You've probably seen the crazy trailer for the gazillion dollar sci-fi/time travel/existential action flick 'Cloud Atlas' by now, and if not you can remedy that real quick below -- that's the beauty of the Internet.
The movie, based on a book by David Mitchell, is so huge in scope it took three directors to handle it: The Wachowskis (Andy and Lana), of 'The Matrix' trilogy and 'V For Vendetta,' and Tom Tykwer, who directed the kinetic, addictive 'Run Lola Run.'
'Cloud Atlas,' which opens today, isn't as dark or serious as 'The Matrix,' and it definitely nods back to campy sci-fi classics starring gun-loving Charlton Heston like 'Soylent Green' and 'Planet of the Apes,' and even that Olivia Newton-John disco trip of a movie 'Xanadu.'
Don't let that scare you -- 'Cloud Atlas' needs to be seen on a big screen. It's a wild ride through different eras, locations, and planets, and it zips from the 1800s to the future and back again. Let's just say there's a lot going on. Here are 10 reasons to find the biggest screen you can this weekend and check it out.
Who doesn't dig time travel stories? One minute you're in a futuristic Asian city and the next you're on a Nineteenth Century ship with gold coins in a treasure box before jumping to a futuristic planet where Halle Berry is like a serious, female Mork from Ork? Awesome.
9. Evil Hugh Grant
Romantic comedy king Grant plays the most despicable characters in this movie and it's fun as hell to see -- from the nasty Korean dude Seer Rhee to a cannibal to a corrupt, greedy nuclear power plant bureaucrat. The filmmakers either have it out for Grant or they love him and wanted to show how much range he has as an actor. Point is, he's great as all these villains.
8. Neo Seoul
This is the dystopian Seoul, Korea, of 2144 where genetically engineered female clones or “fabricants” work as slaves. Hugh Grant is another baddie here, a lecherous, slimy dude who treats the fabricants like sex slaves and has no problem killing them when they disobey. This is where most of the action happens, and it definitely has a little bit of a 'Star Wars' meets 'Blade Runner' thing going on.
7. Doona Bae
Who is this chick? I guess she was a model and then she was in that cool Korean monster movie 'The Host,' but after 'Cloud Atlas' let's hope she's in a lot more flicks.
Bae plays a 19th century rich girl named Tilda (with red curly hair, freckles, and green eyes -- kind of weird), a 1970s Mexican woman (also a little weird), the sister of Tom Hanks' goat herder in post-apocalyptic Hawaii, and best of all, the fabricant Sonmi-351 in Neo Seoul. I don't want to spoil the movie so let's just say Sonmi-351 is probably the most interesting character of all -- and there are a lot of freaking characters in 'Cloud Atlas.'
6. Hugo Weaving
Does this guy have any idea how cool his name is? He's Agent Smith from 'The Matrix' trilogy, Elrond from 'Lord of the Rings,' and now he plays everything from the Devil (who knew the devil had green skin and a top hat?!) to a sadistic female nurse in an old folks home. Imagine 'Mrs. Doubtfire' mixed with Nurse Ratched from 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' and there you have it. So maybe the cross-dressing nurse part isn't the best part of the movie... but it's pretty funny.
5. Jim Sturgess
This guy needs to be in more movies. He was the main dude in that gambling flick '21,' and Jude in that Beatles musical 'Across the Universe.' Here he plays a Highlander, a wealthy 1800s abolitionist, a badass revolutionary soldier in Neo Seoul, and a drunk Scottish roughneck, to name a few. He's one of those actors you just immediately like, and in 'Cloud Atlas' it's no different.
In the Tom Hanks-as-goat herder sequences (where Halle Berry plays a visitor from another planet, dressed in all white with some face art/decoration of her own) there are some mean, nasty-looking cannibals running around terrorizing the villagers.
It's a futuristic, post-apocalyptic Hawaii. Translation: it's pretty cool. Their makeup and costumes are seriously intimidating. Hugh Grant is the head cannibal and the fact that floppy haired Grant looks scary as hell pretty much says it all.
3. Face Tattoos
There are a lot of crazy face tats going on in this movie. All the actors play several roles in the movie (in addition to being a Hawaiian goat herder in the future, Tom Hanks is a 1970s scientist, an evil 1800s doctor, a psychotic Scottish thug -- the list goes on). Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon and a whole bunch of others walk around with pretty cool-looking face ink. The makeup artists on this movie must have been some patient people. Then again, the paycheck probably helped.
2. Tom Tykwer
He's not as well known as the Wachowskis, but Tykwer made his mark with 'Run Lola Run' and he directs the more modern-day sequences in 'Cloud Atlas.' Not as many special effects or bizarre worlds, but still. Solid. Besides the kid he cast in the 1970s scenes, but we can forgive that.
1. The Wachowskis
'The Matrix' is a classic and it set the bar for sci-fi action movies for a long time to come. The Wachowskis have a way with creating futuristic worlds we've never imagined, and making philosophy cinematic. They create worlds that are slick, mysterious, and that brand themselves into your brain. The sequences they directed in 'Cloud Atlas' are definitely worth the price of a ticket.
Check it out, let your brain get scrambled, and have fun.