Thursday, March 27, 2014

You should be paying attention to JUPITER ASCENDING.

Because REASONS.

I love that we live in a Golden Age for comic book nerds, with movie studios - and indeed, entire business models - devoted to bringing characters to glorious life that I thought I'd never see in live-action films.

BUT, as much as I'm looking forward to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-men: Days of Future Past and Guardians of the Galaxy and Sin City: A Damn to Kill For (and heck, maybe the new Spider-man won't suck...), I can't help a whole new level of excitement when studios throw their weight behind properties like this one.

Below is the second trailer for Jupiter Ascending, and. . . well, just watch it.

Flying Gravity Boots? Check. Energy Shields? Check. Space Gargoyles? Check. SEAN FREAKIN' BEAN??? Check - and it looks like he lives through more than half the movie too!

I know I'm not supposed to, but I'm going to invoke the name of that franchise. This is the sort of feeling I imagine people had the first time they caught a glimpse of Star Wars back in the 70's. As in, I'm not quite sure what I just saw, but I want to see more of it. A LOT more.

It helps that the Wachowski siblings, the brother/sister team behind The Matrix, Speed Racer, and Cloud Atlas have - if anything - only been emboldened by their failures (as have their backers, apparently). Atlas was one of my favorite movies of 2012, and even their misses are fascinating film-making. Here they're apparently going all-out cosmic fantasy, with a story about Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) who is unwittingly the next in line to be the Queen of the Universe (really),  and is helped by Caine (Channing Tatum) - a human/wolf genetic hybrid (yes, really) - when she's targeted for assassination.

Not only is that the sort of high-concept genre stuff that I can absolutely get behind, it's ORIGINAL high-concept genre stuff, which makes me even more entranced. There are shades of The Fifth Element and elements of Dune with a look that all but swaggers up to the viewer and says "You thought The Matrix was live-action anime? Just you wait..." and seriously, do I even need to explain why Sean Bean being in this is awesome? The man almost single-handedly made The Island worth watching.

This marks the second year in a row that WB has positioned an original sci-fi property in their coveted mid-July release spot, and Jupiter Ascending is a film that could be the Wachowskis' best shot at a runaway hit since they wrapped up their Matrix films. So there are at least two reasons I hope this film does well:

1) Because rewarding studios for taking big risks on original material is always a good endeavor.

2) The last time the Wachowskis went for broke on an original concept, the literally changed the movie landscape. Not only is The Matrix a perfect action film with awesome sci-fi ideas, but aside from its effect on the way action movies were made from then on (which was substantial), it was every bit as influential as Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and Spider-man for the "nerdification" of Hollywood.

Needless to say, this one is worth keeping an eye on. If nothing else, than to cleanse the palette of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.

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