About The Film
Beyond Earth, beyond our Sun, one of the most powerful dynasties in the
universe has ruled for millennia. Now, following the death of its matriarch, her
three primary heirs - Balem, Kalique and Titus - are at war, vying for control
of the House of Abrasax.
But another heir has emerged whose claim may be even greater than theirs. A
young woman, born on Earth, unknowingly carries a genetic legacy that entitles
her to a future beyond her imagining and with it the power to alter the fate of
Pursued and surrounded by enemies, Jupiter Jones is forced to leave her
ordinary existence behind and, with the help of an ex-military bounty hunter who
becomes her only ally, she confronts her true destiny.
Filmmakers Lana and Andy Wachowski once again invite audiences into uncharted
territory and fantastic new worlds with "Jupiter Ascending." Their first
original science fiction action adventure since "The Matrix" Trilogy, "Jupiter
Ascending" reveals a universe in which the Earth is just one small piece of the
vast machinery of galactic commerce-a prize, about to be seized and stripped of
its most precious resource: humanity.
"I can't even remember a time when alien intelligence or the potential
inherent in the vastness of space didn't fascinate us," says Lana Wachowski.
"Who didn't love Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos'? And the movie '2001: A Space Odyssey'
had such a profound impact on us. But as storytellers, what got us excited about
that potential was answering the question, 'If someone else is out there, and
they know about us, why don't they want us to know about them?'"
Written, directed and produced by the Wachowskis, "Jupiter Ascending" is
conceptually sci-fi but encompasses elements of their other favorite genres. A
thriller and an action epic, it is also, at its core, a love story between two
people who would never have met if not for one extraordinary event that might
only happen once in centuries, if it happens at all: a Recurrence, a human born
with a gene pattern that's an exact duplicate of one that has already existed.
Jupiter Jones is a Recurrence. Her genetic profile has been identified as a
match for a woman who, before her mysterious death, controlled one of the most
dominant ruling families in the universe. This makes Jupiter, despite her humble
upbringing, the beneficiary of
unfathomable wealth and the pivotal figure in a monumental power struggle, with
the Earth set in its crosshairs.
To the family's existing heirs, it just makes her a target.
Beginning in present-day Chicago and traversing the cosmos, "Jupiter
Ascending" offers a breathtaking panorama, at turns majestic and menacing, as
one young woman, plucked from the most ordinary life, comes to terms with a
regal identity she never knew, and the risks and responsibilities that come with
it-not just for herself but for everyone she loves and every human being on her
planet. In the process, she may find not only her true strength and purpose but,
possibly, the love of her life.
"It's so smart and amazing and so much fun," says Mila Kunis, who stars as
the title character, Jupiter Jones, the unwitting genetic heir to a family that,
quite literally, rules the world. "There's a lot of action, and a beautiful love
story, and even though it takes places in the most fantastical settings,
everything feels so tangible and real. Also, there's a fair amount of sharp
humor, which I love."
"Lana and Andy Wachowski create from a molecular level to the expanse of the
universe," says Channing Tatum, starring opposite Kunis as Caine Wise, a
professional tracker sent to Earth by one of the three Abrasax siblings to
capture Jupiter Jones once her gene print and heritage are verified. Caine
doesn't know the reason for his mission, which is immediately complicated by a
gang of bounty hunters determined to capture Jupiter themselves, at any cost.
"He is trying to figure out why all of this is happening, and has to make a
decision whether to protect her or give her up," Tatum says.
Almost fully human but for a splice of wolf DNA that both enhances his skills
and limits his prospects for a normal life, Caine becomes Jupiter's protector as
he comes to understand who she really is and what's at stake if the people who
want her neutralized are successful.
Whether drawing audiences into an aerial firefight between rival alien bounty
hunters across Chicago's night sky, or launching them into the far reaches of
space, these are filmmakers who do not hold back. Producer Grant Hill, their
producing partner since "The Matrix Reloaded," knows well, "What excites them is
the challenge of it and the immense scale of a film like this, its look and
design. The spectacle of it is just magnificent and that was very much the
intent: a big, broad spectrum sci-fi movie.
