The trailer for the new Tom Hanks/Halle Berry drama "Cloud Atlas" makes "Tree of Life" look darn right rudimentary by comparison.
The film, based on the best selling book of the same name by David Mitchell, follows several story lines scattered across time. Our first peek at the film indicates direct links between the disparate times and faces, and we see Hanks and Berry, among other, dressed in everything from '70s gear to colonial attire.
It's good to see a grimy, unshaven Hanks again. It's like he never got off that island in "Cast Away" after all.
But what can we make of a five-plus minute trailer that raises far more questions than answers? It appears there's a broader patch work in play, the notion that past lives influence the present, and that misdeeds carry consequences far beyond what we see at any given time.
The film's visuals are dutifully striking, from very modern sequences right out of a "Star Wars" prequel to less advanced scenarios meant to pit the characters in grave danger.
Hanks has the Everyman status to bring us into such a knotty tale, and Berry simply needs a good movie turn to remind us why she stood, beaming, on that Oscar stage back in 2002.
That still might not be enough.
Films this ambitious travel down one of two distinct paths - greatness or "Heaven's Gate 2.0." Hard to imagine anything in between, especially given the involvement of the Wachowskis ("The Matrix," "Speed Racer"), a duo known for their inconsistent film resume.
"Cloud Atlas" hits theaters Oct. 26.