Modifications, Movie, and Message of Cloud Atlas

Warning: Some spoilers ahead of Cloud Atlas the Novel and Movie

So over spring break I read David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas and then after watched the movie, both because it was assigned for class and I spend a total of 12 hours on planes. And you know what, I genuinely found that the movie was satisfying, though pretty different, than the book.

First, I have to say I really enjoyed the book. I had tried to read it last year and got through the first hundred pages before realizing that free time and leisure reading isn’t really a reality at school; so I was happy when it was assigned for class. Often, I am disappointed by cinematic recreations of good novels because they miss the boat, both in message and form (EG Eragon). But that wasn’t the case…

The movie was different, but purposefully so. The story was told in many more time jumps than the novel, and in a different order. However, it would have likely been impossible to be done as a sextet as the novel is, moving forward through time and then back through only once. And yes, the movie got a little bit preachy as the story advanced, really hammering in the idea of temporal connections of all people and the transient nature of the present, thereby advocating the ripples actions make as opposed to the actions themselves. Also, the stylistic choice to have an actor play many roles, in my opinion, was an overdone way to hammer in the aforementioned message.

That said, the movie was purposeful and well done. It accomplished is mission of creating a storyline which was intriguing and had a powerful message. The additional pieces (such as the final scene on another planet, the modifications to the Sonmi storyline, etc.) only really stood out as different from the novel as opposed to bad or unnecessary.

So whats the message: Both the book and the story really drive home some essential ideas. Often our perspectives deal only in terms of what we see, we do not considered actions throughout time. The interactions we have shape the world around us, not only the other way around. We are connected, whether it is through the legacy created by actions or some farfetched theory of reincarnation. Essentially, we are all born with the comet birthmark, whether we acknowledge it or not. But if not acknowledged, we may just trigger the fall.

-Max

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~ by maxhkushner0 on March 16, 2014.

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