The Flops: Cloud Atlas and the Year’s Other Terrible Movies

Consider our list of the Top 10 Worst Movies a public-service announcement

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Warner Bros. Pictures

Consider Mary Pols’ list of the Top 10 Worst Movies a public-service announcement. Cloud Atlas takes the cake. Turns out, six different plot lines are quite confusing, and watching people make the same mistakes over and over again is excruciating. “There’s as much opportunity to get attached to characters as there would be watching people go by on a roller coaster,” Pols writes. A telling sign: Tom Hanks did not want to discuss the film on The Colbert Report at the end of October, but he was more than happy to talk about his past roles as trick-or-treaters dressed as movie characters played by Hanks dropped by Colbert’s place one by one.

Pols also didn’t buy into Danny DeVito as the Lorax or Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter — though neither did the public; Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter grossed only $37.5 million this summer, according to Box Office Mojo. And perhaps Bill Murray should stick to roles like the loveable basket case in What About Bob instead of the 32nd President of the United States and ladies’ man in Hyde Park on Hudson.

The full list of flops is here. You’ve been warned.

122 comments
f16pilot
f16pilot

cloud atlas one of the most thought provoking movies i have seen, much better than the mid numbing  drivel that is churned out in overloading mass quantities from Hollywood . cloud atlas beautifully filmed , acted and infused together with a beautiful climax with heart softening music that  will melt your soul and  leave your mind just wondering what if...

CalvinMingo
CalvinMingo

Great Movie. I agree with Bachalo that it's definitely going to be one of those classics people look back on. A great move for such great actors. 

jmjohnson85
jmjohnson85

Just watched Cloud Atlas for the first time and it was one of the most intellectual, moving and emotion filled movies I have ever seen.  Simply astounding.

EdwinPaciga
EdwinPaciga

I won't condemn the whole of TIME, as I'm quite sure all of "TIME staff" didn't have the same moronic view for this gem of a film. However, this cowardly writer, hiding behind "TIME staff", wouldn't know a good movie if it shat on his face.

Bachalo
Bachalo

Agree that The Fountain is a brilliant and underrated film. However, I think Cloud Atlas will stand the test of time and be only truly appreciated many years from now

dudedudedude
dudedudedude

Cloud Atlas was brilliant, it's sad when the majority of people can't understand a very simple concept told in a beautiful way. I feel sorry for those people who can't seem to focus on anything more than a single flat one-dimensional linear-plot like every other terrible Hollywood movie. Cloud Atlas was creative, thought provoking and meaningful. The best movie I've seen for a long time, though I'm not surprised that more people didn't like it, since one has to think about the world, and most people don't like to do that.

cybervigilante
cybervigilante

If you didn't understand Cloud Atlas or think it was a great movie, you are just plain stupid.

SteveGaulter
SteveGaulter

I watched the film for the second time tonight.  Whilst I do not purport to understand every aspect of the film I found it uplifting, inspiring, charming, funny, mind expanding, thought provoking and extremely intellectually challenging.  How could this be a bad film?  If a film is challenging how can it fit into mainstream convention and be understood easily by the brain-washed mass of us all?  The whole point of the film is to challenge perception.  I have read people who have said they totally get this film yet still brush it off with clever contrived sound bites.  I don't think you can 'get' this film and accept the world we live in.  It is one of many films that cumulatively will challenge the way we think about the world and how we arrange our societies.  We cannot change the way the world thinks in one go because the job is too big.  In my opinion that is the point of the film... Remember that there is a natural order ... but it may not be the one we all assume it is.

There does appear to be a pandering by all main stream media to the lowest common denominator, which these days equates to box office success and I find that sad when i consider how much i used to respect publications such as yours.


RAN OUT OF EDITTING TIME - THE WORLD MOVES TOO FAST AND NEGLECTS CONSIDERATION ...

SteveGaulter
SteveGaulter

I watched the film for the second time tonight.  Whilst I do not purport to understand every aspect of the film I found it uplifting, inspiring, charming, funny, mind expanding, thought provoking and extremely intellectually challenging.  How could this be a bad film?  If a film is challenging how can it fit into mainstream convention and be understood easily by the brain-washed mass of us all?  The whole point of the film is to challenge perception.  I have read people who have said they totally get this film yet still brush it off with clever contrived sound bites.  I don't think you can 'get' this film and accept the world we live in.  It is one of many films that cumulatively will challenge the way we think about the world and how we arrange our societies.  We cannot change the way the world thinks in one go because the job is too big.  In my opinion that is the point of the film... Remember that there is a natural order ... but it may not be the one we all assume it is.

