Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cloud Atlas: Preview of the Score

Way way too much is being written about the upcoming adaptation of  Cloud Atlas. Too much because I still haven't finished the book and I'll start reading some article about the casting of Tom Hanks, say, or how the filmmakers went about adapting this complex piece of literature, and then I have to stop for fear of spoilers spoiling it all for me.
My son, the budding filmmaker, says in a perfect filmic world there would be no trailers, no reviews, the audience would see each film fresh and form their own honest opinion. Of course that can't be in today's crowded marketplace where films have to compete not only with each other but the dizzying array of other entertainment possibilities. And many of us are fascinated by the behind the scenes aspects of the work hence the ever increasing popularity of director's commentary and special DVD features.

Have you seen the last poster? I hate its crowded format which reminds me of an ad for a 1970's  saga miniseries with its confusing array of characters in varying sizes while Hank's huge half head looms over all. Halle Berry's face is what? A fourth the size? I know the theme is Everything is Connected but do they have to be connected so inartfully? The designer has pasted the bodies like a scarf hanging from Hank's neck. Again, I get that the story, the connection, everything leads from Hanks' various characters but I'd like a cleaner look. The gothic farmhouse in the background on one side, and the ship on the other, as well as the cluster of futuristic buildings in the foreground are graphically noisy - cluttering the poster without adding any meaning. And why is Jim Broadbent's character smiling on the phone while everyone else looks fairly perturbed? It's a tonal oddity. While I'm complaining I have to say I also dislike the bright flash of sunlight and the turquoise and black color theme For me, the entirety  fails Onesheet Design 101!
But enough kvetching. Today  I'm including a snippet of what I read this morning in Collider.com about Tom Tykwer's approach to the musical score along with a link to a preview of the score. Tykwer not only helped adapt the script with the Wachowski siblings and co-directed, he also had a lot to do with the score, apparently he always looks to the score first! Visit WaterTower music to sample the score, cowritten by Tykwer, Johnny Kilmek,and Reinhold Heil. Pretty amazing stuff! Water Tower is the Warner Brother's inhouse music department named after the iconic water tower on the lot in Burbank. I actually worked at Warner Brothers during the L.A. riots and watched as the reserves marched by that very same tower but that is another story completely.
It was crucial and elementary from the start. It’s a method that I’ve worked with since, I think, my first film. Even in my first short film, there was music that was done before the filming was done. But on this one, it was even more so. Obviously, it was technically needed because you have people playing the piano and you want to know what they’re playing, and the actors should know what they are supposedly listening to in the film. When Halle Berry is standing there in the record shop, she should know what it sounds like so she can relate to it. But also, it was for us. I always feel like the first deep atmospheric research you do on a movie is discovering its music, because it’s not yet visual. It came along sort of at the time we had done some of the visual explorations, but we hadn’t defined the film yet totally, so it was in the in-between period, and the music started to grow. For me, at least, and I think they say I’ve spoiled them forever…”

3 comments:

  1. I agree with your assessment of the poster. Fix it. And, Sim, keep reading. You'd better finish soon. Not at the expense of reading my book, of course...

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  2. I haven't [yet] read the book, nor anything by the author. But I have seen clips of this movie and -- umm.... [I am a bear of little brain] -- I get the feeling it will be one of those way deep movies [like Inception, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind] where -- at the end I am scratching my nuance-challenged noggin and saying, "What? You mean it's OVER now?

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    1. You are NOT a bear of little brain, mr. cipriano! But I do reckon you're right that the movie may be as mystifying as your excellent examples. Still, I really enjoyed both those films! I'm hoping that by reading Cloud Atlas I'll be a little less confused by the movie but who knows? My biggest confusion right now is why Tom Hanks? A question I won't be able to answer until i see it.

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