the directors some of the trust / goodwill built up by the initial Matrix movie.

    I didnt really have a strong reaction to the movie initially. It seemed like a spectacle / high concept that may not really have much depth. I’m getting more interested and excited to see it now.. especially after hearing the actors talk about their experiences and thoughts.

  4. I know I won’t be watching this because I’m trying to save my money (plus I have the Patriots/Rams game to watch this sunday at Wembley Stadium in London, England wit cab fares thrown in which are always expensive, amongst other things to pay for).

    It definitely feels intriguing as a premise and I’d probably enjoy it but I just won’t be able to see it initially. I already missed out on The Expendables 2 for the same reason a few months back and will be stuck not seeing The Hobbit until next year when it’s on tv.

    Thing is, people complain about a lack of originality but still eat up a movie whether it’s a remake, a similar idea to something before or what have you (just look at the huge amounts of cash Avatar raked in despite being a story that’s been around since the 19th century at the least).

    I can also somehow guarantee that Cloud Atlas won’t be entirely original either because whether based on a book or not, the ideas will have originated elsewhere, especially the apparent spiritual overtones I’m getting from the descriptions.

  5. I saw it. Cloud Atlas is a mediocre film at best with little to no entertainment value. The 6+ timelines as a whole are uninteresting, predictable, cliche as are the individual plots within each timeline. The sci fi action story was a poor knock off of Equilibrium. The Caucasian male actors in ethnic prosthetic make up were very distracting. The futuristic post Apocalyptic world ripped straight off of Mad Max/Waterworld right down to the way they talked was laughable. A smorgasbord of different genres each poorly executed. Red Box Rental at most.

  6. Despite their outwardly calm and softly-spoken demeanor, the Wachowski siblings have a deep wellspring of hatred and anger towards conservatives and Christians; the swipes at George W Bush and Ariel Sharon in ‘The Matrix Reloaded’, the hateful and toxic screed that was ‘V for Vendetta’, and let’s not forget their thus-far-unfilmed ‘Cobalt Neural 9′ project whose $20m budget every studio declined to finance because it’s about the murder of George W Bush by two homosexual army privates… yeah, they’re all about love those crazy Wachowski pair, the laughs never stop!

    I don’t care whether one of the Wachowski pair has deep psychological problems with his gender identity, it’s his business, it’s the films that count and it will be interesting to see how ‘Cloud Atlas’ holds up this weekend, but with a near-three-hour run time, difficult and complex subject matter, an R-rating, and the fact Warner Bros are releasing it on less than 2, 000 screens, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s massive flop #2 for the Wachowskis, after the colossal bomb that was ‘Speed Racer’… I hold no ill-will or malice against the Wachowskis, I just wish they’d keep their more extreme political sides in check and make movies for ALL people not just liberals.

    • You are argueing for a more conservative restrictive Christian dogma to be imposed which will not result in movies for all people just people like you. What makes conservative Christians so special anyway?

      • Well said Xandra.

      • Xandra, Northern Star made a good point. And his point is the truth. The Wachowskis do have it in for Christians and conservatives, they have made the claim many times. He
        Norther Star never said Christians were special. He mostly wrote about his opinion of the movie and the Wachowskis. But you took one word (Christian) and ran with it. His comment was more political than religous. I just dont get the Christian hate. People like you want tolerance but you do not want to be tolerant of others who do not believe as you do.

        • Well said Alpine.

          • There is no hate I just asked what makes them so special as opposed to anybody else. Whay should their views be any more important than someone who disagrees with them. Frankly I don’t care which god you believe in and your political views just don’t impose them on me and then lecture to me about why I should care.

        • Filmmakers have a right to invest their beliefs in their films. So many great movies would not exist otherwise. Encouraging filmmakers to not invest their pov in films is just counter intuitive to the process, and bordering on censorship really.

          • Exactly. I completely agree with you Sambo, see the film, don’t see the film if it offends your sensibilities so much. However don’t try and prevent everyone else from viewing it as its intended.

            • Xandra, I firmly contend that the Wachowskis have a hateful, anti-Christian/conservative, and a radical anti-authority/capitalist agenda in their films… in the first ‘Matrix’ film it’s not so prominent because they didn’t have carte blanche on complete creative control of their projects the way they did after that movie’s deserved success, but it’s clear as day in everything after that. And you say there’s no hate on the Wachowskis part, then what would YOU call a script that’s about the cold-blooded MURDER of a former President whose political policies the writers may happen to agree with, and why has just about EVERY studio in town (which aren’t exactly bastions of right-wing sentiment) declined to fund it…???

              I’m not asking for special treatment, I believe in the First Amendment, but that also includes my right to call them out on the hypocrisy and hate they peddle whilst preaching about love and tolerance.

              I’ll not go see ‘Cloud Atlas’ just because of the Wachowskis extreme political views, but they certainly don’t help in making me want to go see it, the far-Left in Hollywood need to realize that if you stick your finger in the eye of much of your potential audience, sooner rather than later you’re going to LOSE much of that audience, it’s simple really…

              • Oops, typo there, I meant to say “… whose political policies the writers may happen to DISAGREE with…”, you always catch a misspelling after you’ve posted, typical, but there it’s corrected, resume normal service…

  7. I just got back from the premiere of Cloud Atlas and I thought it was brilliant. The film has a ton of heart, I had to compose myself afterward because i was an emotional wreck, lol.

  8. I was just wondering…how, if it’s at all possible, would any of the actors in this be nominated for awards? Would they be nominated for all their roles in the film or can they only be nominated for one character?

    • Each actor only plays one character, its just that each character has multiple lives, if i am understanding it correctly.

      So every iteration the actor plays is essentially still a portrayal of the one character, and will be considered/awarded as such, would be my guess.

      Good question though.

      • Definitely brings some thought to what we define as a role/character though, that’s for sure.

  9. Excited to see it.

    Poor grammar and 2 spelling mistakes.

    • Wrote this post as I was running out the door to see the film. Fixed some of the mistakes you mentioned. Thanks for being civil about it.

  10. I am not a big fan of the Wachowski siblings. The first Matrix movie was their only success imo. I am also not a fan of reincarnation which seems to be at the center of this movie. I will probably still see it just because it looks very unique. Will I pay to see it in the movie theater. Probably not.

    • Ditto on all counts.

      • @Alpine, not a fan of re-incarnation, lol. Hopefully you are not disappointed if that DOES turn out to be the case for us all, hehe. Though chances are we wouldn’t know if it was.

        If only we knew, eh? Though personally I like a good mystery.

  11. I can’t wait to see it. The negative reviews are have no effect on my desire to see this. Here’s an awesome review of it by a whacked out Finnish film critic. Just great. Hopefully the bad review critics who “didn’t get it” won’t stop people from going.

    • @Jill – We’ve asked you several times not to post links to your own review in our review articles. I’m placing you on automoderation.

      Paul Young – Moderator