Andrew Ducker (andrewducker) wrote,
Andrew Ducker
andrewducker

I think that one's a cumulus

I just discovered that The Wachowskis are making a movie out of Cloud Atlas. With Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Natalie Portman.

I can't see how they can do this without destroying the structure of the book. Spoiler for the structure of the book follows - no spoiler for plot, hence I'm not doing an LJ-Cut, unless people complain.
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The book is structured as six stories, with the first half of each one followed by the first half of the next one, until we reach number six, and then we get the second halves of each one in turn, until we arrive at the first story again, to read its conclusion.

So, that's six stories, each with split into two halves, or 12 story fragments. Even if we assume that they have three hours to play around with, that's 15 minutes per fragment. Is that really enough to pull the viewers into a story, join it to the parts before and after, and tell something coherent? I'm doubtful, to put it mildly.

Now, I do love films that can pull off the twisty-turny narration. There's a bit in Reservoir Dogs that's three levels deep, and I love the structure of The Prestige, but this feels like something that's too large to bite off and also make a mainstream movie from.

And I don't mind gutting a book to make it into a film - pulling the essence out of it and streamlining it by leaving out (or changing) a chunk of the plot to fit the constraints (and advantages) of film is something I thoroughly approve of. But the heart of Cloud Atlas _is_ its structure.

So you can colour me intrigued. But I'll be utterly unsurprised if it's a failure. They've got good people onboard though, including writer Tom Tykwer, who made Run Lola Run and Perfume (and The International, which I heard was good, but haven't seen yet.)
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