Ridley Scott’s most mainstream-minded movie in years, The Martian is 80 percent more Apollo 13 than it is Duncan Jones’ similarly themed (but wholly superior) Moon. Like Moon, The Martian involves a Starman (David Bowie’s space anthem of the same name is used tremendously in Scott’s film) contending with crippling solitude and psychological tremors when he’s left for dead on Mars. Unlike Moon, the narrative is a straight-forward locomotive, employing the mantra “I think I can” to such a degree that you can be almost one hundred percent confident that everything is going to work out in the end. Read More
Ambitious to a fault, last year’s Cloud Atlas was amongst the strangest and best of the year. It earned a mention just outside of my top ten of the year for taking massive risks that mostly paid off, something the Wachowskis have become known for. While The Matrix sequels may have soured the insane originality of the first film, they were box office giants that left every studio exec with the name Wachowski on their lips.
Even after the intellectual floppage of these follow ups, people generally agree that that first film is a stroke of genius and show that this brother (now bro-sis) duo had something special up their sleeves. The box office seem to suggest otherwise though. Since then though, the Wachowskis have struggled to find their footing creatively, and especially, financially. Cloud Atlas only scrapped up $27.1 million domestically even with big names like Tom Hanks and Halle Berry but performed four times as well overseas (a rare feat) while Speed Racer crashed and burned, only making $43.9 mill on a $120 mill budget.
Jupiter Ascending looks to share thematic similarities to both Atlas and Matrix and also has a cast loaded with international stars in Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis. Based on the pure formula of this sci-fi/action spectacle film lead by two “it” actors, Jupiter Ascending seems like it could be an easy hit but the Wachowskis recent track record seem to suggest otherwise. What is it about Wachowskis latest films that have made people back away from? Are they too heady for mainstream audiences?
If that is the case, then Jupiter Ascending is unlikely to sway any new converts since the fficial synopsis depicts an equally out-of-the-box adventure: In a universe where humans are near the bottom of the evolutionary ladder, a young destitute human woman is targeted for assassination by the Queen of the Universe because her very existence threatens to end the Queen’s reign.
Jupiter Ascending is written and directed by Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski, and stars Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, James D’Arcy and Doona Bae. It opens July 25, 2014.