2013 was a year of grim dystopia in science fiction cinema, with Oblivion, After Earth, Elysium and Ender’s Game all showing less than cosy futures for the planet and even Starfleet’s flagship headed Into Darkness. Fortunately, 2014 will see the release of a major new space opera crafted by the Wachowski siblings Lana and Andy who in 1999 came to global attention with the genre bending cyber nightmare of The Matrix. While the two sequels, Reloaded and Revolutions could not match the original, in 2012 with co-director Tom Tykwer they astonished audiences with their adaptation of the “unfilmable” Cloud Atlas. Working again with an ensemble cast, they now prepare to take us off planet with Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne and Cloud Atlas stars Doona Bae and James D’Arcy to tell the tale of Jupiter Ascending.
Garry Mac – See, I’m a big fan of the Matrix trilogy (yes, all three, particularly Reloaded), and although the Wachowskis are renowned for style over substance (having not seen Cloud Atlas, I can’t comment whether it falls into that trap), their style is so incredibly beautiful to watch that I can often forgive the slight lack of heart.
They push the boundaries of visual film-making, and for that alone, I think they’re great. I’m pretty sure Jupiter Ascending will have plenty of generic sci-fi tropes in it, and there’s every chance that much of the characterisation will fall flat, but sometimes when I go see a movie I want to be transported for a brief time into a fully-realised world.
Using that alone as my criteria, I’m very excited about this movie – it looks stunning.
Michael Flett – Cloud Atlas was without doubt the film of 2013 for me, and that’s from someone who wasn’t particularly enamoured by The Matrix trilogy; the first was good simply because I went in knowing nothing, and was unprepared for the rug pull half way through, while the second one was indulgent and self-important and everything the first one wasn’t. It was so bad I didn’t even bother with the third, and to this day I’ve never seen it, though it has to be said Keanu Reeves was a contributing factor. I still find it incomprehensible that he finds employment as an actor, a trade to which is clearly unsuitable.
The Wachowskis like their epics, but as Cloud Atlas demonstrated, they do it through the eyes of characters we care about. This does look spectacular, but it also looks to be about people. Channing Tatum, as gorgeous and physically capable as he is, should not be allowed to also be as good an actor as he is; some folk genuinely do have it all, and he’s one of them. I know Mila Kunis best for Black Swan, and Doona Bae had many parts in Cloud Atlas though most prominently as Sonmi-451. I have no concerns about the acting talent.
Sean Bean is reliable – well, at dying, anyway. Who wants to bet he’ll make it to the end titles? Didn’t think so. Hell, who wants to bet he’ll make it to the opening titles?
The plot sounds a little silly – a janitor who possesses the same perfect genetic makeup as the Queen of the Universe, an interplanetary warrior whom the Queen sends to kill Jupiter – but what the Hell, I’m in. The hospital rescue scene reminds me of Serenity, and it’s nice to have something set in outer space, though whatever planet we end up on looks suspiciously Earth like – someone has to keep an eye on the budget, I guess – though the effects and costume design are brilliant.
I do like the line “Your Earth is a very small part of a very large industry” – do we see a hint of anti-capitalism here? I am of course also presuming that this is in no way a sequel to Zsa Zsa Gabor’s 1958 flick Queen of Outer Space…
It’s a sin that Cloud Atlas wasn’t recognised during awards season, and that it’s regarded as a commercial failure, when it made over $130 million globally, though crucially with almost 80% of that total outside America.
The problem wasn’t the film, which was moving, involving and astonishing, the problem was that American audiences didn’t want to see an epic science fiction literary adaptation. Hopefully if this does well, it might focus some attention back on that well deserving masterpiece.
Wes May – As someone who really enjoyed all three Matrix films (despite the diminishing returns, obviously) I don’t mind the mention of the trilogy. The Wachowski’s earned my allegiance with them, so I’m in for anything. Especially since Cloud Atlas proved it wasn’t just a fluke.
As for Jupiter Ascending, been waiting a long time to get a peek at it. I’m not overly thrilled by Tatum’s involvement here, as he sometimes tends to pull me out of the movies. That said, the Wachowski’s trademark imagination is on full display here. The trailer is a bit short of info, but the sight of alien worlds, high-tech weaponry and epic fight scenes gets me very interested in what more we will be shown in the months to come.
I’m gonna start my vigil for Sean Bean now, though.
Adam Dworak – “From the producers of the Matrix trilogy.” I am not sure are they trying to encourage me to go to the cinema and see this movie or warn me not to do so. Jupiter Ascending looks generic, very generic, in fact, to generic and beyond! I can’t take a movie seriously in which
there is a character named Queen Of The Universe unless it’s a big screen adaptation of Tom Paris’s holonovel The Adventures Of Captain Proton!
It reminds me the TV show Roswell (1999-2002) telling the story of group of alien exiles hiding on Earth in the hope of returning one day to their outer space kingdom to restore peace and prosperity. Judging from trailer Jupiter Ascending is nothing more than Roswell The Aftermath. I am strongly convinced that the whole science fiction element will be just the background for a very bad fantasy romance between Channing Tatum as Caine and Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones.
I must admit that the CGI looks fantastic but without a strong story behind it, it will be just another demonstration of the newest graphic cards – very impressive but flat!
I also don’t expect much from the cast except maybe Sean Bean but we all know how it will end for him.
Jupiter Ascending is scheduled for release on July 25th 2014