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I saw Cloud Atlas on Netflix last night.

SPOILER ALERT!

It was the most god awful, big budget film I have ever seen. Yet, the cinematography, special affects and music were quite good. What happened? How could Tom Hanks and Halle Berry be hoodwinked into such a bad movie? It cost over a hundred million to make but it has made a small profit.

What disgusting philosophy. What deliberating irritating drivel. What horrible writing. What a disgustingly dark vision of the future. Now, I know J.J. Abrams new StarTrek movie which I have not yet seen has been criticized for losing Gene Roddenberrys benevolent sense of the universe but the future in this movie is beyond belief.

A few of the movies themes were:

The use of mental hospitals / old folks homes to hide away elder relatives we no longer want around.

Gays have been persecuted throughout history and will be persecuted in the future so they all should just commit suicide.

Cloned men and women will be slaves and prostitutes in the future.

Governments of the future will be tyrannies.

Evolution will lead to a mixing of the races, and lowered global IQs. These stupid, mixed breeds will speak a dumbed down, incomprehensible Ebonics. I am not talking about an accent. I am talking about a dumbed down human race speaking near gibberish. Yet that is portrayed as Utopian.

The movie is two hours and fifty minutes too long. Avoid it like the black plague.

Peter

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I enjoyed the novel - by David Mitchell - a sort of modern fable.

Must say, I hardly recognise it in your movie synopsis!

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Even more spoilers contained below.

{heavy sigh}

Yet another epic novel that was impossible to translate to film. I saw the movie not long ago and quite enjoyed it because I had already read the novel and had knowledge of all the beautifully written back story. I doubt that reading the book will change your mind about the philosophy of it, but it might just change your mind about some of the points you make here.

That said, I'd like to address each of your points, if I may.

The use of mental hospitals / old folks homes to hide away elder relatives we no longer want around.

Actually, Cavendish was not hidden away by someone who simply didn't want him around. He was seriously punked by his equally elderly brother who was beyond frustrated by Cavendish's near constant borrowing of money and sleeping with his wife. Those points were made in the movie, so you didn't need to have read the book to know them. Also, this storyline was meant to be the comic relief among the other heavy-hitting stories. It was supposed to have been taken light-heartedly.

Gays have been persecuted throughout history and will be persecuted in the future so they all should just commit suicide.

One homosexual, Frobisher, committed suicide in 1931 when homosexuality was indeed taboo. That was not the reason he committed suicide, however. He was probably going to be prosecuted for attempted murder. Even if didn't, the man he shot had the power and the resources to ruin Frobisher's reputation as musician and composer. He would have no means to support himself. Frobisher's lover was murdered in the 70s, and not because he was gay. I won't explain the reasons for his murder because that should have been obvious. I don't recall any other attention given to the matter of sexual orientation in either the film or the book.

(On a side note, Frobisher's storyline represents what I think is the biggest departure from the novel. He was NOT in love with his mentor. He was in love with his mentor's daughter, a character that didn't even make it into the film.)

Cloned men and women will be slaves and prostitutes in the future.

No argument there except that there weren't any cloned men depicted, either as slaves or prostitutes. They were all women. Perhaps that is a dim outlook to take on the future of mankind, but it is a dystopian storyline. In every dystopia, there has to be some dim prediction.

Governments of the future will be tyrannies.

Governments of the present are tyrannies. Governments of the past have been tyrannies. Yep, another dim prediction, but one that is well-informed and not, in my opinion, a huge leap of imagination.

Evolution will lead to a mixing of the races, and lowered global IQs. These stupid, mixed breeds will speak a dumbed down, incomprehensible Ebonics. I am not talking about an accent. I am talking about a dumbed down human race speaking near gibberish. Yet that is portrayed as Utopian.

