Another look at Trinity Syndrome.
February 23, 2015 4:07 PM   Subscribe

 
As if the Matrix isoriginal source material?
:-)
posted by edgeways at 4:31 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


And this is why I think Abigail Nussbaum is one of the best critics we have in SFF fandom. With luck, she'll get nominated for another Hugo this year...
posted by suelac at 4:31 PM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


I hadn't read Nussbaum's writing before but wow, she is indeed a powerhouse critic. Great writing.
posted by GuyZero at 4:42 PM on February 23, 2015


Every chemical causes cancer, every food tastes like chicken, and every story is a retelling of the Matrix.
posted by localroger at 4:53 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Movie Yelling With Shrill and Mallory: Jupiter Ascending

Also, I just saw Theory of Everything and seeing that and Jupiter Ascending within the span of a couple of weeks is some serious actor whiplash.
posted by kmz at 4:55 PM on February 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


I agree with everyone else

"that was the stupidest thing I've ever seen and I want two more just like it."
posted by The Whelk at 4:56 PM on February 23, 2015 [28 favorites]


"that was the stupidest thing I've ever seen and I want two more just like it."

I felt this way about Speed Racer. Am I the only person on the planet that was genuinely entertained by Speed Racer? I should be sorry but I absolutely am not. It was a delightful of lights and sounds.
posted by Fizz at 4:59 PM on February 23, 2015 [21 favorites]


Yes. I will be _so_ mad if we don't get more adventures of Janitor Space Queen and her Werewolf Angel.
posted by kmz at 5:00 PM on February 23, 2015 [14 favorites]


(My statement might read like sarcasm but it absolutely is not.)
posted by kmz at 5:01 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I like that the film decided to have an intermission and show clips from Brazil to fill that blank celluloid.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:07 PM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm glad I got over my gag reflex induced by the end of the first paragraph and kept reading.
posted by phaedon at 5:08 PM on February 23, 2015




"... not torture to watch." Hmm.
posted by odinsdream at 5:11 PM on February 23, 2015


I felt this way about Speed Racer. Am I the only person on the planet that was genuinely entertained by Speed Racer? I should be sorry but I absolutely am not. It was a delightful of lights and sounds.

You are not alone, but we are perhaps a minority.

We few, we happy few, we... people who enjoyed the fuck out of that movie unironically.
posted by sparkletone at 5:11 PM on February 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


Go Speed Go!
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:12 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


10 MILA KUNIS LOOKS HOT
20 MILA MEETS SPACE ROYAL
30 EVERYTHING EXPLODES!
40 CHANNING TATUM RESCUES MILA WITH HIS ROCKET BOOTS
50 GOTO 10
posted by w0mbat at 5:14 PM on February 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


The Speed Racer movie was the cheeze I wanted, plus it had Susan Sarandon slinging tools and wrenching cars.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:14 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


LANA WACHOWSKI TURNS TO ANDY WACHOWSKI AND IS LIKE “BUT WHAT IF SEAN BEAN WERE A SPACE BEE-MAN?” AND ANDY’S LIKE “LANA WHAT’S OUR RULE?” AND SHE REPLIES “ALL IDEAS ARE GREAT IDEAS!” AND THEN THEY HIGH FIVE.

Is it unfair to be disappointed that this didn't link to film critic Hulk???
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:14 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love love love love Abigail Nussbaum. She is ruthlessly smart, and even when I don't agree with her (which isn't often) I always find her criticism useful and enlightening. As usual, she is on point here. And yes, she is overdue for a Hugo.

Honestly we could do with a ANuss megapost.

Oh, and re: Speed Racer: It is an underappreciated gem of a film that I will defend whenever called upon to do so.
posted by Sokka shot first at 5:16 PM on February 23, 2015


There is nothing wrong with undying love for Speed Racer. If the pattern holds, the next Wachowski movie should be amazing.

I still want to see Jupiter Ascending.
posted by sleeping bear at 5:16 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


(For example, her piece on The Legend of Korra is just about my favorite piece of writing on that first season.)

Seriously, though, for all its portentious ridiculousness, it was so delightfully refreshing to see a space opera with a something like an economy and a bureaucracy? For that flourish I will forgive Jupiter Ascending much.
posted by Sokka shot first at 5:22 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is it unfair to be disappointed that this didn't link to film critic Hulk???

If Film Crit Hulk's given an opinion on Jupiter Ascending on twitter or anywhere else, I missed it, but Film Crit Hulk did really love Speed Racer, so I'm curious to see what he'll make of Jupiter Ascending.
posted by sparkletone at 5:25 PM on February 23, 2015


The Wachowskis do not half ass (okay V for Vendetta aside) and I respect that. It's whole ass all the time. It doesn't always work but You can't say they're bland. They're all very clearly a personal artistic vision.
posted by The Whelk at 5:27 PM on February 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


I will be _so_ mad if we don't get more adventures of Janitor Space Queen and her Werewolf Angel.

