Blu-ray Review “Cloud Atlas”

cloudatlasActors: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess
Directors: Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Running Time: 172 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I had the privilege of having a friend that worked on this production, so I heard about this film quite a bit before it was released. I have been a fan of The Wachowski’s since “The Matrix” and the same goes for Tom Tykwer (“Run Lola Run”), who is a very talented director (and composer). “Cloud Atlas” is based on the best-selling novel of the same name written by David Mitchell. The book was sad to be quite unfilmable since it is so epic and contains numerous stories that are all connected together. But thanks to the persistence of these directors this film was brought to life and is absolutely stunning. In fact, “Cloud Atlas” was my favorite film of 2012, if not also for the last few years overall. It is thought provoking and has many deeper lying themes throughout that makes it sticks with you long after you have watched it. In fact, I have literally seen this film probably around 20 times now (obsessed much?) and I can honestly say that it gets better with each viewing.

Official Premise: Future. Present. Past. Everything is connected. An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.The story is a time-shifting weave of six interlinking narratives, with diverse settings from the savagery of a Pacific Island in the 1850s to a dystopian Korea of the near future.

This film packs one of the years best cast lead by Academy Award® winners Tom Hanks and Halle Berry.  There are also great performances from Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Xun Zhou, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant. There are six narratives in the film, spanning from “The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing” (1849), “Letters from Zedelghem” (1936), “Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery” (1973), “The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish” (2012), “An Orison of Sonmi~451” (2144), “Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After” (2321). Throughout these stories, each of the cast takes on various roles. Some of transformations even go as far as striking them completely unrecognizable. Click here for a great infographic for more details into which actor plays which roles.

The film running just shy of three hours but every minute is better than the next. I have trouble watching some films that are under 90 minutes and this one literally flies.  You become completely transported into this these various stories. It maybe seem confusing at first once you get to meet these characters it is impossible not to get intertwined along with these stories. They are also carried perfectly by Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil mesmerizing score. I have been listening to this score for months and it has been stuck in my head. I even had the chance to chat with Reinhold Heil about the score, click here to check it out. Did I mention that this is one of the best scores that I have ever heard 😉

Warner Bros delivered a very impressive combo pack.  The release comes with a Blu-ray and DVD discs with the film. Also included is an UltraViolet digital copy, which allows you to download and instantly stream the film to devices including computers and compatible tablets, smartphones, game consoles etc. The 1080p transfer on this Blu-ray looks stunning with its aspect ratio of 2.39:1. I would have loved to see this film when it was released in IMAX, I am sure it was stunning.  The video is matched with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track, which is quite flawless.  I would have loved to see them give this a 7.1 treatment but it is still amazing, especially with the film’s action and score.

The special features are great but I am a little disappointed that there is no commentary tracks included. First off we have “A Film Like No Other”, which looks into how this visual masterpiece came together with it’s three directors. “Everything is Connected” features the cast and crew as the dive into the connections that tie the various stories together. “Spaceships, Slaves & Sextets” looks into the deeper mysteries, themes and subtexts that are within the film. “The Bold Science Fiction of Cloud Atlas” looks into some of the futuristic science that is found in the film. “The Impossible Adaptation” looks into how this was taken from a novel to a feature film. “The Essence of Acting” looks into this wonderful cast and their various roles. Lastly we get “Eternal Recurrence: Love, Life, and Longing in Cloud Atlas”, which is another look in the film and its themes.

Own Cloud Atlas on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download 5/14

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