The ambitious narrative structure is what first caught me with David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. As I was pulled deeper into each part of the novel’s Russian doll-style story, it was the characters and their complex, interwoven state which sucker-punched me, and I as hooked. It appealed to my nature as a reader — the novel wove the stories of the characters together in a clever way, and Mitchell’s skill at pastiche* is exploited to its fullest extent.
Nevertheless, Cloud Atlas divides people. The London Review of Books, for example, suggested that perhaps Mitchell’s novel lacked a solid core, and that the novel itself, by working to demonstrate how small the world was (with the interwoven nature of past, present and future) worked towards a very conservative world view. On the other hand, writing for the Guardian, could not have been more glowing in her praise of the novel.
Regardless of the mixed critical reception, I loved the novel. I still do.
When the intended adaptation to film was mentioned to me by CIA some time ago, I pushed the thought far out of my mind: “you cannot possibly turn this book into a film; it’ll be awful!”. A year later, in the middle of a Reykjavík living room, we talked about the extended trailer, which my friends had seen, but I had not…
…which led me first to this:
Now, I really enjoyed Run Lola Run, I also enjoyed The Matrix (let’s pretend there was only one film; no comics; no video games; no Animatrix; and other such things). So their explanation of the extended trailer had me fairly curious. At the very least, they seemed to have got at the heart of everything I loved about the novel. Without further ado, here it is:
Now, I’ll be honest, it clearly has its flaws. I’ll quote from this review of the trailer:
On the plus side, at least the novel doesn’t have Tom Hanks in it.
That’s quite harsh; Tom Hanks probably has some fine moments in his acting career. But I will admit now that I share the sentiment of that particular reviewer.
Still, after watching the trailer a number of times, I am still excited to see the entire film.
After all, adaptation is a fine art, and one must remember that by altering the medium, a new work is created — a new work with a strong connection to its basis, but a new work all the same. So its interesting, I think, that Tykwer and the siblings Wachowski sought the approval of David Mitchell.
So, which adaptations fill you with fear; with joy; with anticipation and excitement?
Videos from YouTube™, where else? Who can remember the internet before YouTube? Actually, who remembers Dialup? Oh yeah, 56 kbps – that’s the stuff, am I right?!
* a work which imitates the style of another work