Sadly, this isn't looking like the sort of situation Pacific Rim found itself in where it makes so much money overseas that they decide to greenlight a sequel despite the movie bombing in the US.
posted by sparkletone at 5:33 PM on February 23, 2015


FanFare movie discussion
posted by The Whelk at 5:33 PM on February 23, 2015


She literally go backs to cleaning toilets, this time with a little backbone for fuck's sake. And rollerblading with Sugar Ray on the weekends.
posted by phaedon at 5:38 PM on February 23, 2015


There's gonna be a Pacific Rim sequel?!?! I loved Pacific Rim. It balanced on the knife edge of cheesiness more competently than just about any movie I've seen. I found myself laughing so many times during the movie and then wondering, gleefully, "Maybe that wasn't supposed to be funny..?"
posted by Slothrop at 5:42 PM on February 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


Jupiter Ascending was gorgeous and completely fucking ridiculous, and I would absolutely watch a sequel.


I actually have a theory about the story: it's actually a parable told by the House of Abrasax. The theme of the parable is "Leave Well Enough Alone." See, if the three siblings had just agreed to leave Mila Kunis there on Earth, watched but not interfered with, in a generation (or sooner, knowing her family) she would be dead, right about the time the planet was ready to harvest. Instead, one sibling tries to help her (with an eye on challenging her brother), and for her efforts, her palace gets shot up. Another tries to marry her, and gets his ship destroyed, and the remains of his fortune are lost. The third sibling kidnaps her family and tries to murder her, and in return, she ruins his production facility and straight-up kills his ass.

And then, because this bumpkin is so fucking stupid, she goes back to her homeworld to clean toilets and date a splice, leaving the one of the richest planets in the galaxy out of everyone's grasp.

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:43 PM on February 23, 2015 [23 favorites]


I felt this way about Speed Racer. Am I the only person on the planet that was genuinely entertained by Speed Racer? I should be sorry but I absolutely am not. It was a delightful of lights and sounds.

My boyfriend and I were just talking about this, and he unironically loves the film. His words: "You just have to realize it's not really a racing film. Or a throwback to 60's anime. What you have to realize is that it's the casino night zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and then you can love it"

Anyway, there's at least one more out there.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:47 PM on February 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


There's gonna be a Pacific Rim sequel?!?!

Yeah. It's scheduled to come out in 2017 currently, if I recall. Del Toro directing and him and the cowriter from the first one doing the script. Don't recall any other details (or even if any have been definitely given).
posted by sparkletone at 5:48 PM on February 23, 2015


They should have named the movie Jupiter Descending. She falls, a lot. Caine catches her, a lot. Caine also saves her from her bad decisions on the rare occasions she's allowed to make any.

The problem here isn't so much that Jupiter can't beat people up, which after all isn't the only hallmark of a hero, but that unlike Neo, she doesn't undergo any sort of transformation or inner change--in fact her journey leads her back to the exact same life she had at the film's beginning, except with a cute alien boyfriend.


This is not true. There is inner transformation. At the beginning of the movie she's exhausted and resentful at her long work hours cleaning up after wealthy people, of sharing a bedroom with her mother and aunt, at having male family members boss her around. At the end of the movie she's peppy and not resentful.
posted by space_cookie at 5:57 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


My favorite comment about Speed Racer is still "it's like watching jelly beans have sex."
posted by pxe2000 at 5:58 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I probably would have enjoyed the movie more if the Mila Kunis character had been given anything to do other than stand there and listen to space people explain things to her and wait for wolfboy to rescue her.
posted by octothorpe at 6:04 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I remember a while back there was talk on Twitter of starting a National Speed Racer Movie Day and just finding theaters where people could crowd-fund screenings, and I wholeheartedly support that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:09 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Her role immediately becomes a moral one, to inspire Neo to discover his own innate greatness, rather than being great herself--the very fact that she loves him becomes evidence of his incipient godhood.

I haven't seen Jupiter Ascending yet, but one of the problems I have with the idea of the "Trinity Syndrome" is that the female characters in these stories are usually depicted as being great right from the beginning of the story, and then we watch the male characters as they struggle to become men who are worthy of these badass babes. She acknowledges that Trinity serves as Neo's protector for much of The Matrix, but doesn't seem to grasp that when Neo loses his protector and Trinity has to stand aside, that's the moment when Neo has to level up and be the man that a wall-running, black catsuit superhero like Trinity deserves. Yes, in the end Neo becomes a messiah. It's his story. But a true gender-swapped version of The Matrix would star Carrie Anne Moss as Neo and Keanu Reeves as Trinity, and it probably wouldn't be much different. (Come to think of it, it sounds very Joss Whedon.)

I'm not saying the badass, untouchable babe secondary character in action movies isn't problematic. But I don't think it's fair to cite Trinity as the gold standard for the badass lady who is reduced to a cheerleader in some boring dude's story when she should have been the star herself. Trinity doesn't have to become great, because she's already great. She doesn't need an arc, but Neo does.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:10 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love love love love Abigail Nussbaum. She is ruthlessly smart, and even when I don't agree with her (which isn't often) I always find her criticism useful and enlightening. As usual, she is on point here. And yes, she is overdue for a Hugo.

