The Wachowskis hit it big as filmmakers with only their second movie, The Matrix, and while its two sequels are a mixed bag on the critical front they made massive amounts of the green stuff. That’s a good thing in this case as it allowed Andy and Lana some freedom in regard to making the movies they want to make with little regard for studio interference. Granted, one of the results was Speed Racer, but we also got the the big, beautiful mess that is the sadly under-appreciated Cloud Atlas. Some of you undoubtedly think the former is the unappreciated masterpiece and the latter the bust, but the takeaway is the same regardless.
These are filmmakers who are perfectly content making epic films for small audiences. It’s not the most sustainable business model, but to each their own. The big question now though is what to make of their next sure-to-be-misunderstood-by-the-masses film, Jupiter Ascending.
The film is a sci-fi adventure that sees the Queen of the universe put out a hit on an earthling named Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) because the human is destined to claim the intergalactic throne. A genetically engineered hunter named Caine (Channing Tatum) arrives as her sole protector against the dark forces aligned against her (which presumably includes a poisoned apple at some point).
Check out the first trailer below.
Do you think it was intentional to end the trailer with Jupiter falling?
More importantly, what do you think of Tatum’s ears? There’s no denying the effects and scope glimpsed in the trailer look fairly fantastic, but those goddamn ears man, those goddamn ears. You can’t help but think Vulcan or elf, and I can’t see why they were deemed important enough to keep regardless of how dumb they look. It’s nice that they acknowledge alien creations won’t look entirely human, but why not alter Tatum’s face in some other less goofy way? Better yet, make Sean Bean (who plays a wise elder destined to die in some way because it’s in Sean Bean’s contract) the hero. Go less obvious, not more, and give us a hero who doesn’t look like an ex-stripper from Florida.
Okay, I’m descending from my soapbox.
The Wachowskis wrote the film, and very cool production design aside it looks to be a mash-up of some familiar tropes with a dash of Snow White thrown in for good measure. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and minus the character of Caine it’s almost a gender reversal of The Matrix with a female being “the One” destined to save the universe. Good thing she has a heroic male to protect her along the way.
The film also stars Eddie Redmayne, Doona Bae, James D’Arcy, Tuppence “For the Poor” Middleton, and (reportedly) Terry Gilliam. (If that last bit is true then it increases the odds that Gilliam may also be cast as the villain in the just-announced Jack Reacher sequel.)
And finally, in case you were curious, I couldn’t find any official stills from the film for the header image above so I just grabbed the first one I could find of one of Miss Jupiter herself.
Jupiter Ascending lands in theaters July 25, 2014.