TimothyKalahar
TimothyKalahar

TIME, I can't believe that a magazine that prides itself on being intellectual had such a one-dimensional view of Cloud Atlas. As most of the below posts indicate, you are out of touch with your own intellectual audience. Instead, your review is written for the average movie goer, who is only interested on superficial values and who fear complexity as it makes them have to think instead of allowing the film to do all of the thinking for them. I honestly expected better from a reputable name like TIME. Not only that, but you cower behind the name "TIME Staff" as if, through one solid block of consciousness, this highly closed-minded and opinionated review is the universal opinion of the multitude of voices that go in to your publication. I would have been more forgiving if you had the bravery to put the reviewer's name on the record. I believe that any time a person isn't willing to place their name to their opinion, the argument loses all validity.

So do you just wait to have an opinion that matches box office numbers? It seems that, to you, economic success is the only defining factor in the quality of a film. Instead of having the patience to understand the complex thematic elements of the film, you gave it a cursory glance and, in the words of a fourth grader, said "this is just stupid," unwilling to admit that the film was above you and not the other way around. Shameful practice, you have lost a great deal of my respect for this one.


manilasoul1207
manilasoul1207

"What is a critic but one who [WATCHES] quickly, arrogantly, but never wisely?" - Timothy Cavendish

Explorer08
Explorer08

Spectacular film.  Worth several viewings to fully absorb its intricacies.  Yes, there are those who did not like it.  So what?  Many films those folks did like are most certainly not liked by many others.  View Cloud Atlas for yourself and, if you don't like it, then you can forget it.  If you did like it, as I did, then several viewings will be useful.  We are truly blessed that we all like and dislike many different things.  Nothing like variety, eh?

BullWinkle1
BullWinkle1

Why is it that, whenever someone doesn't care for a not-so-popular movie, the fans say, "You didn't get it"? I watched the movie, appreciated it's somewhat unique and layered offerings. In the end, it's still nothing more than an Altman-wannabe with a twist & layers. Whether exciting, subtle, blockbuster or independent, a movie must make me care to know more within the first half hour, and that's being generous - either by story line, character, curiosity or action. Cloud manages to achieve none of this. Whilst I can appreciate the layers and connectedness, it fails to make me care about any of it. This is precisely where the movie fails. When I 'say' it doesn't 'engage' the viewer, this has nothing to do w/action or attention. Downton Abbey isn't exciting, but the characters and writing are quite engaging. I was engaged by the idea or the movie, but the execution was very poor. Some, however, may love idea and the actors so much so that it overshadows the execution so they proclaim others "don't get it'.

puma0016
puma0016

Best movie in years!! Really proud it was produced by "Studio Babelsberg" in Berlin, Germany! ..seems Hollywood didn't get the storyline either.

They_Are_Here_
They_Are_Here_

Are you serious? The worst movie? Pahahaha, they didnt pay the critics did they? Did you even see the move to be writing about it? Or are you not too bright to understand the plot of the movie. This movie has been the best one Iv seen so far in my life, shawshank redemption comes in second. There arent many movies that I watch and enjoy, I would watch this movie over and over and over again. Now all I have to do is read the book.

黃伯穎
黃伯穎

Cloud Atlas is the best movie I saw these years.

It contains so many things, such as reincarnate from Eastern countries.

Don't judge a movie if you don't understand it or it's culture.

Gabby
Gabby

Congrats TIME - you are now worse than my middle school newspaper. Here's to hoping you might actually understand your source material in the future. But if you can't understand humor (Colbert's show where Hanks is actually plugging Cloud Atlas multiple times) or philosophical and sincere cinema- maybe you aren't capable of using your brain at all. Bravo for somehow finding this job. That or successfully trolling me and everyone else disturbed by your stupidity.

Eddie823
Eddie823

I have no idea why Cloud Atlas has had so many poor 'critic' reviews (It makes me wonder if the Wachoswki's weren't prepared to pay expected backhanders to mainstream media). All the time im hearing, the words flop, worst movie of the year,, etc etc... And after watching it twice now, I am left scratching my head.  Cloud Atlas is one of the best films I have seen for years and I urge people who know how to open their mind a little bit to go watch this film and forget about these, tipped off critic reviews.