Yeah, this is me too, she annoys me often but in the wriggling, splintery 'what if she's right' sort of way that is absolutely the best and most constructive way to be annoyed.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:12 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I love dogs, I have always loved dogs" was such a great line in the trailer, it almost made me go see the movie. The line is a modern classic on par with "How long have you been ten?" (which sadly isn't canon).
posted by fatehunter at 6:13 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I felt this way about Speed Racer. Am I the only person on the planet that was genuinely entertained by Speed Racer? I should be sorry but I absolutely am not. It was a delightful of lights and sounds.

You are not alone, but we are perhaps a minority.


Here's some hearty film geek adulation to partake of.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 6:31 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I love dogs, I have always loved dogs" was such a great line in the trailer, it almost made me go see the movie.

They have Jupiter berate herself for saying that a few moments later after Caine's left the room and you could feel everyone in the audience I saw the movie with thinking, "WE STILL CAN'T BELIEVE YOU ACTUALLY SAID THAT EITHER DESPITE KNOWING YOU WERE GOING TO BEFORE YOU DID."

Is there some TV Tropes term for when you try to hang a lampshade on something and it utterly fails, perhaps even backfires? This felt like that.
posted by sparkletone at 6:32 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


"I love dogs" followed by Shepard's line of, "I should go" was perfect.

So bad, yet so good.

The world building is fantastic though, nothing I can fault there.
posted by Slackermagee at 6:45 PM on February 23, 2015


The sweeping vista views of alien planets were so breathtaking, they alone made the movie worthwhile.

Come for the bees, stay for the sweeping vista views.
posted by meese at 6:53 PM on February 23, 2015


This is a really interesting piece, but I think it goes way too far. I disagree with most of the conclusions. What it mostly does is clarify for me what I (would) want out of the sequels.

No, Jupiter does not take down a system-spanning economy within days of being crowned as a royal. But she also doesn't throw herself into the whole harvesting worlds thing right away.

It makes sense that Jupiter is laying low for a while, figuring out what she wants to do. She has shown herself a quick study so one can figure that when she is not cleaning toilets or hanging out with her boyfriend on (her own pair, dammit) of differential equation gravity boots.

And her attitude is completely different (because she doesn't feel as trapped or powerless). Many people say they'd still work their job after they won the lottery. They're often lying, or otherwise wrong. But Jupiter won the entire Earth and is still cleaning toilets and living in the same house with a whole bunch of people.

The Abrasax matriarch was killed for upending the system. There is no doubt in my mind that Jupiter wants to change things but perhaps she has also learned that she needs some background and some more help before she can do such a thing. I see no reason to think she is "secure in the belief that no power in the galaxy will touch the [Earth]."

It is clear that Kalique, Titus (or even Balem if he lived somehow) will try again, along with the other powerful people and families. But it is just as clear that they also have some strong respect for law. That's what all of the machinations were premised upon.

I'm expecting Apex Jupiter they will put together a new team including a hotshot space lawyer, a space councilcreature, and if we're lucky, a space accountant.


I'm not even joking and want to watch all the Jupiter movies.
posted by mountmccabe at 6:54 PM on February 23, 2015 [13 favorites]


There's gonna be a Pacific Rim sequel?!?!

Yes, plus a cartoon to explore early Jageur times.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:56 PM on February 23, 2015


Count me in on the Speed Racer love. It was far ahead of its time in redefining the entire sensory space of the movie experience. Instead of making the cartoon characters look real, they made reality look like the cartoon.

And Jupiter Ascending was a perfect transcription of 30's era Golden Ghetto science fiction onto film, with all the flourish and stupidity of the original source material perfectly preserved, including its sexism and stupid ideas about genetics and intelligence. But that was the source material, just like the cars in Speed Racer being able to drop fifty feet and drive off then grow spiked tires and climb up a mountain.
posted by localroger at 7:07 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


But a true gender-swapped version of The Matrix would star Carrie Anne Moss as Neo and Keanu Reeves as Trinity, and it probably wouldn't be much different.

And then we'd all complain that the protagonist was a stereotypical "damsel in distress," protected by a Male With Agency, until she finally has to bear-hug the Fascist Robot Empress* and pull her down into the radioactive volcano, in a great Maternal Sacrifice (which is the one technicality which permits a Non-Man to Win).

*Wotta twist, the bad GUY is really a DOLL
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:11 PM on February 23, 2015


I think Nussbaum also confused the attributes attributed by the characters to Jupiter, and attributes to Seraphi. Going by Titus's dialogue (and all of the Abrasaxes really), it's Seraphi that is cynical and untrusting. Jupiter expresses some of that, but usually in the form of 'this is what other people say to me', in one case her mother, when asked about the concept of true love. Jupiter herself is a character who feels trapped and unmotivated by her circumstances, but she seems to be big-hearted and trusting (eg her agreeing to sell her eggs in her cousin's scheme, and that basically kickstarted everything). I agree with most of her larger points, but in this regard I honestly feel like Jupiter is a more well-developed character than most people have credited her for.
posted by cendawanita at 7:33 PM on February 23, 2015


The Trinity Syndrome has less to do with screenwriters unable to imagine strong female characters with agency ...

