Although Jupiter Ascending failed to connect with critics and audiences, The Wachowskis will soon be back with their new project, Sense8. The upcoming Netflix series focuses on eight people scattered around the globe who are connected by a shared violent vision; each episode will follow the characters’ separate stories, with one entity attempting to unite them while another tries to kill them.
Speaking at a Chapman University panel on “The New Era of Television,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told the audience [via Deadline], that Sense8 is “the best four hours of anything we’ve done,” which is fighting words considering the acclaim the network has received for House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black.
Sarandos acknowledged the critical drubbings the siblings’ post-Matrix movies received, but explained that the problem came from having to squeeze massive plots inside a theatrically-acceptable runtime. “Their film reviews have been brutal, and everything after The Matrix didn’t go well, but if you look at the earlier cuts of their films before they had to jam them down to 120 minutes, it’s amazing,” says Sarandos. “There’s a four-hour cut of Cloud Atlas that will blow you away.”
When we spoke to the Wachowskis‘ and their Cloud Atlas co-director Tom Tykwer in October 2012, Andy Wachowski said their first cut was 3 hours and 45 minutes. However, he added “I don’t think we ended up even cutting a single scene; it was just tightening the screws on it.” The theatrical cut runs 2 hours and 52 minutes, so I assume what was left on the cutting room floor were character moments, and I’m curious how re-adding them would change the flow of the film. Cloud Atlas is already a triumph of editing in terms of its speed and movement, so I wonder how adding in an extra hour would reshape the picture.
It will likely remain a mystery. After Jupiter Ascending flopped, I doubt Warner Bros. is inclined to release an uncut version of Cloud Atlas. I guess I’ll have to settle with being blown away by the theatrical cut.