David Mitchell's novel comprising of six stories that cut across continents and the time span of 19th century to post-apocalyptic aftermath sounds nearly impossible to film. We say nearly because directors of Cloud Atlas, siblings Lana and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix) as well as Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run), have accepted the challenge.
The audience gets to travel quite a bit from Pacific Islands in 1849 to a sci-fi Seoul and Hawaii post apocalypse among many other backdrops of varying times. Fans of the cast will also get a kick out of seeing their favorite actor dressed in various costumes and makeup. An example would be Hanks as a profanity-filled baddie, a sleazy doctor and a tribesman among others.
Needless to say about the film, the novel itself has faced the perils of over-expectations at the mention of its pan-time, -continent and -racial attempts. Having to develop characters and ensure continuity in narrative when editing the film, only superficially touching each story which in turns makes one lose its uniqueness.
In all, we would say it's an A for effort but a weak B overall for an ambitious 160-minute film adaptation of a trying book.