... than it does with pandering to an emasculated male audience that sees the tough female figure as an aspirational figure. They're not in love with Trinity. They want to be Trinity.

Neo is a blank, Morpheus is unattainable cool (and to the audience of nerdy white guys, he's a "magic Negro"), and Agent Smith is your asshole boss. All three of them share something, though, and it's that they're impossible to imitate. Morpheus has no insecurities, no self-doubts. He's totally put together. You, nerdy white guy in the theater with the 32-ounce soda, will never be Morpheus.

But Morpheus also has no choice except to be Morpheus. Just like nerdy white guys (and particularly Japanese salarymen, to whom much anime is directed, and it's anime where Trinity comes from) imagine themselves as locked into enforced norms. They feel the pressure to conform, but their only model is impossible to reach.

Trinity, on the other hand, represents everything a nerdy white guy or salaryman wants to be without the added baggage of also having to live up to Morpheus' impossible standard. Trinity is freedom in black leather.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:35 PM on February 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


With Lana Wachowski being trans, we can probably assume that Trinity was an aspirational figure for HER. And perhaps I'm biased because I'm trans myself, but I see signs of Venus envy all over the place in pop culture.

But Trinity as an aspirational figure for cisgender guys? I don't know. A lot of guys seemed so excited about Neo, they really liked the idea of quitting your shitty job, downloading kung-fu into year head and become an instant badass. I didn't get the feeling that too many dudes were yearning to be Trinity, but maybe I'm wrong.

Looking back, I do remember thinking it was a little strange (for a blockbuster action movie franchise) that Neo and Trinity looked so much alike, both skinny and pale with tight, boney faces and raven black hair. They almost looked more like siblings than lovers. I don't know if the Wachowskis were trying to say something with that.

And then we'd all complain that the protagonist was a stereotypical "damsel in distress," protected by a Male With Agency

You're probably right there, that people would find some way to complain that THAT version of The Matrix wasn't properly feminist either. But you lost me with the rest of your comment. Is that Jupiter Ascending stuff?

My Joss Whedon remark was meant as a little joke, but the more I think about it the more that version of The Matrix totally sounds like a Whedon joint. Kind of a Buffy/Dollhouse hybrid, with an anonymous, everyday gal finding out that she's humanity's only hope against the sinister machines that would enslave us all, and her brooding superhero boyfriend standing by to encourage her to save the world.

Between this and the thread the other day about a trans interpretation of The Matrix, I'm starting to wonder if every Wachowski project is now going to get picked to death over gender stuff. Yeah, Lana Wachowski came out as a trans filmmaker, and that's great for her and great for movies, but I don't think The Matrix is really about gender.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:52 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


No, Jupiter does not take down a system-spanning economy within days of being crowned as a royal. But she also doesn't throw herself into the whole harvesting worlds thing right away.

The gripe isn't that Jupiter doesn't do enough, it's that she doesn't do anything.
posted by space_cookie at 7:55 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I haven't seen Speed Racer, but I think the other maligned Wachowski film, Cloud Atlas, is great. I really liked the book and I really liked the film as well. Of course, credit must also go to Tom Tykwer but I'm not sure which portions he did.

Cloud Atlas had the most unusual and interesting pacing. It was like the most interesting and dynamic parts of each story, the parts that moved, and the editing and music making it all flow was really well done. Everyone got hung up on the makeup and the race/gender switching, and the best I can say about that is that it was an interesting idea that didn't work. But that aside, I thought it was a very faithful adaptation and a solid and unique film in its own right.
posted by zardoz at 7:57 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Too bad I haven't recovered yet from binge-watching several seasons of That 70s Show last fall ... afraid I'd keep expecting to hear "MICHAEL!!!!".

Oh well, going by the (always over-rating) score on IMDB, I'll see it on Netflix in 2019.
posted by Twang at 8:13 PM on February 23, 2015


I'm expecting Apex Jupiter they will put together a new team including a hotshot space lawyer, a space councilcreature, and if we're lucky, a space accountant.


My sequel, "Jupiter the God" would be set oh, 15 to 20 years later. Jupiter has managed to broker a deal where in exchange for her blessing on the harvesting, Earth is safe, and she gets to have her hot boyfriend, a collection of high-tech toys, and the occasional magnificent dress.

Meanwhile on a planet that's scheduled for harvesting, an ordinary peasant woman is leading a rebellion against the system. She has no special genetics, she isn't a princess, she doesn't even have a hot boyfriend. She just has he determination that This. Will. Stop.

Can Jupiter defeat this upstart and preserve the status quo while wearing fabulous dresses? Will she get repeatedly save by Caine crashing through the wall?
posted by happyroach at 8:43 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell, I can't tell if you're joking, but I disagree with your analysis almost completely.

There is literally no question that Neo is the character that male viewers aspire to be in The Matrix. The Trinity Syndrome concerns itself with the fact that, in the beginning of the movie, Trinity is presented as the Guide, and is eventually reduced to the Girlfriend. Nobody wants to be Trinity; they want to bang her.

