The Wachowskis’ breakout hit The Matrix definitely blew quite a few minds when it was released back in 1999, but for the most part its high-concept science fiction premise was kept grounded within the framework of the matrix itself. As such, a powerful Oracle was presented as a nice lady with cookies and a showdown between the chosen savior of humanity and an AI slavemaster took the form of a kung fu battle.
For upcoming sci-fi fantasy adventure Jupiter Ascending the Wachowskis seem to have left restraint quite a long way behind them – that is, if the flying alien lizard featured in the UK trailer for Jupiter Ascending is anything to go by. In this version of reality, Earth is nothing more than an unwitting commodity in an outer space industry, which was acquired by an alien family long before human civilization was properly formed and is currently owned by the imperious Balem (Eddie Redmayne).
Balem’s ownership of Earth is challenged when a lowly janitor called Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) discovers that she is the genetic reincarnation of planetary royalty and is destined to rule over Earth as its Queen. Some people are understandably unhappy about Earth being claimed by someone who cleans toilets for a living, but luckily Jupiter has help in the form of two ex-military fighters: Stinger (Sean Bean), who has been genetically spliced with bee DNA, and Caine (Channing Tatum), who is part wolf and part human… and also half albino.
Jupiter Ascending is clearly a CGI-heavy movie, but there’s not denying that a lot of that CGI looks pretty impressive. The film also seems to have a bit of a love story between Jupiter and Caine – one that includes some cute banter between the two – woven in amongst all the action and space politics. It’s unclear exactly where the flying lizard fits into all of this, but it’s a big universe with a place for just about every kind of person.
The Wachoskis’ film was unfortunately delayed from its planned summer 2014 release date to the much cooler month of February, which is unusual (and possibly bad news) considering its blockbuster budget. At this point it’s honestly difficult to tell whether Jupiter Ascending will be a runaway success or a black mark on the filmmakers’ record, but if nothing else it looks like one of the more interesting releases of next year. It’s also neither a sequel, reboot, remake or adaptation, which makes it quite a rarity in the current box office line-up.
Jupiter Ascending is scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on February 6th, 2015.