Starring Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Douglas Booth
It’s fair to say upfront I have yet to like a Wachowski’s film, not even The Matrix. The worlds they create are so expansive and encompassing, I feel as if they create without understanding their own boundaries. Jupiter Ascending is no different, as we are introduced to planets beyond Earth, evil alien creatures (seekers) and talking dragons. As usual The Wachowski’s spend the majority of their film trying to explain the rules and corners of the universe; as our heroine is in constant need of rescue and the hero walks the sky in his magic gravity boots and wolf ears. What’s worse than all the ridiculousness presented and explained is that it all boils down to saving the world, again.
Jupiter Jones (Kunis) wakes up at 4:45am each morning to clean houses and toilets with her Russian family who migrated to Chicago. She hates her life and dreams of bigger things. She gets her wish when she is attacked in a hospital trying to harvest her eggs for money. She is rescued by Caine (Tatum) who is lightning fast, can hover and bounce around the atmosphere with ease. Caine explains how Earth is only one inhabitable planet in an expansive universe controlled by one family of 3 siblings; re-writing history all the way back to the dinosaurs. Jupiter is the reincarnation of the sibling’s mother, therefore holding the key to give one of the siblings the power to harvest the earth for more time, youth and power.
The $176 million dollar budget alone isn’t enough to provide satisfaction, it’s the script that needs the most work.
The Wachowski’s latest script looks and feels like the latest RPG video game: Characters with purple hair, monsters and baddies to shoot at, and wild villains with colorful personalities. It’s more like Men in Black 3 than you might expect, as Caine and Stinger (Bean) use laser blasters to zap the enemies. Tatum and the rest of the cast seem married to the world they are playing in, while Kunis (Black Swan, Ted) performs as if this is just another romantic comedy. “I love dogs…. I really love dogs,” she says, trying to win the romantic favor of Caine; arguably the scripts lowest moment.
It used to be that if a film had sprawling special effects that it would at least get a pass for its visual entertainment. However, in 2015 one third of films released in the US have impressive visual effects, so the $176 million dollar budget alone isn’t enough to provide satisfaction, it’s the script that needs the most work. These films are supposed to be entertaining if nothing else, right? Knowing the ending from the first few moments isn’t very entertaining to me; humanity being saved one more time, just in the nick of time. Jupiter Ascending is no different than Guardians of the Galaxy, RIPD, or After Earth, it’s the same formula, same outcome, different names.
A banal sci-fi extravaganza that spends way too much time on scope and not enough on the script.