The movie doesn't even really explain why a person like Trinity would have any feelings about Neo at all. In reality, her love for Neo is merely a function of Morpheus' more primary belief that he is the One. I mean, thank God they didn't free anyone else's mind and cause any confusion, because how could Trinity have chosen Neo if Morpheus wasn't so positive in the first place? It's not like Neo was particularly nice to her, or made any sort of gesture.
posted by phaedon at 9:00 PM on February 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Jupiter would never agree to harvest the Earth, she is horrified by the idea.

I thought it was a fun romp! I want sequels!! There were nods to Metropolis, obviously Brazil, also randomly Roland Emmerich's Stargate, and Elvis Costello. I'm sure there were a ton more I missed.

My favorite line? "You don't treat your cousin like chicken!"

I'm in LA. The scorn heaped on the Wachowski Siblings is pretty much institutionalized at this point in the movie industry. It's ugly, and if Jupiter Ascending was by anyone else, it would have had positive buzz and done decent box office. Instead, it was touted as a flop dumped in February because Warner Bros thought it was crap.

Warner may have thought it was crap, but it debuted in February because it is the month the planet Jupiter is brightest in the sky, and the North American debut of February 6th was the date Jupiter is in direct opposition to the Sun.

I notice it is really fashionable to dump on them in the industry, and I'm certain it is down to politics, not a question of talent or lack of skill. I can espouse on that, if anyone is interested.

In closing, I'm looking forward to Sense8 on Netflix!
posted by jbenben at 9:56 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


*+-845I remember a while back there was talk on Twitter of starting a National Speed Racer Movie Day and just finding theaters where people could crowd-fund screenings, and I wholeheartedly support that.

Oh please make that happen. I saw Speed Racer on Netflix and was SO MAD that the critical drubbing when it came out had dissuaded me from seeing it in the theater. It must have been like playing Sonic Racing Transformed with an Occulus Rift. And the story and performances were actually more fun than stupid.

So I'm definitely gonna catch Jupiter Ascending in the (probably dollar) theater. I don't care what anyone says about it.
posted by straight at 10:06 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


The movie critic for the Australian Today weekend show (Channel 7, I think?) said basically that the performances are bad, the plot makes no sense and the dialogue is terrible. "It's a masterpiece!" he enthused to the clearly baffled hosts.
posted by orrnyereg at 10:13 PM on February 23, 2015


Speed Racer was unexpectedly awesome, and Jupiter Ascending is a movie about some cool boots rescuing the reincarnated space princess. Those would be NEW ROCK BOOTS, specifically - they are the permanently future bootscanon in every movie ever, for serious, including the default boot of choice for most science fiction and Riddick/XXX-type characters.

Guessing they'll show up in the latest Mad Max iteration, too.

And I have a pair! I love these goddamned things, they're so comfortable yet bad ass.

In summary: keep on making ridiculossal movies, Wachowskis. I will watch every goddamned one of them, just like I do for Jarmusch, Lynch and the Coen brothers!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:17 PM on February 23, 2015


This is starting to sound more like the plot to Super Mario Sunshine.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:22 PM on February 23, 2015


Tsk, tsk. I just read the Nussbaum review. It was fair enough up until the last paragraph, the conclusion was total bullocks. Uh, the action scenes were exciting and visually stunning. I'm pretty sure when they put Channing Tatum in dog ears, no honey, they were decidedly not trying to make a serious scifi film like The Matrix, so the comparison is not fair on that level. At all.

I saw Speed Racer on Netflix and was SO MAD that the critical drubbing when it came out had dissuaded me from seeing it in the theater.

Yep. picking on the Wachowskis and waving audiences away from their work has become institutionalized at this point. It is amazing how many folks like to jump on that bandwagon (see: Nussbaum's concluding paragraph.)

Oh. And no, Cloud Atlas wasn't "ridiculous," Abigail. It was an intricate and masterful new way of telling story on film, and it exceeded its source material. The stunt make-up should have been retouched using cgi before it premiered, but seeing as the film was entirely produced and funded by the three directors without a major studio investing, I understand. I can wait for that correction when it is re-released as an anniversary edition or similar.
posted by jbenben at 10:40 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Cool Papa Bell, I can't tell if you're joking...

"An otaku perspective on masculinity reminds us of the vulnerability experienced by many men who live outside the dominant ideal of male success..."

Ask yourself why many of the coolest characters in anime are women. Why do Batou and Togusa play second and third fiddle to Major Motoko?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:52 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


So Channing Taters has super enhanced dog powers, does that include his sense of smell? And he's going out with someone who spends their day up to her elbows in shit? The only way that is going to last is if he also has the doggy gene for eating other animal's poo. Perhaps that will be explored in a sequel.
posted by biffa at 11:55 PM on February 23, 2015


"I felt this way about Speed Racer. Am I the only person on the planet that was genuinely entertained by Speed Racer? I should be sorry but I absolutely am not. It was a delightful of lights and sounds.

You are not alone, but we are perhaps a minority.

We few, we happy few, we... people who enjoyed the fuck out of that movie unironically."


It was shiny.

And fast.

