Cloud Atlas is a huge, sprawling novel, so it wasn't much of a surprise that the movie version clocked in at 172 minutes — but Chinese audiences will get a much tighter version of the film, lasting just 137 minutes. Unfortunately, thanks to state censors they're losing some of the good parts, including the gay love scenes between Ben Whishaw and James D'Arcy, plus some of the most bloody and sexual stuff elsewhere in the film. In any case, it'll be interesting to see how the concise Atlas does in China — it has to make a ton of money there to make the film profitable worldwide. [South China Morning Post]
I'd be interested to see the Chinese cut just to see how the flow and pacing holds up.
This movie suffered from 2 grave mistakes (although I credit the team with at least taking gutsy chances, even though they didn't pan out):
1 - Having the core actors play EVERY part didn't work. At all. Especially when they became Korean.
2 - Inter-splicing the individual stories around each other didn't work either. The book works because each story is self contained and works linearly, with the transition point being at the end of each story.
Part of me reeeeeaaallllly wishes Chris Nolan had taken a shot at this instead - what he did with the Prestige gave me great hope he could handle Cloud Atlas appropriately.