At some point in the years following “The Matrix,” we looked back on the Wachowskis’ output, sighed, and accepted that maybe they just had one legitimate Big Idea in them. Those sequels? “Speed Racer”? Meh. And then they team with German experimentalist Tom Tykwer (“Run Lola Run”) on the era-jumbling epic “Cloud Atlas” (2012), and after all this time, a bit of the old fascination returns. Tom Hanks and Halle Berry are part of an ensemble gamely tackling multiple roles as the film depicts power dynamics and exploitation through the ages: on a 19th-century sea voyage, in ’70s “China Syndrome” territory, in future epochs both more and less evolved than our own. Not buying the filmmakers’ fanboy profundity? Inclined to snicker at Hanks speaking pidgin neo-English? You still might be drawn in by the mischievously cerebral Ben Whishaw (“Skyfall”) as an aspiring ’30s composer used and achingly abused by burned-out maestro Jim Broadbent. Whishaw’s poignant search for fulfillment is the counter-element that helps ground it all. Extras: There’s a pretty clear sense that the Wachowskis are eager to help the movie win the appreciation that it didn’t get in theaters (but deserved, we say). After being notoriously camera shy all through the “Matrix” years, Andy Wachowski and pink-dreadlocked sibling Lana (formerly Larry) are front and center for an hour’s worth of interview and on-set material, deconstructing the film with Tykwer and source novelist David Mitchell. (Warner, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99; available now)
By Tom Russo| Globe Correspondent May 18, 2013
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