And had scary good casting...
posted by Samizdata at 2:23 AM on February 24, 2015


Speed Racer was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

The Wachowskis don't always hit the mark, but they do always bring verve, love, and effort. Shine on, you crazy diamonds.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:25 AM on February 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


> "Trinity doesn't have to become great, because she's already great. She doesn't need an arc, but Neo does."

Which from a narrative standpoint ends up meaning that her story exists entirely in service to his story, and she has to immediately stop being great whenever that might get in the way of his arc.

> "... a true gender-swapped version of The Matrix would star Carrie Anne Moss as Neo and Keanu Reeves as Trinity, and it probably wouldn't be much different."

Probably true. So how come that almost never happens? I can think of The Hunger Games, and um ... Aliens, maybe?

Whereas for the other way around, off the top of my head I can immediately think of The Matrix, Avatar, The Lego Movie, all the Star Wars prequels, Star Trek Into Darkness, Wanted, Stealth ...
posted by kyrademon at 3:29 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


At least now we know what that Lorde song was about.

Seriously, I was thinking way too much about this last night and I think the genesis of this script must have been one or other Wachowski staring into the night sky and listening to "Royals" while high.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:17 AM on February 24, 2015


Did anyone catch the moment when the two catty, queeny male androids on the bureaucracy planet threw shade at each other? Did anyone other than me roll their eyes at the weird way there never seems to be any queer-positive stuff in the movies made by one of the most visibly lgtb directors in Hollywood? I mean, there's an effete/effeminate villain, again, and orgy scenes with no gay/bi component, again, but the movie's one nod to queer representation turns out to be a hoary stereotype. Ugh. I saw that recently posted article about a possible trans reading of The Matrix, sure, but is it so much to ask for the Wachowskis to - just once - actually include a reasonably complex queer character *somewhere* in their wildly imagined alternate worlds?

Apparently it is.

That said, I completely agree the critical attacks against Jupiter Ascending are bizarre. It was a lot more fun than almost any other mainstream sci-fi movie I've seen in the last few years, excepting Gravity and Pacific Rim. I mean, dumb, dull flicks like Looper and Elysium are at 93 and 68% on Rotten Tomatoes, but a mostly fun and occasionally glorious mess like Jupiter Ascending is at 23%? Please. Some kind of strange filtering is at work there, for sure.
posted by mediareport at 4:20 AM on February 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


I mostly was just disappointed at how poorly constructed and disjointed JR seemed after Cloud Atlas which had a much more complicated narrative and managed to make a lot more sense. I loved CA and was looking forward to this and was pretty shocked at how shoddy a movie it is compared to anything else they've done (even the Matrix sequels).
posted by octothorpe at 4:53 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Roller skating space werewolf.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:57 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


So Channing Taters has super enhanced dog powers, does that include his sense of smell? And he's going out with someone who spends their day up to her elbows in shit?

Nothing I have seen dogs do makes me think they don't like the smell of shit.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:58 AM on February 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure I fully agree with that take, Cool Papa Bell, but I'm having an interesting time thinking about why. :)
posted by Drexen at 5:09 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


> "Nothing I have seen dogs do makes me think they don't like the smell of shit."

Yeah, this question is basically the equivalent of, "Is this supposed ant hybrid creature really going to be attracted to someone who spends all day rolling around in pure, unadulterated sugar as their job?"
posted by kyrademon at 5:10 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


I like Jupiter Ascending (plot problems aside) a lot more than Kingsmen, which was the opposite in many ways. Kid from the wrong side of the tracks ends up living a James Bond dream of bulletproof bespoke suits and royal buttsex.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:52 AM on February 24, 2015


space_cookie: The gripe isn't that Jupiter doesn't do enough, it's that she doesn't do anything.

But that's patently false. Nussbaum spends an entire paragraph dismissing some of what Jupiter does and barely mentions how she changes as a person over the course of the film.

Did we really want to see her try to take down a galaxy-spanning empire? Why would that failure have been more satisfying than what we saw?

We did see Jupiter's complete disgust with how they made their money and prolonged their lives. We did see Jupiter going back to living on Earth, a completely changed woman. The flying around on her own space boots thing looked like a fun date but that was also learning how to fly around on her own. I can't be upset that she has a good attitude now and is not spending all her time mopping and moping about how the system has mistreated her. That was the start of the story.

I will be most disappointed if there is no continuation. But I will also be disappointed if Jupiter isn't more of an active character as the story goes on.
posted by mountmccabe at 8:01 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Speed Racer is one of my favorite films ever.

I have yet to see Jupiter Ascending. Maybe on DVD.
I don't get out to the theater much.
posted by jazon at 8:13 AM on February 24, 2015


The Speed Racer movie was the cheeze I wanted, plus it had Susan Sarandon slinging tools and wrenching cars.

And slathering peanut butter. Oh yesyesyes...
posted by AbnerRavenwood at 8:15 AM on February 24, 2015


happyroach: My sequel, "Jupiter the God" would be set oh, 15 to 20 years later. Jupiter has managed to broker a deal where in exchange for her blessing on the harvesting, Earth is safe, and she gets to have her hot boyfriend, a collection of high-tech toys, and the occasional magnificent dress.

