Skip to content

Will ‘Jupiter Ascending’ rise above ‘Cloud Atlas’?

The Wachowskis are not strangers when it comes to science fiction. The reason why The Matrix was so revolutionary (ignoring the rest of the trilogy), was because it implemented innovative camera work, and an inventive way of layering a story’s structure. The film also had some moments of deep existential contemplation, as well as having fun with exaggerated philosophies.

When they wrote V for Vendetta, despite having its issues, the narrative there was a strong libertarian undertone, almost to the point of being anarchic, which to be fair, the original graphic novel was also kind of celebrating anarchy and freedom of government. Nonetheless, the film had a lot of heart, and hinted at their passion for liberation and fun sci-fi (perhaps we should have known one of them would have a sex change sooner eh?). Now, before Cloud Atlas is to be discussed, it should be mentioned what their new goal is, with Jupiter Ascending.

This time around, it seems that the film stars Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones. She is apparently at the rock bottom on the intergalactic social hierarchy. However, for some reason, the queen of the universe wants her killed, hiring a genetically engineered bounty hunter played by hunky potato Channing Tatum. (I wonder if Lana Wachowski has a crush on him?) this is what the Wachowskis had to say about their latest movie, as quoted by Cinema Blend:

“It has a lot of things from a lot of genres that we love. It’s got a lot of original action, it’s got a lot of romance.”

It is also interesting to note that Andy Wachowski mentioned that production went a lot smoother than it did with Cloud Atlas, however, the visual effects seem to be more “complicated.”

I am excited about this film, only because Cloud Atlas was kind of a mess. The film definitely wasn’t a bad movie, rather an overly ambitious one. The complex narrative structure required us to follow six different plots, all being connected through a sort of existential “connectionism.” The problem isn’t within it’s narrative structure, but rather the frequent jumping around in genres from period piece to sci-fi, in a way that felt very choppy and jarring when it happens. With a complex narrative like this, it requires a runtime that exceeds what the film medium is able to offer. It seems like the best way to tell this story would be through television. That way, we have time to soak in the different narratives and genre hopping. After six seasons, each season dealing with each plot line and ending with a transition to the next world, we then can end it in a made for television film with a high production value. Cloud Atlas as a film, was destined to fail, however, they did extraordinarily well with what they accomplished. People tend to be too harsh on the film, calling it pretentious. There are two facts as to why this is a bit hyperbolic:

1. The film was never trying to be smarter than the audience:

Their hearts were in the right place, as you can tell that they had a huge passion for the story trying to be told. They really wanted to adapt the novel in all its glory in hopes to successfully translate its ambition. Had this been the product of a completely original screenplay, then I might be inclined to use that word pretentious.

2. The film is one of  the most expensive independently financed film ever:

There was no backing from major Hollywood, which when watching the film, makes perfect sense. This is not a film intended for the mainstream. This is a very art-house niche targeted movie. So if the independent studios (which may I emphasize that these are independent studios, meaning they don’t have money falling out of their ass), are willing to throw down 102 million dollars, you can bet your ASS that they must have liked the idea.

Cloud Atlas aside, I am really excited for Jupiter Ascending. It seems that this film is going to lean more towards telling a fun little space adventure with awesome visual effects and action. My hope is that they shook out all their complex story ambitions in their previous efforts, and find a better balance between substance and storytelling like they did in the original Matrix.

So, are you excited to see Jupiter Ascending? Where would you take Lana Wachowski out for a date? Whatever is on your mind, comment below, and let One of Us know!

Via Cinema Blend