IMAX and I: Part 1 – Cloud Atlas

Full disclosure: We at Filmbalaya have been given compensation to write a monthly feature about the IMAX experience.  This in no way means that we are selling out and are being forced to kiss some giant corporation’s buttock.  In fact, the contract we signed states nothing about us having to say anything positive within these “IMAX and I” columns.  So rest assured, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein will definitely be our own, be it good or bad.  Now that that’s out of the way…

Having my “Ultimate Movie Experience” (IMAX’s tagline) while watching Cloud Atlas, unfortunately, didn’t turn out to be all that ultimate.  Mind you, this had more to do with the actual movie and less to do with the way it was being presented.  Still, it would have been nice had the theatre I was in (UA Emery Bay 10 in Emeryville) been provided the colossal screen like the one they have across the Bay at San Francisco’s downtown Metreon Theatre (where I will no doubt be seeing my next IMAX movie.)

There’s a saying that I first heard back when I was going through puberty that aptly applies to my experience: “It’s not the size that matters, it’s how you use it.”  In this case, even though the screen was, at most, a tad bit bigger than the average multiplex traditional screen, at least the other cinematic elements i.e., sound and resolution, were noticeably of a higher quality than that of a non-IMAX movie.  If only Cloud Atlas were a more worthy submission to this wonderful technology.

For more info on IMAX, including what’s playing and where, check out IMAX.com, their facebook page, or their twitter page.

Review for Cloud Atlas and trailer after the jump.

Whether you liked or disliked this movie, there’s one thing everyone can agree on: Cloud Atlas is an ambitious undertaking.  Attempting to coherently illuminate themes of connectivity throughout time and space by way of six stories, each of which is in a different genre, is an audacious task, and in this case, a bit unnecessary.  I can see how moviegoers intrigued with bloated exercises in long-winded gimmickry would find this interesting.  No doubt the polished CGI landscapes and its many chameleon-like performances (over 22 cast members take on more than one role) are impressive, but getting lost in this scripts heavy-handed “we-are-all-connected” ideology is that oh-so-vital element called a point.  Surely, somewhere amongst all that gimmickry there needs to be a point to it all.  I don’t really want to believe that the directing team of Tykwer, Warchowski & Warchowski‘s (sounds like a Law Firm, does it not?) would spend all their time and energy into making an epic quasi cerebral blockbuster that goes nowhere.  Yet, that’s just what they’ve done.  The entire point of this movie, as loose a point as it was, is revealed in the first opening minutes and redundantly every 10 minutes thereafter.  Perhaps this trio of filmmakers thought that by writing sub-par dialogue (ex. “If you fall I will catch you.”  Where have I heard that before?) over melodramatic Spielbergian musical cues would be overwhelm me with the film’s theme.  Well, it didn’t.  In fact, I was quite pissed to have wasted my time on this condescending entity posing to be what it is not – profound art.

At best, Cloud Atlas is an interesting mess existing as a showcase to highlight actors’ diversity.  In the end, no crystal clear IMAX screen, even one 100 times bigger than the one I was watching it on, could make this glossy glob of a movie anything more than a messy watching experience.

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Categories: Features, Reviews

4 Comments on “IMAX and I: Part 1 – Cloud Atlas”

  1. enana
    November 9, 2012 at 3:16 am #

    The Imax experience in my opinion should be one that just really makes the story pop and encompasses one into the wonder that movies can be, to enhance the story and therein is the problem. The story has got to be one that in the end makes sense to the movie goer. The few reviews that I have read on this movie don’t make we want to even watch it when it hits the little screen. Connectivity? The lighter touch often makes connections and lets the viewer say to themselves, ah, I got it. Best Hotel Marigold in my humble opinion was just such a movie and you were able to talk about it afterwards without any confusion.

    I wonder how Bond is fairing on the IMax screen?

  2. November 9, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Ouch! Wow, Adam. Haven’t seen it yet, but your tastes and mine seem to run pretty parallel, so now I’m dreading the inevitable (I have to watch the car wreck now!) :).

    p.s. I heartily disagree with any praise of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. That film was well acted, but formulaic and saccharine beyond compare.

    http://geekycinephiles.wordpress.com/sag-nominating-committee-moi

  3. Adam Cuttler
    November 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    @enana – Haven’t seen Mrigold Hotel, but I did fall asleep while trying to watch the traier. Perhaps durring the current cold weather were experiencing I’ll check it out on DVD.

    @majorfilmgeek – Ouch! “saccharine beyond compare”. I take it back, enana, maybe I won’t check it out afterall.

  4. Jamey
    November 19, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Thanks for posting, Adam! Pumped to read your next ‘IMAX and I’ piece.

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