New Cloud Atlas trailer: Strange, incomprehensible, and a bad omen for the final film.

The New Condensed Cloud Atlas Trailer Doesn’t Bode Well for the Final Film

The New Condensed Cloud Atlas Trailer Doesn’t Bode Well for the Final Film

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Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 6 2012 3:49 PM

New Trailer for Cloud Atlas Is Even More Incomprehensible

Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in Cloud Atlas.

Jay Maidment/Warner Bros.

The new trailer for Cloud Atlas—the upcoming big-screen collaboration between the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run)—comes in a condensed form, far shorter than the original six minute sizzle reel that first intrigued viewers a couple months ago.

Considering the original source of the epic (a 500-plus page novel that spans six interconnected storylines, time periods, and corners of the world), Tykwer and the Wachowskis were wise to choose a longer format for marketing a film with such a wide scope. While a viewer unfamiliar with the book might have been a bit puzzled at those six minutes, they still provided a skeletal look at how the various characters and plotlines would fit together.

For this new trailer, on the other hand, our editors seem to have given up on making Cloud Atlas comprehensible at all, which—whether intentional or inadvertent—doesn’t bode well for the final film.  Instead, the shorter trailer seems to gloss over any explanation of its concept with only vague voice-over narration from Tom Hanks (“Fear. Belief. Love.”) and similarly bombastic titles (“Death.” “Life.” “Birth.”). Hopefully the filmmakers will have more success cramming those six storylines into two-plus hours than this trailer had in cramming six minutes into two.

Aisha Harris is a Slate culture writer and host of the Slate podcast Represent.