"The Wachowskis are known for their innovation and imagination," Hill further
notes, "but it's not spectacle for its own sake. It always serves the story, and
in this case that means traveling through several wholly individual realms, each
of which had to be created with its own life forms and technologies, and each
with its own ways to transport people through space and wage these momentous
The filmmakers' purpose in setting so vast a stage is to frame the revelation
to a shaken and incredulous Jupiter that humanity did not originate on Earth,
and that her planet is part of a much larger enterprise and social order that
dates back more than a billion years. It's an asset among many, currently owned
by the formidable Balem Abrasax, as played by Eddie Redmayne. Though they sprang
from the same DNA eons ago, the Abrasax family represents a culture so
evolutionarily advanced that they now view the human population on Earth as no
more than livestock, a cash crop they can cultivate for their own purposes. And
As shocking as this is to Jupiter, so is the knowledge that she somehow holds
the key to controlling all of it. But in order to accomplish all that lies
ahead, Jupiter must sweep aside the doubts and the limitations she has always
accepted. She needs to find the courage and the focus to stride forward and
claim her birthright despite all the odds against her, and be the person she was
clearly meant to be.
"Stories are only as good as their villains," says Lana. "In this case, we
hit upon the idea of a family of villains that were a distorted reflection of
Jupiter's own family. We are all guilty, like the Abrasax and Bolotnikov
families, of using or extorting each other. We all have put ourselves before
others and have valued status and wealth more than we should. Despite the scale
of outer space, it was important that the characters remain human, reflecting
the best and worst of us."
"Jupiter doesn't have super powers," says Kunis. "She doesn't know how to
shoot a gun. She's just an average girl who's thrown into this environment and
has to figure it out."
"Like a lot of us," Kunis adds, "Jupiter is one of those people who doesn't
know if she's worth more or can achieve more, or if there's even any more to
life than what she's been dealt. She's been kind of sleepwalking her way through
it until someone or something comes along to shake her up. I think many people
can relate to that moment in their lives. I certainly can. Sometimes you don't
know which path to take or even what road you're on until something happens to
make you realize there's more to life than this."
Says Lana, "We wanted to tell a story of a mad, impossible journey that leads
her as far away as anyone could ever go, only to return to her own sense of
'home,' and the realization of what is important to her.
"After our decade-long sojourn through 'The Matrix' Trilogy," she continues,
"I read The Odyssey over Thanksgiving at my parents' house. Then we watched 'The
Wizard of Oz,' and I was struck by the similarities of these two stories,
especially in their concept of 'home.' Home is a center of gravity and one of
the ways we understand ourselves. Coming home makes us think about the ways
we've changed and the ways we've stayed the same. That was the light-bulb moment
when Andy and I first started thinking about Jupiter Jones as a woman who is
unhappy, who feels trapped by the drudgery of her life, and who goes off into
space and learns things about herself-like so many people who are unhappy with
their lives and who go on journeys in search of what they want or need, only to
return with a new perspective and appreciation for where they come from."
But Jupiter doesn't make this journey alone. She has Caine. It doesn't take
them long to realize that however strong they are as individuals they are even
better working together, and it's not a small task they are facing. Once they
understand the full extent of the Abrasax agenda, it's not only the fate of the
Earth but of countless other planets and lives at stake.
The more Jupiter and Caine are drawn into the circles of power, and the more
they learn about the true nature of their existence and the horror of the coming
harvest, "Jupiter Ascending" raises some of the questions that have captivated
us forever. As Andy Wachowski suggests: "It touches on the idea of who we are
and where we fit in the universe; whether we are alone or whether there is life
on other planets."
What if everything you believed about life on Earth was wrong? What if
someone else is out there and what part do we truly play in the greater
machinery of the cosmos?
Says Tatum, "Lana and Andy created a world that will open your mind to the
possibility that we are just a very small grain of sand on an enormous beach."
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