Three directors and a game cast tell interconnecting stories over centuries in Cloud Atlas, a mightily ambitious project from Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and the Wachowski siblings (Andy and Lana of The Matrix films).

The likes of Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and Jim Sturgess don heavy makeup to play multiple roles as the movie tries to show how lives and people interconnect through time. The experiment pays off enough to qualify this as a mostly enjoyable time, although some stories are weaker than others. Berry has a good one as a reporter in the 1970s dealing with crooked energy suppliers, and Hanks has a nice time playing both virtuous and murderous types. As for the bad guys Hanks plays, let’s just say it’s a long way from Forrest Gump or the sweetie pie douchebag who met up with Meg What’s-Her-Face on top of the Empire State Building. He gets to play the worst scumbags of his career, and you can sense he cherishes the opportunity.

The movie does boast some of 2012’s worst makeup, and it distracts from time to time.

The film is more a magnificent curio than magnificent entertainment. It will certainly challenge audiences ill-prepared for its length (172 minutes—almost three hours!) and numerous swirling stories.

Massive kudos to the folks in charge of the visuals here, especially the future cities. They come up with mighty original settings for this film, and they look good on the home screen.

Special Features: You get a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff that add up to less than an hour and don’t really impress.