In 1999, The Wachowskis introduced audiences to “The Matrix.” It was complex film that was way ahead of its time; but it worked. Today the siblings are at it again with the debut of “Cloud Atlas,” but many doubt it will be able to hit the same heights.
For all intents and purposes “The Matrix” should NOT have worked. Take a look back at the film’s logline, which was “a computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.” Yes, we always been a more tech-savvy culture, but it’s still a stretch. Yet you can’t under-estimate the power of a good cast and the team of Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne proved profitable.
However, while “The Matrix” worked and spawned two sequels and a bunch of spin-offs, it remains the only part of the entire franchise that was met with any sort of praise. It’s “Reloaded” and “Revolutions” sequels were a complete mess, but by then it didn’t really make a difference as people still watched them hoping for some logical conclusion. When that didn’t happen it left audiences with a bad taste, which followed over to the Wachowskis’ follow-up film “Speed Racer,” which also crashed and burned.
Four years later they are now returning to theaters with “Cloud Atlas,” a movie with a just as complex logline, but an equally impressive cast. Based on the novel by David Mitchell and headlined by Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, “Atlas” is comprised of an inter-related group of six stories which are described as:
“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.”
It also doesn’t help the film’s first trailer was five and a half minutes long and the movie itself borders on three hours.
Still today’s round of reviews show the critics are very evenly split with some believing this is a new classic that should be an automatic Oscar contender, while others believe it’s a self-important train wreck. However the one thing people seem to agree about across the board is that despite all the eye-popping special effects and grand visual style, the film lacks a sense of emotion.
“Emotionally barren eye candy.” Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service
“For all the spectacular settings and visionary designs, Cloud Atlas left me feeling disconnected.” Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“Cloud Atlas” is a film where the creators’ admirable reach exceeds their grasp. You may be getting six films for the cost of one, but it may not really be worth the price.” Charlie McCollum, San Jose Mercury News
“It’s kind of astonishing that for all its ambition and accomplishment, and for the ostensibly subversive philosophy it pushes, ‘Cloud Atlas’ ends up being just another platitudinous overblown pummel-you-into-submission movie-machine.” Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies
Yet everyone respects what the Wachowskis and co-director Tom Tykwer attempted to pull off as this was a book that many deemed “un-filmable.” It just seems like in order to get everything on screen they had to take a few creative avenues that didn’t necessarily work.
Still, fans of the filmmakers will happily give “Atlas” a shot, but the question is how many other people will?
“Cloud Atlas” is now in theaters.
So what’s your take New York? Were you a “Matrix” fan? Will you check out “Cloud Atlas?” Hit the comments and let us know.
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