Cloud Atlas

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Internet Movie Database          Movie Reviews

From the novel of the same name by David Mitchell.

I run a book and movie discussion group. We read the book, get together and discuss the movie and book, vote on next month’s choice. Fun.

A friend told me this was really good, although I had heard mixed opinions about it; I put it in the voting list and it was picked for July.

I started reading it the Monday before we watched it (on Friday); the rule is, you have to read 50 pages of the book to come to the movie, so I figured that even if it was a dog, I could read enough to see the flick with the group. (Which is all that Spider Jerusalem and Mr. Otter did, btw.)

And…the book is amazing. It’s beautifully written, made up of several stories that take place from the mid-1800s to the future, and as you read it the stories, which don’t seem to connect at first, do…I spent most of the movie day trying DESPERATELY to find time to read, but am barely more than halfway through as I type, which means I saw the movie before I had finished the book.

And I kinda wish I hadn’t; the book is SO GOOD, so beautifully written, so layered and full of good language and characters (even the middle section, which everyone but me said was awfully hard to read, it was written in a dialect that they all found difficult.) I totally love this book, and even knowing where it is going from having seen the movie, I’m looking forward to the journey.

The movie? well…they had to rewrite a whole lot of it. They had very good actors- Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant and some Keanu Reeves lookalike who could actually act…all of whom played multiple roles, because that’s the kind of story it is. The rewrites were thoughtful, and they interwove the stories more than the book does so that viewers could keep track of them better.  Oh, and they added some exciting stuff, car chases and the like, just because they could and probably because they knew viewers would expect them.

But as usual, the book is way better. The characters were pretty shallow, there was no description/definition of the future societies, which were a really good part of the book. The relationships are not as deep, and the connections seemed more tenuous and coincidental, even with the wrap-up at the end. And Tom Hanks spoke in the dialect that everyone had trouble with in the book, and he MUMBLED a lot. Very hard to hear what he was saying, for my old Otter ears.

Read the book. Sure, see and enjoy the movie, but make sure you read the book, it’s amazing.

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