Posts tagged movie review

DVD Review: Cloud Atlas

Everything is connected. 

Or so they would have you believe. Cloud Atlas is the newest installation brought to us by the Wachowski siblings. Now, we all know the Wachowskis from the Matrix series, and chances are most of us loved at least, or only, the first one. Here in the comic fan world, we also know them from producing the V for Vendetta movie which, to most lovers of the brilliant Alan Moore comic, left much to be desired. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this movie. I had asked a few friends what they thought of it, without revealing any details, and got very mixed reviews from them.  However, it seemed to have a great cast behind it, and has had many compliments on the graphics and stylistic choices, so I tried to keep an open mind. If you haven’t seen this film yet, don’t worry, I won’t give anything away for you.  We’ll try to keep this as spoiler-friendly as possible.

I’d like to tell you this movie is phenomenal. That it’s mind-blowing, life-changing.. all that gooey stuff. It’s simply not. It’s true that the cast was fantastic – well, most of them. To be honest, the two main leads – Tom Hanks and Halle Berry – really weren’t anything to write home about. A lot of their characters’ personalities seemed a bit forced and unimagined. To be fair, though, they each played several characters throughout the movie (six, to be precise). Mostly main characters, at that, which can’t be easy to do. However, the supporting cast was quite wonderful. By the ending credits, I was astonished to find that there were a few characters portrayed by Hugh Grant that I truly would not have guessed to be him. Another notable appearance was made by Hugo Weaving.  Of course, I’m pretty sure we all have just come to expect wonderful things from Weaving, his portrayal of Old Georgie in this was disturbing in all the right ways. Not only that, he also shows up as a comically rough-handed female nurse in a mental institution. All things considered, the casting for Cloud Atlas did lend a lot to the movie as a whole, that would have been greatly soured by a lesser cast.

What I had previously heard about the aesthetics of the film did not seem to be exaggerated either. Taking place in six different time lines, Cloud Atlas had to adapt to very different settings very quickly. The futuristic, dystopian feel of Neo Seoul was particularly interesting. In fact, let’s take a look at a scene from that time line:


CA_Infographic_J1Pretty cool, right?  The actions scenes were often spot-on, too. And the periods this story takes place in were very well represented.

However, casting and looks can only take you so far. There needs to be a great story line behind a movie like this, and that’s where it really fell short. The tagline of Everything is Connected is pushed very hard from the second you even look at a movie poster for Cloud Atlas. In fact, it’s pushed so hard that it’s quite a let down when you come to see that things.. really aren’t that connected. You’d expect the six stories to be very intertwined; you’d expect the core characters in each respective timeline to suffer the same general pitfalls, and learn the same overall lessons as they may relate to them, personally. I’m just going to rip that band-aid off right now – they don’t. There are certain aspects that are passed down through timelines, but they just aren’t enough to connect the characters together as much as you want them to. If you take a look at the infographic here (click to enlarge), it explains individual items that are passed between characters, but these items, with the notable exception of Sonmi-451 and 2346 Hawaii, really don’t mean very much in the grand scheme of the story. The way you’re built up to believe that everything will connect on a profound level ends up being a huge let down. This entire story seemed like it spent two and a half hours driving and driving to a point, and it just never got there.  Frankly, it was disappointing.

Cloud Atlas has a fair amount of well-delivered humor, and a good portion of fun action sequences. The cast obviously had a lot of fun with this one, and their efforts definitely show. Six different timelines are very beautifully portrayed, often with unique and interesting styles.  However, the soundtrack was unremarkable, and the story was infuriating. This is the kind of movie that would be fun to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon when you have nothing better to do, but it’s absolutely not something I’ll be revisiting anytime soon.



1000281102BRDFLTOI would, however, like to mention something I found particularly wonderful.  This isn’t even about the movie, though, it’s about the packaging.  One of the ways you can get this DVD is in a combo-pack. This comes with a DVD, Blu-Ray Disc, and an optional digital download. I really have to hand it to WB and the movie industry on this one. Giving consumers options for how they want to view a product they own is a long-awaited idea that we’ve all been hoping for.


That said, Cloud Atlas available NOW on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and Digital Download.  I’d love to hear what you guys thought of it.

Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin

As a complete stranger to the world-famous works of Hergé, I went into The Adventure of Tintin with no expectations, but a lot of curiosity. I’ve been hearing about this huge undertaking for years because of the top-notch talent involved. Directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by Peter Jackson and written by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, I would have been shocked had the film not turned out to be amazing.

Any fears I had over the film vanished within a few minutes, although I was surprised by the playful tone of the opening credits which were an homage to the original cartoons and a basic, silent introduction to the main character. Tintin, as we quickly learn, is a young reporter who is intelligent, resourceful and successful. The audience receives no real backstory on this character and somehow, I didn’t really mind.

I was mildly curious as to how this young man come to live alone in such a grand house, but I figured that this knowledge was a gift to loyal readers of the comic. The film was a roller coaster from beginning to end. There was very little downtime to dwell on character development, but the exquisite animation of Tintin made me feel an instant connection to the characters. This was the first time I have seen a motion capture animated film where a human character felt so real that I didn’t stop and think, there’s something not quite right here. You could see the soul behind his eyes and I wanted to go on an exciting journey with him.

While I could imagine the story being filmed with real actors, the animation allowed them to honor the original comic style and to produce some truly spectacular set pieces. I can’t imagine the mind-blowing scene with the two pirate ships done with CG. I found my mouth gaping at the action sequences many a time during the short 107 minute runtime. There was humor, adventure, mystery, action galore and even some low-brow jokes for the kids in the audience.

At a time when most of the movies out in theatres are dark Oscar bait or adult action flicks, I think The Adventures of Tintin is the perfect movie to see with the whole family this holiday season. Kids will love the visuals and the belching humor and adults will crack up at hilarious cameos and gawk at the fight sequences. I sincerely hope that American audiences will support this European phenomena so that we can all receive the second two parts of this planned trilogy.

One final word on what format to see the film in. I went all out and viewed it in spectacular 3D IMAX. The 3D is subtle, but the animation stayed crisp and beautiful and it added a lot to my viewing pleasure. There was a mild distortion from the glasses if I didn’t look head-on the whole time, but it was some of the better 3D that I’ve seen out there and I would definitely recommend it if it’s available to you. Enjoy everyone!

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