In the New Yorker this week, Aleksandar Hemon looks at the Wachowskis’ latest project, a film adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. The project includes historical, contemporary and future storylines weaved together. How they’re weaved interests me as a writer. There’s also talk of souls and redemption in future lives, so it’s likely that this is another film in the long decades of movie history which take sci-fi themes and substitute in religion and miracles for the meat of the speculative fiction in the plot. However, it sounds like that’s the point of the book they are adapting, so in a sense the story is pre-ruined. That makes the film potentially more appetizing to me.
So with my atheistic eye-rolling out of the way I will now put the novel in my queue. When I’ve read it, I’ll review it. Then when the movie comes out, I’ll finish my own little trilogy.
Leaving aside the potential of this story, I just want to note that even though the Matrix trilogy was a sales success and I seemed to enjoy the second and third films more than most people, the Wachowkis have not released anything that could be called a masterpiece. Everything they’ve done has had major asterisks and viewers carping on unsatisfactory elements. For a few of their projects, these points of conflict have been extremely geeky but not too damning (wait, the machines need human body heat, not our brains’ processing capacity to create their world? seriously? whatever executive handed down that note should have his legs broken. too dramatic? what would anyone know about drama in a film industry that would let that happen?). For others (the entirety of Speed Racer) the wailing has consumed the entire discussion. I hope that the Wachowskis finally put something together that’s watchable and tidy and right.
So, yes, the next thing I’ll write about this subject will be a review of David Mitchell’s novel.