In this storyline, there are actually two distinct post-apocalyptic populations. Those that were trapped on the big island of Hawaii when the world-as-we-know-it ended, and those that were not. There's nothing in either the film or the book to indicate their racial heritage one way or another. Those that live on the big island do have a specific dialect that is both annoying and seemingly ignorant. I imagine the way I speak today would sound pretty dang strange to the Romans, though, so personally I don't have a problem accepting that language of the distant future will not be kind to my ears. The language of the population that does not live on the island is exactly as we speak today. You don't know this from the film alone because the one character from that population you get to see much of spends most of her time on the island, and she purposely speaks as they do in order to fit in. It's part of her research.

As for this being a Utopia, I'm confused about why you would have taken away that notion. On the island, people live hand to mouth, constantly fighting for life either against nature or against each other. Off the island, people are frantically trying to find a way off a dead planet that they know can't continue to sustain them. Both poplations struggle mightily in their own ways. How is that utopian?

My own complaints about the film:

  • Tom Hanks is too old to be Zachry. That character should have been much younger.
  • I didn't like how the film told the stories in bits and pieces. I prefer the format of the novel that told one half of each story at a time.
  • I absolutely hated how the film forced the idea of past lives. Granted, the novel has this theme. We are intended to believe that the main character in each story is a reincarnation over hundreds of years. However, that isn't shoved down the reader's throat. In the film, the same actors play many parts and via the use of makeup and CGI we're supposed to believe that everyone has this deep abiding connection throughout eternity. Too much.

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Thanks to everyone for their contributions! I watched the movie with one jaundiced eye while reading a book so thanks for the corrections. I hated the movie and saw little good in it. I did not understand it and if you have read the book, you undoubtedly know how the movie falls short. However, you can’t go back, watch the movie, and un-remember the book, so you may not know what the average viewer saw. One of the movie’s critics, Roger Ebert, before he died, had to watch the movie three times to make sense of it.

Deanna wrote:

As for this being a Utopia, I'm confused about why you would have taken away that notion. On the island, people live hand to mouth, constantly fighting for life either against nature or against each other. Off the island, people are frantically trying to find a way off a dead planet that they know can't continue to sustain them. Both populations struggle mightily in their own ways. How is that utopian?

end quote

They were on Hawaii? I must have missed that part. Nor did I glean anything about a dead planet. I must have fallen asleep. I remember at the end Tom Hanks is speaking gibberish to a bunch of kids so I thought the whole story was a fairy tale, and a terribly copped-out story line. My deliberately facile synopsis was to elicit a response such as yours so I would not need to re-watch the movie to see a glimmer of rationality . . . .

Deanna wrote:

Governments of the present are tyrannies. Governments of the past have been tyrannies. Yep, another dim prediction, but one that is well-informed and not, in my opinion, a huge leap of imagination.

end quote

All Governments of the present are not tyrannies. Australia, much of Europe, Japan and India, America and Canada (there are over a hundred countries that are technically “free”) are not tyrannies. George H. Smith’s new book, “The System of Liberty” discusses this very claim of yours and refutes it. He also begins a discussion about when it is morally legitimate to rebel and take up arms. That time is not now. Hopefully, George will continue the discussion in his next book.

For instance, one classically liberal thinker in the 1700’s mentioned a tax rate of thirty percent as ONE indicator of when it is time to rebel, but the issue is a difficult one. I highly recommend George’s book.

Peter

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All Governments of the present are not tyrannies.

I agree, and did not intend to say otherwise (even though I did, in fact, say otherwise). What I meant, is that there have always been and will always be tyrannical governments in existence. It is not a stretch to think that future governments will be tyrannical.

I also agree, Peter, that the movie is probably much kinder when you have read the book already. I had this exact conversation with a friend recently, and like you, I pointed out that I can't unread the book to find out what I think of the movie

They were on Hawaii?

This was mentioned only once in the movie that I recall, and it was a brief mention, at that, by Zachry, in the "gibberish" you probably didn't understand.

Nor did I glean anything about a dead planet.

This was actually explained in the movie quite well, I think. But if you were asleep already.....

Anyway, Peter, the novel is quite good, so if the movie has not completely biased you, I strongly recommend it.

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