Cloud Atlas Blu-Ray Review

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Cloud Atlas available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and Digital Download 5/14

The Movie: 8/10
The past, the future, now, it’s all the same. It’s all part of the Cloud Atlas….or maybe I’m full of it. I have no idea what the Cloud Atlas means exactly, as a title, but I do understand the interweaving time and crisscrossing stories. It’s candy for my movie watching brain. More satisfying than a Werther’s Original and just a little less amazing than a gummy worm. I have a very specific taste in candy….but my movie love goes beyond sugary superficiality.

Cloud Atlas is one of those movies that widened my eyes and let in a whole bunch of visual experiences. Not all the ideas are new or unexpected, but they are all presented in a way that makes my brain satisfied and wanting more. That’s kind of vague. I know it’s hard to process for some people, since I do write-up these thoughts on movies every week, but the more I like a movie the less I want to say. I”m not a summer-upper, or a play-by-player. What I am compelled to share about my movie watching adventures isn’t a nit-picking of every technical detail, it’s more about how I felt while I was watching. Cloud Atlas gave me lots of feelings…..that’s what I dig about watching movies.

Some movies give me the feeling that my IQ is dropping with every line, every scene (Ted is a good example of this), while something like Cloud Atlas makes me feel like I might not fully understand what’s going on, but in a good way. I am challenged to keep up. With the flash forward and backward nature of the way the story is told, I sometimes remind myself not to get too hung up on little things that might mean something because then I get lost and don’t get the bigger picture. That’s the beauty of the Wachowski siblings, they tell a story with a certain gutsy, sometimes snooty, sometimes overly pseudo-intellectually but it’s just the right push I need to think about what I am watching. If a movie makes me think about anything outside my expectations of what the movie was supposed to be, I’m thrilled.

Cloud Atlas has a bunch of famous people, we all know that by now. Most of the time everyone  does a fine job, it’s just the sort of overly caricatured characters who might have a few cracks in their presentation. Glaringly, Hanks plays a British thug with an accent that is almost embarrassing, but it’s Hanks so everyone probably just said it was awesome at the time. Berry is who she is, sometimes she shines through with an excellent emotional tug, and then the rest of the time she is just Halle Berry being actressy. They are not the only two people, obviously, but when I am not compelled to detail someone’s performance that means they did their jobs beautifully, masterfully even at times in this movie. Emotions run high in a lot of the stories and scenes and I was always right there with the characters, no cracks to make me pay attention to the actor.

If I need to sum up this movie….I can’t.

I say watch it and let it just soak in, and then watch it again. That’s what I plan to do. The combination of sci-fi thriller, farcical current drama, 40’s love story, 19th century drama drama, and futuristic post-apocolypicish transcendent tale, is a trip I want to take a few more times, just so I know I didn’t miss anything.

Features: 7/10

  • A Film Like No Other – A seven minute promo that takes a broad look at this complex movie. Lot’s of talking heads you know the drill.
  • Everything Is Connected – The movie has lots of interwoven storylines, here we take a look at how and why everything is connected.
  • Spaceships, Slaves & Sextets – Twkyer and the Wachowski’s sit down and discuss the intricate details of the plot. It’s a shame this only runs for eight minutes as there is a lot of talk that makes some parts of the movie much clearer.
  • The Bold Science Fiction Of Cloud Atlas – A short featurette which deals with the Sci-Fi of the movie. They even created a language for those future people to speak.
  • The Impossible Adaptation – How many times have we heard of a book that would be unfilmable? Well this book actually was quite hard to bring to the screen. Here we learn why?
  • DVD & UV Digital Copy

Cover Art and Menus: 4/10
Boring cover. That is not a sentence, it’s a comment on my lack of interest in this cover. The menu is functional, and that’s all there is to the packaging.

Audio & Video: 8/10
The first thing I noticed when I fired up Cloud Atlas was how clean and sharp the image was. This is partly due to the state of the art camera’s the Wachowski’s use but also Warner’s awesome 1080P AVC encode. I was worried that cramming almost four hours of content onto one Blu-Ray disc would compromise the image somewhat but that is not a problem at all. Colors are warm and full of life, flesh tones are lifelike and carry over the different segments. This is a jaw dropping movie experience that not only looks great has some actual content to dig the old brain matter into.

While Cloud Atlas does have some action scenes the soundtrack here is almost handled as if it’s a romantic comedy. If you are expecting a bombastic experience this is not it. What the soundtrack does do though is ease you through the movie without a dropped syllable or muddy sentence. Cloud Atlas is dense and you need to see and hear every detail, this DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track does that job just don’t expect to be blown away.

Value: 8/10
If you want to watch it multiple times, just go buy it right now and you will get your money’s worth. The movie is awesome and the extras are really good. This movie will expand some of your thinking, even if it’s just one tiny little molecule. For that any price is fair 🙂

Overall Score 8.5/10