Meanwhile on a planet that's scheduled for harvesting, an ordinary peasant woman is leading a rebellion against the system. She has no special genetics, she isn't a princess, she doesn't even have a hot boyfriend. She just has he determination that This. Will. Stop.

Can Jupiter defeat this upstart and preserve the status quo while wearing fabulous dresses? Will she get repeatedly save by Caine crashing through the wall?


Oooh. You are really on to something but no part of me can imagine Jupiter allowing any more harvesting on her worlds. If she was going to try and preserve the status quo I think she'd have been immersed herself in that life, living in luxury.

So maybe the woman is on a planet Kalique or Titus owns. And Jupiter can't buy the planet because she doesn't have that kind of wealth because she's not exploiting her fields. Does she use the unjust system to become powerful enough to fight the system from within? Or is there another way?
posted by mountmccabe at 8:23 AM on February 24, 2015


I do really like that title, happyroach; it has inspired my new favorite title for a sequel: Jupiter Apotheosis.

Though maybe that's the third one.
posted by mountmccabe at 8:28 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oooh. You are really on to something but no part of me can imagine Jupiter allowing any more harvesting on her worlds. If she was going to try and preserve the status quo I think she'd have been immersed herself in that life, living in luxury.

So maybe the woman is on a planet Kalique or Titus owns. And Jupiter can't buy the planet because she doesn't have that kind of wealth because she's not exploiting her fields. Does she use the unjust system to become powerful enough to fight the system from within? Or is there another way?


So the film I want to see is about 40 years down the line, where Jupiter is aware that she has no heirs and that all of her property goes back to her non-children if she dies. There's a solution, of course - prolong her life for a few hundred more years, killing only a few hundred people instead of the billions who would die otherwise. It's for the greater good, right? But how does she choose who to harvest? And maybe that's where the revolt comes in.

Offering eternal youth to a young character is weaksauce. Offer it to someone older, and make it seem like it might, just maybe, be the good moral choice.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:33 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I notice it is really fashionable to dump on them in the industry, and I'm certain it is down to politics, not a question of talent or lack of skill. I can espouse on that, if anyone is interested.

Please do espouse on that. I love the Wachowski's work, even when they miss. It is honest, ambitious, always striving for depth and originality, and I really appreciate that. Like many in this thread, I'll pay to see whatever they make, good or bad, because their failures (and I think Jupiter Ascending counts, the script was just ugh) are still better and more interesting than most people's successes.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:33 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Even if the story is a bit thin in parts, and Mila Kunis is not quite up to the acting task, it it a gorgeous hot mess. Seeing it in 3D helped lots. It was so damn pretty. Worth it for the chase scene and the SHIPS! I'm not a big fan of 3D, but sometimes it can help distract from the cringeworthy bits.
posted by monopas at 10:44 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]




HOW MANY MOVIES CAN YOU HAVE THE BIG REVEAL BE “SUPERIOR BEINGS HARVEST HUMANS FOR NUTRIENTS AND ENERGY”
you can’t do that more than once!
YOU CAN’T HAVE THAT BE THE SAME TWIST TWICE


Three times since it was a plot point in the future Korea section in Cloud Atlas too.
posted by octothorpe at 12:34 PM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Now I'm disappointed that they didn't fit that into Speed Racer somehow. We could have had bingo!
posted by dinty_moore at 12:36 PM on February 24, 2015


They do make car racing a fake that really exists to support parasitic evil [corporate] overlords, though.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:02 PM on February 24, 2015


Dear Metafilter; The previous thread on transgender allegory in "The Matrix" forced me to finally watch "The Matrix". I spent the entire movie wondering why Trinity was given nothing to do except stare lovingly at KEANU REEVES and I also spent the movie wild in horror as Laurence Washburne did nothing but stare lovingly at KEANU REEVES. And now you are expecting me to watch "Speed Racer"? You are a harsh, harsh mistress, Metafilter.
posted by acrasis at 4:33 PM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do you want to see John Goodman fight a ninja? Y/N
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:58 PM on February 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ha. That Toast link nails it here:

Mallory: The weird robot on Bureacracy Planet and his clone
Shrill: oh man, that scene was FRAUGHT
the looks they gave each other
Mallory: WHAT WAS THIS MOVIE AND WEIRD ANTI-GAY TROPES??
like, that robot-dude was so fussy and made-up and clearly Edward Everett-Horton-style gay
and both of the evil space brothers looked like they’d seen the first 40 minutes of Dune and decided to base their entire characterizations on Baron Harkonnen
why is that still such sci-fi standby, the fussy gay/decadent bad guy?
Shrill: I don’t know, I can’t understand it
Mallory: all big crimson robes and evil lisps and mother complexes


At least we can look forward to Sense8, which will apparently have "a closeted telenovela hunk" and a transgender blogger" among the main characters.
posted by mediareport at 8:01 PM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


related? Gender Identity in Jupiter Ascending.

