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Cloud Atlas (movie) / 30 days of gratitude, day 3

Went to see Cloud Atlas tonight, so I type in-between eating pita chips because it is a long fucking movie and having the babysitter not put the kids to bed meant skipping dinner.

Umm. It was a movie? It's kind of hard to say, because it is really just full of ALL THE THINGS. I'm pretty sure I'm glad I saw it, but it's a little stunning in both senses of the word.

So this is a movie adapted (apparently fairly loosely in substance as well as form) from a well-known book that I have not read, which takes six stories from the mid-nineteenth century to a post-apocalyptic far future and shuffles them together thematically and with the same actors playing multiple parts.

The intercutting actually worked surprisingly well for me; I didn't have any trouble following where we were or what was going on, and I liked the way things began overlapping very closely toward the end. I was mostly tracking the progress of the movie by the first-closest future timeline, which has the most-obviously-an-endpoint that we are introduced to early, so somewhere in the middle-ish I did find myself wondering how close we were getting to that end. (I mentioned that it's a very long movie?)

Less successful was the multiple actors, for two reasons. One, for a $100 million movie (ha, ha, I remembered that it was largely independently-financed and dropped a zero in talking to Chad, which was absolutely ridiculous of me), sometimes the makeup was just awfully obvious as makeup. Maybe I was spoiled by tiny!Steve Rogers in Captain America, which was all digital? Maybe I've just spent too much time thinking about makeup from watching that silly reality show Face Off? (About which finale all I really have to say is that I hate that they moved the winner to a popular vote.) I don't know, but it distracted me.

Second, the first future plotline is set in Korea and there are only two actual Asian people in the main cast. And I found the modifications to the other actors' eyelids to try and make them look Asian not just awkward to look at from a "that's not a real face" point of view, but viscerally disturbing and upsetting. I actually think the filmmakers' reasons for this do not suck, for a change, but it really bothered me all the same. So, not that you all need my approval to chose not to see a movie that does this, but you should be aware that this is one of the things that the movie is full of. (There are at least two instances where non-white actors play white characters; I cannot think off the top of my head of any other instances where white actors play non-white characters. This is probably because the rest of the storylines are set in majority-white populations.)

What else? There were definitely times when I wanted to say, "Yes, I get it" at the screen when someone was talking about choices recurring and reverberating and interconnectedness and so forth, sometimes simultaneous with feeling warm-and-fuzzy about it. I feel like I want to make a really big chart to track and analyze it all and also like I just want to leave it as a thing. Hugo Weaving chews scenery like he's a teething baby. The guy who was adorable as Tom Pullings in Master and Commander is also adorable in the composer segment, though it gets stolen out from under him by the other young guy, the actual composer. (Oh fine: James D'Arcy (tell me that's a stage name, because, seriously?) and Ben Whishaw (who is apparently going to be the new Q), respectively.) Lots of lows, some highs. Some suspense, though on reflection in only about half the plotlines; two proceeded basically as I thought and I was fine with that, one I didn't care terribly about, one I really didn't know what would happen, and two I was pretty sure I knew and wished I was wrong.

Basically this is a movie that believes very strongly in going big or going home. If that sounds appealing and you can get past the yellowface, go see it while it's in theaters.

Oh, right, trailers:

  • The Hobbit: weirdly on looking it up, it appears we got the first trailer, which explains why it said "next December" on it! I still do not have high hopes for this, but man, I have such a Pavlovian response to the instrumental Ring theme.
  • Les Misérables: I am pretty sure I do not want to see this but it was surprisingly good as a trailer anyway.
  • Anna Karenina: there has never been a trailer I was more surprised to see "Screenplay by Tom Stoppard" at the end of.
  • The Impossible: oh look, it's a movie about the 2004 South Asian tsunami that is all about a white family! *stabbity stab stab*
  • Gangster Squad: might as well have had "glorifying the (once lawful but now out of necessity really!) lawless elite" written all over it. What-fucking-ever.

30 days of gratitude:

  1. SteelyKid's immune system has, sometime when we weren't looking, matured enough that she no longer gets every cold that goes around daycare. Her getting sick is much rarer these days.
  2. I have awesome co-workers who are smart, enthusiastic, and generous.

  1. Babysitters. =>
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