BySean Erickson, writer at
Exploring the area between movie geek and film nerd.
Sean Erickson

Are the days of Wachowski summer blockbusters behind us? What was originally supposed to be a summer of 2014 release, Jupiter Ascending, is about to finally see the light of day in the least prestigious of movie months, February.

The Sundance Anti-Buzz

To make things even worse, Jupiter Ascending just received a surprise screening at Sundance and rather than build any positive buzz, there's now blood in the water and the press is going straight for the jugular. What went wrong?

No, he's not part Vulcan, those are wolf ears.
No, he's not part Vulcan, those are wolf ears.

As someone who has and will remain hopeful for the Wachowski's future film output, I was eager to get that first look at what they were working on with Jupiter Ascending. Unfortunately after I watched a trailer things immediately started feeling off. If you can take a look at Channing Tatum's wolfman roller-blading around on rocket boots and not laugh, you're made of stronger stuff than I.

How Serious Is It Supposed To Be?

I wasn't the only one who was thinking that the dyed blond hair and eye liner that Tatum is sporting in the movie makes him look an awful lot like Will Farrell's Zoolander character Mugatu. And I'm not sure which planet or universe you need to be in to believe Mila Kunis would be scrubbing toilets but in the one I'm living in, it feels pretty unlikely.

What Bizarro world has Mila Kunis cleaning toilets?
What Bizarro world has Mila Kunis cleaning toilets?

I don't think I'm alone in still wanting the next great Wachowski movie world to get drawn into. You can even go on the internet and find passionate defenders of Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas - so it isn't that they've lost all the goodwill that they built up with Bound and the first two Matrix movies. There are plenty of fans out there that want to see them continue to succeed.

What is hard to figure out from everything we've seen so far from [Jupiter Ascending](movie:267863) is what kind of tone it's trying to achieve. There is the deadly serious Sean Bean voice-over of the trailer that leads up to a Channing Tatum that, I'm sorry, is hilarious looking. Eddie Redmayne looks like he's in full-on campy mode and Mila Kunis looks to be about as confused as the rest of us.

Did they grab Tatum from his Aquaman audition?
Did they grab Tatum from his Aquaman audition?

Not Original Enough?

Perhaps the world they've created isn't unique enough? For me, there's a very strong Fifth Element feel to the movie. Which is another big-budget sci-fi film that was fairly confusing and tonally all over the place. I don't blame Matrix fans for wanting something a bit more daring or adventurous from the Wachowski's. The plot of the film can even be looked at as borrowing too heavily from their own movies.

But as with the first Matrix, Speed Racer and other sci-fi films, Jupiter Ascending could find a second life when all is said and done. While it feels like Warner Bros is dumping it in the movie wasteland of February to die an ignominious death, this could be the beginning of another Wachowski cult film that will pick up a following when the movie hits home video.


Will you be going to see Jupiter Ascending next month?


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