Will the Wachowskis Bounce Back With Jupiter Ascending?

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 10 2013 11:39 AM

Will the Wachowskis Bounce Back With Jupiter Ascending?

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Channing Tatum, the "perfect hunting machine," must save Mila Kunis in Jupiter Ascending.

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Last year’s Cloud Atlas, directed by the Wachowski siblings, was ambitious even by their standards, tackling several intricate stories across multiple worlds and time periods, with double-casting, elaborate costumes, and an invented language. But many critics—and even fans—felt that the storytelling was muddled and the result a bit of a mess. (Though the movie does have its defenders.)

Nonetheless, the Wachowskis are not dialing down their ambitions any: The trailer for their latest effort, Jupiter Ascending, is here, and the sci-fi film looks to be roughly as sweeping and strange as their last movie. Channing Tatum is “the perfect hunting machine,” Caine, with bleached blonde facial hair and plenty of eyeliner. The costumes sported by Mila Kunis (the titular Jupiter), Eddie Redmayne, and other cast members are also lavishly fantastical. What we can discern of the narrative suggests the usual Wachowski mix of political allegory and philosophical meditation.

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Amid the grand themes and the visual silliness, will the Wachowskis manage to tell a more effective story this time around? We'll have to wait and see. While the filmmakers have been largely mum on the details of the film, they have released a statement on what we can expect:

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning toilets and an endless run of bad breaks.  Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along—her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.