Cloud Atlas
1 Waffle!

This is one of the first movies I can think of where the filmmakers show amazing ability to keep you paying attention for three hours to absolutely nothing.

I could attempt to tell you the plot of Cloud Atlas, but it would have to have a plot for me to be able to convey it to you. In basic terms, directors/writers Tom Twyker, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski (based on the novel by David Mitchell) show us the journey of souls through time constantly drawn together to fight evil and those who abuse power in six separate stories (played by Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess and more). After that, you are on your own to figure this out.

Cloud Atlas stinks, but it is some high energy, beautiful looking stinker.

On the one hand, Twyker and The Wachowskis make a visually arresting movie. You can't stop looking no matter how incomprehensible the film might be, even during one vignette as characters in the future speak some sort of mangled English that makes it hard for the audience to know exactly who is who.

Plus, the pacing is fantastic. Each story segues to the next at just the right time before you get bored, you just wish it was a meaningful segue that connected everything somehow.

Sadly, none of the stories in Cloud Atlas get into enough detail and need more context. Too many of them are full of characters we can't explain and understand or figure out their motives and backgrounds.

And, Twyker and The Wachowskis try to throw in plenty of laughs, but not always for the right effect. We need to feel the weight of these monumental struggles, but the laughable moments (intentional and non-intentional) ruin the mood more than half the time.

Finally, with a cast of actors playing multiple roles (which must have been the attraction for Hanks and the team), it puts the onus on the makeup and costume crew to make them into a series of different character, but we end up with mixed results. Some of the makeup is outright amateurish and makes you think these people are the losers in a Halloween costume contest at your local mall. For all of the money being put into special effects and actor salaries, did the production need to hire a bunch of interns to apply second rate prosthetics that are mockable?

Cloud Atlas is the biggest disappointment of the year for me.

Cloud Atlas is rated R for violence, language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use.