Something strange and rare is happening now at your local cineplex. “Jupiter Ascending,” a film that has a 23% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, is gaining a small legion of dedicated fans. But not with, the usual suspects when it comes to devotion to objectively awful space operas, disenfranchised young men. “Jupiter Ascending” has broken new ground by becoming the first cult classic sci-fi film that will be buoyed into infamy by young women.
- This Film is the One That Is Prophesied, A Space Opera From the Female Gaze.
posted by cendawanita at 8:24 PM on February 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Which from a narrative standpoint ends up meaning that her story exists entirely in service to his story, and she has to immediately stop being great whenever that might get in the way of his arc.

Well, it's got to be SOMEBODY's story, and in this case it was Neo, as played by Keanu Reeves. In a story about an anonymous, kind of innocent loser who becomes a hero, there is often going to be a love interest who has their shit together and seems way, way out of the hero's league. In this case it was a male hero and a female love interest, but the roles are flipped in a number of stories. (You see it in everything from the Disney princess movies to John Hughes... and those stories are often criticized because the heroine is "trying to change for the sake of a man.")

Probably true. So how come that almost never happens? I can think of The Hunger Games, and um ... Aliens, maybe?

Are you talking about action movies with female protagonists? Because there are plenty of those. If you're talking about the specific, classic Luke Skywalker deal, where an innocent goes on a journey and becomes a badass while a more mature love interest cheers them on, I'll freely admit that's less common but it's a complicated situation. Movies with female protagonists either tend to be all about her finding the right man, or have nothing to do with romance and are all about the female hero saving the day on her own. It's usually Cinderella or Lara Croft, but it's rarely Sarah Connor. (And even Sarah Connor became a kind of psycho Lara Croft, in the second movie.)

If The Matrix was made today with a female lead that probably wouldn't seem weird or novel, but it would still unfortunately be an exception.

A lot of modern filmmakers who would identify as feminists feel like they have to set themselves apart from the Cinderella stories of old by having no romance at all, and I think that's a shame. In a movie like Brave (for example) it's seen as a positive thing that there's no love interest, but having a love interest doesn't make a girl weak. I'm definitely not saying every female action hero needs a love interest, but I think it's notable and kind of unfortunate that they rarely have them while male action heroes often do.

I hope it doesn't seem like I'm saying the way that women and girls are depicted in mainstream movies is just fine now and people should stop criticizing it. I don't believe that. But I think this thread has shown that different people can have wildly different takes on the same film, and a strong case could be made that Trinity is either an ass-kicking feminist icon, or the passive prize at the end of the video game. Obviously, my vote is for the former.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:52 PM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm just struck by the way in which the tomatometer for Kingsmen has been at 70+ while Jupiter has been at around 25, in spite of the fact that Kingsmen is equally a self-indulgent and gendered achievement fantasy. This includes the jocular, "One does not pop one's cherry in Dressing Room 2," shortly followed by the money shot of the wide-eyed kid as we're treated to a pornographic display of firearms and upscale men's fashion accessories. While the camera in Jupiter lovingly lingers over dresses and interior decorating, the camera in Kingsmen lingers over bullet-time mass murder effects shots that offer little beyond cynical gloss.

And perhaps I'm just not thinking about it enough, but the brief robot-robot shade in Jupiter struck me as something of an inside joke, while the "cherry" line in Kingsmen was one of multiple straight masculinity-policing things that add up to pissing me off.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:25 AM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, Kingsmen, a film I apparently am completely in the minority about. While Jupiter Ascending was a mess, it was a glorious mess and I happily watched through to the end (even though I was a little exasperated by the time we got there). Kingsmen, on the other hand, was so nonsensically bad and incoherent that I did something I've only done two other times in my life*: got up and walked right out of the theater, leaving my 10 bucks and that shitty experience behind. I found it to be just terrible and have been seeing conversations online all week about how great it is, which I just do not get.

*-the other two films were Con Air and the first Tomb Raider. In hindsight, I stand by those decisions and whatever I did with the hour or so of my life I got back with each was far more valuable than seeing the end of those three crappy movies. It felt good to walk out of Kingsmen.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:47 AM on February 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was charmed by Jupiter Ascending. It went all-in and it had a lot of fun. I pretty much agree with all of the positive reviews about the movie about its many, many faults and how little I cared about any of them.
posted by jeather at 11:07 AM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ursula Hitler, it's interesting that The Terminator kind of accidentally makes Sarah Connor a female Neo/Luke Skywalker because it was blending sci/fi action movie and horror movie tropes. Without the action movie stuff and Kyle training Sarah for her Destiny to Save The Future, she'd just be a Final Girl.

Of course she doesn't get to save her love interest, he has to die heroically saving her (even if she lands the final blow). And it's too bad she's not The One but rather The One's Mom.
posted by straight at 12:11 PM on February 25, 2015


In T2 she is totally The One, though. John was going to be but Sarah said "fuck that, we're blowing up Skynet right the hell now" and so it went.

T3 and the subsequent monstrosities say otherwise, but I don't care because they're stupid.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:16 PM on February 25, 2015


« Older Battle over the truth of Muslim Ring of Peace...   |   Comedians who died in 2014 Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments