Andy and Lana Wachowski first burst onto the scene with the 1996 crime thriller Bound, but it was their sophomore effort – ground-breaking sci-fi action thriller The Matrix – that went on to define their careers. However, in the years since concluding The Matrix trilogy, the writing/directing duo has struggled to live up to the success of the Keanu Reeves-fronted film.
Both of their subsequent directorial efforts – 2008 live-action cartoon Speed Racer and ambitious 2012 epic Cloud Atlas (which they co-directed with Tom Tykwer) – failed to draw in large audiences, and while these two films have their share of defenders (read our Cloud Atlas review), neither has lived up to the promise (i.e. box office numbers) of their signature franchise. That being said, their latest offering – sci-fi epic Jupiter Ascending – could be a step in the right direction.
We’ve already seen the first U.S. trailer for the film – which stars Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis – and now we have our first look at the international trailer (see above). Narratively speaking, the latest footage doesn’t reveal much new information regarding the mysterious plot of the film, but questions are nothing new when it comes to the Wachowskis’ complex tales. The film’s visuals look impressive enough, and the quirky character design and juxtaposition of earthly elements with over-the-top sci-fi elements does bear some resemblance to another anticipated summer film, namely Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Like Rocket Raccoon’s big-screen debut, Jupiter Ascending is certainly one of the industry’s riskiest releases this year. The film’s creators are positioning it as a “science fiction space opera” and claim that – not unlike Cloud Atlas - it meshes together several different genres. In that way, the film could follow the tradition of sci-fi epics like Star Wars and Avatar, or it could prove to be a John Carter sized financial misfire, despite the star status of Tatum (Magic Mike) and Kunis (Oz: The Great and Powerful).
At this point, it could go either way, but considering the Wachowskis’ track record, the film will likely feature breathtaking effects and at least attempt to bring something fresh to theaters. Whether or not the film actually pulls it off is perhaps the biggest question surrounding the mystery-laden world of Jupiter Ascending.
Robert Yaniz Jr. blogs at Screen Rant.