I know I must have written some post on this topic before, but it could also just be something I've talked to friends about... I couldn't find it, either way. maybe I will later.
The first time I saw the preview for Cloud Atlas I got worried. It looked weird and time travely and I thought it was a bit like my Nano story that I thought I could maybe do last year. which I have not done. I don't have anything done on it further than one post with a few lines in it, which you can see here.
I quit Nano this year. And it's been great. I pulled the garden up too roughly and now I have only small seedlings of ideas left that need some time to grow.
And it allowed me yesterday to sit down on the floor in the living room, work on sewing some cloth diapers, and finally watch Cloud Atlas.
When I first looked it up, following that first preview I read the Wiki description of what turned out (of coruse) to actually be a book. Six stories, each protagonist being observed by the protagonist in the next story to follow. I loved the idea. I had to read it.
It actually ended up sitting on a shelf for a long time before I was ready to read it. I was finishing it about halfway through the movie's theater run and it was getting badish reviews. And people I knew hadn't understood it. One friend mentioned that each story you get to see for a minute or four, and then it jumps to the next. I couldn't understand that, how very confusing! why not follow the path of the original story?
I don't know, it's at 66% on the Rotten Tomatoes. is that good or bad? the reviews on the page seem to be in favor...
So when I watched it last night, of course I went into it with the knowledge I had from having read the book. I could identify the characters and their basic story quickly and easily as it jumped from one to another, though I could completely understand why someone else would not. It took me a little while to realize that this pattern of storytelling is the only way to do it. You cannot spend three hours telling one story after the other, causing the audience to go through the circle of intro, middle, climax, conclusion six times and expect them to pay attention.
But you have to go into it willing and able to keep track of six storylines at once.
I loved the movie. I got all weepy at the end. I never stopped being right there in it. I loved the book, but the movie satisfied that visual craving I have...probably from watching so many movies. It drew connections I had not seen, and makes me want to read it all over again. And watch the movie three more times.
The movie is a great companion to the book. The same way I feel about Fight Club and Pride and Prejudice.
And hell. Tom Hanks. Susan Sarandon and Halle Berry. Fucking Hugo Weaving.
Edit 11/24 -
And I forgot this part. When phrases, or excerpts or quotes strike me when I'm reading a book I write them down in my Books Read Notebook. I also enter them on Goodreads.com, and you can see them pop up at random over in the right toolbar. My quote from Cloud Atlas was perfectly envisioned in the movie. I was half hoping I'd see it, but also not expecting it too strongly. not everyone can be moved by the one thing I was moved by.
But it was there, and it was beautiful.
"Dreamt I stood in a china shop so crowded from floor to far-off ceiling with shelves of porcelain antiques, etc. that moving a muscle would cause several to fall and smash to bits. Exactly what happened but instead of a crashing noise, an august chord rang out, half cello, half celeste, D major (?), held for four beats. My wrist knocked a Ming vase affair off its pedestal-E flat. Whole string section, glorious, transcendent, angels wept. Deliberately now, smashed a figurine of an ox for the next note, then a milkmaid, then Saturday's Child-orgy of shrapnel filled the air, divine harmonies my head.”