Thursday, 2 August 2012

Coming Attractions | Two Adaptations To Rule Them All

From the outside looking in, 2012 seemed set to be an incredible year for speculative cinema, boasting promising prequels or super-sounding sequels to three of the most beloved genre film franchises in... ever, I guess.

Alas, from the inside looking out, 2012 has been substantially less impressive. Both Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises have divided audiences, and though they're very fine flicks, I think it's fair to say both... could have been better.

Of course, the year is only half over, and there's still The Hobbit to look forward to, but of the three aforementioned prequels and sequels, I expected - indeed I still do - the least of the first installment of Peter Jackson's fast-multiplying precursor to The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

We'll just have to wait and see if it, too, disappoints. Don't get me wrong: I may be primed for a mixed bag, but at the same time I'm sorely hoping for a pleasant surprise.

Even from here, however, the road to The Hobbit is awfully long, and for a second there I was idiot enough to think that there was precious little to look forward to before its release in mid-December. The recent release of two terrific trailers, for a pair of exciting adaptations, showed me just how wrong I was.

The first to hit cinemas is, of course, Cloud Atlas.

Based on the revolutionary novel of the same name by David Mitchell - author of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which I reviewed way back when on The Speculative Scotsman - Cloud Atlas looks to be one of the most ambitious adaptations of all time. The book takes in six separate yet connected narratives which occur throughout human history, and the Andy and Lana Wachowski, who are writing and directing alongside Run Lola Run's Tom Twyker, appear to be taking into account each and every one in in the forthcoming film.

Until recently, the rare presence of international treasure Tom Hanks in the star-studded cast was the most promising this about this potentially vast disaster, but late last week saw the release, or the leak, of the six minute trailer embedded above... and it very nearly blew my mind.

Cloud Atlas will be out at the end of October, and as of now, I'm optimistic.

Admittedly, I loved the second trailer we're looking at today a little less, yet Ang Lee is markedly more reliable behind the camera than the Wachowskis, and it does look like he's homed in on some of the most memorable moments of the book his new movie's based on.

Life of Pi is due to hit cinemas in late November, and I'll be there, in part because this book meant the world to me when I read it.

Ang Lee's long-in-gestation adaptation certainly does look lush... though it's a touch too cartoonish - melodramatic maybe - for my liking.

And another caveat: the screenplay is by one David Magee, whose most notable credit to date is the J. M. Barrie biopic Finding Neverland. Again, not a bad film, but very far from brilliant. I can't help but wonder if Magee is really the dude to do a wonderful novel like Life of Pi justice.

That's it from me today, but I want to know about you guys too. Do you think the adaptations discussed above are going to be awesome, or has 2012's track record left you wishing for greener grass?

Meanwhile, where are we all on The Hobbit now that Peter Jackson's announced his dark design to make a trilogy of it?

Me, I'm more concerned than ever, and I was worried anyway...


  1. Cloud Atlas is a terrific book and I fervently hope this movie does it justice. the trailer is quite stunning and upon seeing it I was almost reduced to a blubbering wreck by the end. So big hopes and no little worry.

    Not worried about the Hobbit. Clearly a passion project for Ja ckson and all will be well. Won't it?

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