Story by: Dean Crawford, Photos by:
Directed by Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski
Action / Adventure / Sci-fi
Ever since the Wachowskis first burst onto the scene with the “Matrix” trilogy, they have exercised unquestioned visual prowess in the often-crowded sci-fi genre.
“The Matrix” (1999) is one of the most iconic films of the 20th century, and I was one of the few critics to really enjoy “Cloud Atlas” (2012). Sure, the film had its problems, but given the ambitious vision it brought to the screen, the adaptation deserved to be more successful than it was. Regardless of the response, I fear that its poor box office performance means it’s unlikely that an independent film of such scale will ever be made again. Instead, big budgets will be invested into safer bets like yet another superhero franchise or, God forbid, another “Transformers” movie.
The Wachowskis return to their beloved sci-fi genre with “Jupiter Ascending,” casting Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis as their leads. Kunis plays Jupiter Jones, a Russian immigrant working as a cleaner who finds herself at the center of an interplanetary war. Unbeknownst to her, she is descended from royalty and could lay claim to the throne that rules the universe. C-Tate plays Caine Wise, a soldier sworn to protect Jupiter, and Eddie Redmayne is Balem, the current king who wants Kunis’ character dead. Sean Bean also stars as Stinger, but I won’t say too much about his role. Given his track record on screen, I wouldn’t want you to get too attached to his character before you go into the film; Bean’s current on-screen death toll is 21 at last count, so I won’t waste my time hoping he sticks this one out.
I think it’s fair to say that, despite the Wachowskis’ knack for impressive visuals, their films often have a dependency on flashy imagery that cannot compensate for weak storytelling. “The Matrix” sequels (2003) were a mess in terms of plot, as was “Cloud Atlas” (though, to be fair, that was sort of the point). Here’s hoping they get the balance right in “Jupiter Ascending.”