Tag Archives: Cloud Atlas

Find Me in Another Time: Of Soulmates, Destiny and Time Travel

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[Contains spoilers for Cloud Atlas, Steins;Gate and, if they’re still spoilers by this point, Madoka Magica]

There’s no better way to show your affection for someone than to get separated from them by the cosmic decisions of the universe and get really, really mad about it. Maybe, a la Cloud Atlas, you’re caught in a cycle of reincarnation and keep crossing paths and bonding, only to be separated by something in every lifetime. Maybe there’s time travel involved as your device for era/parallel universe jumping, and you’re caught in a loop trying to save your loved one (or just your relationship, a la In Time) and leap your way to an eventuality where you can both be safe and happy.

Either way, this brings a big cosmic concept like time or soul travel, proverbially, down to earth, and makes it about people rather than saving the world. Which makes it much more interesting in my book, especially with all the concepts it brings into play.

Any plot like this, especially the ones where wayward souls are involved, will eventually have to bring up the question of fate—something humans have been brooding over for thousands of years, the idea of the pre-ordained path that we’re all traversing. Do we have the ability to step off it and follow others if we become self-aware? Is this giving us the power of the gods themselves? Or at least, the very human power to rage at the gods and the universe for making our destinies so annoying and cruel? Continue reading

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Filed under Archetypes and Genre

The Twisty Business of Story Endings

[PSA: This post is about plot twists. It may contain spoilers the way packs of salted almonds may contain nuts.]

This week, in the groggy overlit haze that only traversing time zones in midair can bring on, I watched three movies. Dozing on and off with a starchy airline-provided pillow propped awkwardly under my head, this blogger half-dreamed half-pondered about twist endings.

For some perspective on that segway, the first movie was Cloud Atlas. I read the book earlier in the year—it is split between six seemingly unconnected storylines in different eras, genres and styles, my favourite of which I have to admit (almost a tie with the science fiction awe and terror of Somni’s) was the story of Robert Frobisher, a delightfully snarky, poetic, most likely manic depressive young composer in 1930s Europe. His story is told through his letters to his friend and highly implied lover (note: the movie doesn’t even bother with ‘implied’, but goes the full monty. Bless it), and the final instalment and crushing ending is his suicide note.

I finished Frobisher’s section on the bus, and was caught gulping back the kind of embarrassing shocked tears that will only attack you when you’re inescapably in public. The same thing happened on the plane, but at the start instead of the end. The adaptation, it seemed, began Frobisher’s tale with a foregone conclusion, leaving the rest of the movie to the business of seeing how he got to making that decision. I thought this was an interesting device, caught between thanking the film for some kind of mental preparation for the tragedy and wondering if it was really a good idea to reveal one of the most heart-wrenching shock moments in the book from the get-go.

Robert Frobisher with the gun that kills him

Either way, this is one of those character deaths I will never be okay with

Continue reading

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Filed under Pop Culture Ponderings