Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Godzilla versus Jupiter Ascending

Buildings will fall in this clash between titans

Thu, Dec 12, 2013, 00:23


Well, it does feel that way just a bit. The trailers for the Wachowski siblings’ Jupiter Rising and Gareth Edwards’s Godzilla have arrived at about the same time. Am I wrong in suggesting that the big lizard promo hammers the sleek post-Matrix trailer into the ground? Mr Edwards is definitely on the way up. His recent Monsters was among the cleverest science fiction films of recent years. He used that limited budget with great skill and managed to invest real emotion in the piece. But Godzilla always sounded like a bad idea. We don’t say that simply because Roland Emmerich made such a godawful mess of the previous reinvention. One also worried that it seemed such a knee-jerk follow-up. Monsters was about giant, well, monsters. Let’s offer this young fellow the most famous giant monster in cinema. Shall we?

I have become less worried. Edwards is a very bright young man and I’m sure he’ll find some original rhythms. And this trailer is awesome, dude. There’s not much too it. We are just watching a parachute jump into mayhem. But it’s so beautifully handled. Is that Ligeti in the background? I believe it is.

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Now, on to Jupiter Ascending. The Wachowski siblings really do offer us dilemmas. Whatever you think about the first Matrix film, you’d have to admit that it was a very influential piece of work. The second and third parts of the trilogy (as it then became) turned out to be pretty plodding. Speed Racer was awful. Cloud Atlas was the sort of film you felt people straining to like (and mostly failing). Now there’s this. Jupiter Ascending has a tolerable cast — Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne — but you don’t really sense that much heat coming off the project. The trailer? Well, let’s be honest. If you saw this without spying any credits you’d say that it looked like a feeble rip-off of the Matrix. It might end up being just that. It might be magnificent. But, for now, Godzilla seems to have the upper hand.

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