When you’re a famous movie star you really do get all of the cool toys. Sure, sometimes they’re made up, but most of us would be pretty stoked if we got to even pretend to ride a hover board like Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future Part II. And take this first weird clip from the Wachowski sibling’s sci-fi adventure Jupiter Ascending. Channing Tatum has flying boots.
Completely out of context, it’s a little hard to figure out exactly what to make of this clip. The fact that there are flying boots is pretty damn cool, but the heavy scientific explanation, not so much. First off, it feels totally forced. Not that Channing Tatum can’t play a smart dude, but that still doesn’t mean we’re going to buy him talking about using differential equations in order to mess with gravity. We’re with Mila Kunis’ character, the titular Jupiter, on this one, we heard “gravity” and some other words. It just feels like a heavy-handed information dump full of big words that are supposed to sound impressive.
Visually, however, this clip looks incredible. From the casual hovering to the moving in and out through a solid window, seemingly without any worry whatsoever, all indicates a nice synthesis between live action and computer generated special effects. One thing the Wachowski’s have always done well is integrate the CGI into the foreground of their films until they seem entirely natural. And we’ve seen a picture of Tatum and Kunis flying around powered by these boots, so we know they’re going to play a significant role in the action.
Jupiter Ascending sounds like it could be the big, mind-bending sci-fi film of the summer, and we really hope it lives up to that billing. The Wachowski’s could use a hit. Their last movie, Cloud Atlas, was fantastic, an ambitious, sprawling movie, and also a dismal box-office failure. It was like watching a kid belly flop off the high-dive. We could use an exciting, idea-filled genre adventure this summer to counteract the empty spectacle of movies like Transformers: Age of Extinction.
The story follows Jupiter Jones (Kunis). Due to her unique genetic code, which puts her next in line to be queen of the universe, she becomes a target for powerful intergalactic forces that want to exploit her. This comes as something of a surprise to her since she spends most of her days scrubbing toilets for rich people. Caine (Tatum)—a genetically enhanced, part-wolf, albino, alien mercenary—must protect her and give her a push towards her ultimate destiny.
While that sounds like a fine time to us, you have to wonder if it might be a little too esoteric and strange for mainstream audiences. When Jupiter Ascending opens on July 18, it will also face some stiff competition. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens the week before, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy follows a few weeks after that. Hopefully, positioned as it is, the film will be able to make a go of it.