Airroll
Airroll

Also the acadamy awards are turning into a weird musical farst I turn the channel as soon as the I see your tits song began who what when were and how does this song become a theme for the acadamy awards and who would want a Oscar that represents this kind of bad manners and poor judgement the winning movie is a fictious yet  sold as true version of events of the Iran hostages in which the Canadisans held the Americans in their abassy until they could safelly be moved the CIA played a small part not Canada So the winning Movie is a lie and Cloud Atlas is shuned I will predict the future Cloud Atlas will be the biggest selling CD in history and each and every bad review will be forgotten, If you invested in cloud Atlas don't give up your shares

Airroll
Airroll

the fact that cloud atlas makes the energy guys look like the scum that they are is it's downfall the status quote of those in our country who do as they are told is theartened by the idea of the truth and this great film will be slapped around but in the end will sell more CD's than all the bought and paid for critics in the oil companies back pocket and will become a green beings atheme of cult movie goer 

janetsuker
janetsuker

There are rare times when I feel the need to post a comment, but this pious, half-witted review of this masterpiece warrants it. I am amazed that a reputable publication would allow the "Time Staff" to author such a horrible review- no doubt written by an junior staff with the attention span of a child and the maturity of a gang member.

Cloud Atlas braves stepping beyond mainstream societal pressure and dares to push against the "Overton Window", and does so eloquently. This movie inspires the continuing battle against inhumanity and the degradation of society's belief in the consequences of one's actions.

If Time hoped to gain attention by creating a controversial review, then it has succeeded in bringing gaining attention and creating controversy.. If Time truly believes this review was correct or insightful, then it should be concerned about its future. This review has singularity caused me to not only disrespect Time, but I will never again waste my time reading another word written by Time. I will spread the word that Time has gone the way of cheap entertainment, sacrificing quality content in its greed to appease the masses.

I will, however, enjoy watching Cloud Atllas many more times- as it not only has many stroylines, it has a multitude of layers full of :truth, hope and insight.

whidbeydanielg
whidbeydanielg

Cloud Atlas was awesome.  But, of course, to fully appreciate it, one has to have an attention span longer than that of the average 5-year-old (and many people these days do not).

I saw it in a theater, and am glad I did.  I am looking forward to the DVD because it is a film that is so complex and deep that multiple viewings will be as enjoyable as the first.  

MikeHillsgrove
MikeHillsgrove

 Cloud Atlas was not a flop. Cloud Atlas was in fact the finest bit of story telling I have ever seen, and it effected me in ways difficult to describe.  Indeed, it is my favorite movie of all time.  It was however, not for the masses.

Cloud Atlas was a highly complex movie. It ran 6 major and many minor threads with several themes and messages throughout.It was not a happy movie, although calling it profound would be a great understatement. It's messages - and most people hate movies with a message - were far more Buddhist than the Western cultural image of life and death and that seemed to offend the Christian types.  

DVD comes out June 13, 2013.

CathyPaulino
CathyPaulino

Would anyone know when Cloud Atlas comes out on DVD?

bmittel12
bmittel12

Cloud Atlas was an incredible and beautiful film. it definitely made one think which much of society seems too lazy to do. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but judge the movie off of your own viewing, not that of critics.

sandifjm
sandifjm

I've never come across so many people who really liked Cloud Atlas. The book was one of the most incredible things I've ever read, but most of the reviews that I heard or read, even from fans of the book, were lukewarm at best, and many were outright negative. I may have to reconsider now.

johndconnaughton
johndconnaughton

If you have credientials they should be stripped from you.  This movie too complex for you?  Get a day job.

SwiftrightRight
SwiftrightRight

You know, its bad enough that your writing sucks and that you missed the boat by not "getting" Cloud Atlas. 

But what utterly unforgivable is that you either didn't even take the time to watch the episode of Colbert with Hanks on it or your so totally dense that you missed the fact that THE WHOLE HALLOWEEN SKIT WAS ABOUT THE MOVIE!!!111 (all caps and 1's added because I feel like the writer might actually "get it" if the message was in that form)

greatBigMASSIVE
greatBigMASSIVE

I agree with the crowd here. Cloud Atlas is possibly the best film I've ever seen. Films like this will be a flop at the cinema only because your general audience (12A goers) would not be able to comprehend the magnificent film making going on here. Subliminal messages, scene interchanging and pure creativity isn't something you often see on the big screen anymore.

