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Complex Storytelling of CLOUD ATLAS benefits from Blu-Ray/DVD release

May 20, 2013|Elliott Serrano, for Redeye

When the Wachowski’s (architects of The Matrix Trilogy) set out to adapt David Mitchell’s brain-bending sci-fi novel CLOUD ATLAS for the big screen, I’m sure there were many who thought it couldn’t be done. In fact, during one of the behind-the-scenes featurettes on the recent Blu-Ray/DVD release of the film, they admit to having their doubts at times. But after viewing the film in the comfort of my own home, with the leisure pace allowed by the home theater experience, I would attest that they succeeded in creating a film as complex and compelling as the book that inspired it.

CLOUD ATLAS tells 6 different stories that take place across space and time, and yet are all linked together. Starring names like Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent and Hugo Weaving, the film takes viewers from a Pacific Ocean voyage in the 1840’s; to the travails of a young composer in 1930’s Scotland; to a murder mystery set in 1970’s San Francisco; to a present-day farce featuring a bumbling English book editor; to an action epic set in a futuristic “Neo Seoul”; to a post-apocalyptic tale where the salvation of humankind hangs in the balance.

Quite a mouthful, no?

Considering the mash-up of genres,  the film is a bit disjointed at first, but the narrative quickly achieves an almost musical rhythm that propels the story along at a spellbinding pace. Clever cuts and transitions work to weave the seemingly disparate stories into a single tapestry that rewards the viewer for hanging on for the  run-time of 172 minutes. And with the benefit of the “pause” button to allow for bathroom and snack breaks, the experience isn’t as demanding as it would be in a movie theater.

After viewing the film, you will also benefit from watching the “Focus Points” special features that detail how the Wachowski’s - along with co-director Tom Tykwer - managed to juggle filming 6 different films simultaneously and merging them into one single movie. Like CLOUD ATLAS itself, it’s an impressive undertaking.

CLOUD ATLAS GETS A GEEK FACTOR RATING OF 4 SHOOTING STARS (out of 4)

"Cloud Atlas" available NOW on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and Digital Download

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