Cloud Atlas clip obfuscates the film

Warner Bros. recently posted a new clip teasing its upcoming fantasy epic.

Cloud Atlas depicts the complex threads of a story spread across multiple centuries. It kicks off in the 19th century and runs up to the dystopian fall of civilization, with a complex tale that intertwines throughout the ages.

The new clip includes a number scenes that we have already seen, focusing on the modern era interactions of Tom Hanks and Halle Berry – fixed with incomprehensible flashes of the rest of the film.

The spots for television are always on a bit different bent that the theatrical trailers, and this one is no exception, as the cut above is clearly targeted at the infrequent theater-goer. It almost looks like the studio wants to make it out to be a romantic comedy, with Tom Hank’s context-free dialogue thrown in there, and the the flashing scenes make it too confusing to anyone who doesn’t already understand the idea behind the film. The film is rather high-concept, and any audience expecting anything else is going to leave the theater TXTing their friends about how ‘weird’ the new Hanks film is. I think they’d be better off telling it like it is, even to the soap-soaked TV audience.

Frankly, Warner Bros. should be proud to have made such a risky film, rather than trying to hide it from their potential audience.

The synopsis of the film is thus:

Cloud Atlas explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future.

The synopsis for the original novel offers additional details about the characters and time periods. Of course, there is no knowing what may have been changed for the film:

A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified “dinery server” on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilization – the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.

Here’s the theatrical trailer:

Cloud Atlas stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, Hugo Weaving, James D’Arcy, and Jim Sturgess. It’s directed by Tom Tykwer in addition to the Wachowskis. The film is slated to sail into theaters on October 26th, 2012.