Let's face it, pretty much all films aim to get to 12A because they all know that's where the market is. Most of the films coming out today should be 15 but they shave a bit off and some how it manages to get a 12A certificate - god knows how half of them get to be a 12A still - it's rediculous - I wouldn't let my kids watch any of the recent stuff coming out as 12A.

Anyway,  Cloud Atlas didn't try to fit itself into the market - it just delivered exactly what was needed when it was needed. It didn't try to overpower you with special effects and didn't shy away from shock or horror when the moment fitted. It was contextually perfect.

Masterpieces like are going to be created less and less often. Film company's only care about the gross income.
If the popcorn eating, Facebook browsing halfwits only buy tickets to see a CGI robot and some cleavage, (and that's what brings in the dollars), that's all you'll get in the top 10 "best movies" of 2012.

The fact that you have mentioned Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Slayer in the same breathe as Cloud Atlas is shows you lack of appreciation when it comes to film making. Shame on you.

Of course the Lorax isn't going to do well - it's for kids - proper kids. Kids that are 7, they like magic and wonder. They aren't the 12A movie goers remember. These are the kids that are 12 but think they're 18. If they can get to see a 12A movie with a swear word or too in it and a semi-naked lady - that's what they're all going to see - not Lorax (because it's childish) and not Cloud Atlas (because it made no sense).7

Am I the only person that can see how 12A works?

Cloud Atlas - best film of 2012 in my opinion.



daveywhey
daveywhey

Cloud Atlas is one of the best movies ever made in my opinion, a landmark in cinematography and storytelling. It is an absolutely stunning piece of art. When people denigrate it, it says much more about the individual making the comments than the film itself. 

JulianMonjaras
JulianMonjaras

Cloud atlas is one of the best movies i have ever seen. By far the best movie of the year. This review is a joke. Movies are not political they tell they truth remember this. You are a ass sir

FelipeVitalSantana
FelipeVitalSantana

Not many films this year made me feel so happy and relaxed as this one. Is trully a jorney through the epic lifes of those characters.

This review is bad. This has no serious arguments and only states the personal opinion of the writer. A bit of scepticism is good for a review. Please, people. Don't take this review seriously.

tetsuojin999
tetsuojin999

Cloud Atlas is one of those movies critics love to hate, but in time, I will bet that it will turn out to be one of those movies people consider as a true movie "classic".  Look beyond the questionable prostetics and choppy editing, and you'll find a movie that is filled with emotion, depth and brilliance. This movie resonates with you long after the movie is over and urges you to think about your brief but significant existence on this earth. Definitely one of my favorite movies of the year and deservingly so. This TIME critic will be eating their words by the end of this decade.

mrwah888
mrwah888

Henry Luce must be turning in his grave.

 The publication that he has founded has indeed fallen very low on the journalistic ladder...

First, semantics: What exactly is TIME trying to communicate here? TIME has juxtaposed "Flop" and "Terrible" as if these are one and the same.  Though CLOUD ATLAS may not have been well received in the mainstream and is accordingly a commercial flop, it does not necessarily follow that it is a TERRIBLE movie!

Second, substance: Columnist Pols heaps contempt on the movie and relates with relish Mr Hanks' reluctance to speak about the movie on a recent occasion. Not the most incisive or probative stuff  - IMO, this is barely good enough "reporting" for the School Newspaper. Call me when Tom Hanks agrees with you by stating on camera that CLOUD ATLAS is a terrible movie!

In the meantime, don't be so quick to condemn. CLOUD ATLAS is seriously flawed, but it is also brilliant and courageous. 

TIME displays a lack of purpose and intellectual integrity by creating a "Terrible Movie Competition" without clear criteria. If TIME does indulge in this tricky subject matter in the future, I strongly suggest that it only include movies which are a waste of money. CLOUD ATLAS does not belong in this category.

The movie is set to launch in the rest of the World, and I am certain that the response will be more positive.

weidemaitian
weidemaitian

What a terrible review, picking on Cloud Atlas just proved how desperate you are trying to get attention.

icy2thetouch
icy2thetouch

Sorry, if you think Cloud Atlas is the worst movie of 2012, you just didn't get it and that makes me sad about the state of humanity. 

alexreynard
alexreynard

Makes me glad to see that so many commenters here have more cognitive ability than Mary Pols.

