This summer’s Jupiter Ascending was supposed to mark the return of Andy and Lana Wachowski to blockbuster science-fiction, a genre they briefly defined in 1999 with The Matrix before a decade that saw the successful-yet-disappointing Matrix sequels and the somewhat calamitous Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas. On Tuesday, everything changed. Below, two EW writers with profound opinions debate what this means for the siblings. Warning: Certain infamous megaflops will be flagrantly defended.
Jeff Labrecque: Warner Bros. announced Tuesday that Jupiter Ascending, the Wachowskis’ science-fiction action movie with Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, was bumped from July — the heart of summer blockbuster season — to February 2015, a.k.a. the box-office dumping grounds. Note that they didn’t push it to November or December, which would’ve given the Wachowskis several months to fine-tune and fix the bugs, while still soaking up holiday dollars. No, a February release sends signals that Warner Bros. has little confidence in the movie, which was only weeks from release. So… after several other high-priced underwhelming projects, is it fair now to say that the first Matrix was the exception for the Wachowskis and not the rule?
Darren Franich: That would be the case, Jeff, except for one simple fact: Speed Racer is awesome. Not “underrated” or “overlooked” or “worth a second look,” although it is all those things; it is awesome. Yes, the 2008 cartoon adaptation is generally credited with removing what little mojo the Wachowskis had left after the Matrix sequels, but it is a stunner: a movie that completely replaces even the fragile physics of The Matrix with a practically abstract array of high-speed colors. The problem, of course, is that it was also a $120 million movie, and there’s a reason people don’t make a lot of semi-abstract $120 million movies. READ FULL STORY