JoshCoffey
JoshCoffey

Wow, worst film critic of 2012. I myself grew emotionally attached. This is a terrible review. 


mihng
mihng

Cloud Atlas is worst of 2012 for what again? Taking a lot of material and trying to adapt it to a film and doing if not a good, then at least a decent job of it? For doing something different while still staying true to the book? I'm at a lost that Cloud Atlas could beat out its competition to be the worst film of 2012. I suppose Mary Pols has outdone herself to be the worst film critic of 2012. Sounds about fair, no?

mannyh
mannyh

Cloud Atlas was a great movie. It has to be in the top 2.

Tomas23432aa
Tomas23432aa

what a joke, Cloud Atlas was one of the best films of the year. This writer is just laughable. Wow.

MauricioRojas
MauricioRojas

Sad to see that a media with the reach of TIME does not have the intelligence to understand this film. I think is one of the best films I have seen in many time

ndrewhouse
ndrewhouse

.. and another thing, any film that shows Tom Hanks murdering people and smoking a joint onscreen is clearly trying to push the boundaries of cinema - in my mind it's worth seeing just for these two things alone. Never mind the audacious and dazzling narrative structure, the myriad connections between the stories, the unshakeable faith in the human spirit to overcome incredible odds, to overcome even death.

Go watch it again - in fact go watch it 6 times and then write me another review.

ndrewhouse
ndrewhouse

Pols keeps making the same mistake over and over

Bachalo
Bachalo

Historically it's important to remember as well, that some of cinema's greatest achievements sharply divided critics at the time of their release. 

DavidWatson
DavidWatson

"Staff"... you are an idiot. But rest easy, for you are in good company among many of your contemporary critiquing peers.
Cloud Atlas has a brain, a heart and a soul. It's intricate (not fumbling) and ambitious (not posturing) and as much an achievement in storytelling and score as is for the diversity it's actors were called upon to display.

There is a trend (or a well established sloth...) to dismiss film in favour of blockbuster - but it's not something I worry about any more.
I just ignore the clique, and judge a thing for what it tries to be and how well it gets there. It's funny, I thought that's what a critic was supposed to do, not present their feelings of; "this made me fuzzy inside! :P"
In the short but apt admonishment of our modern age... whatever dude, your compass is way out of whack.

To the team who made Cloud Atlas a reality (and one of my favourite movies of all time) thank you for building that story, and thank you for making the cipher empathy. You gave me the perfect end to 2012 and gave me just a little more faith in humanity.
To the people in this thread who loved the film as much as I did, to some of those same people who think where you come from determines your ability to understand the world - you have missed the whole point of the story.
Empathy is the great divide of our society and our willingness to leap over the void of screaming authority in defiance of tyranny is the siren song of this generation as surely as it was of the generations before, as surely as it will be for every generation hereafter.

miker00lz
miker00lz

@They_Are_Here_Well, the plot isn't really even complicated. It's just not a very good film for many reasons. If you want an art film that does connected stories through different time periods in a smarter way, I recommend The Fountain (2006, directed by Darren Aronofsky). It's probably be the best movie I've ever seen.

CathyPaulino
CathyPaulino

@bmittel12  I am glad that you like it.  I fell in love with the trailers but the film never came to my town so I have been waiting for it to go to DVD.  I thought it was suppose to be out Feb 5th but I can't seem to find it anywhere.  They must have changed the release date.
  I am presently reading the book, I am enjoying it very much.
  I agree with you, "six different plot lines are quite confusing"--I think the critic didn't want to think.  I am slso a big fan of Tom Hiddleston and he said the movie was wonderful, so I will be open minded and hope that I love the film.

CathyPaulino
CathyPaulino

@sandifjm I am in the middle of the book and I am really enjoying it.  I have great hopes for the film and am waiting for it to come out on DVD.

footballer
footballer

@DavidWatson Same goes with the music.  According to the Time magazine staff, the top 10 songs include Gangnam Style and Call Me Maybe.  Why didn't they just list Bilboard's Top 10?!

DavidWatson
DavidWatson

@footballer @DavidWatson Okay, I grew up in Korea so Gangnam Style was pretty hilarious in a Borat sort of way. But I wouldn't even listen to it twice. Call Me Maybe was... painful. Make the bad voices stop!
It's less of a song and more of a theme, but this is what I call music!:

http://youtu.be/mTsNBRb49lA