Starring: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, James D’Arcy
Directed By: The Wachowskis
Jupiter Ascending isn’t that bad. Come on America. I’ve seen way worse, and frankly way darker, films do a lot more business. You guys sat through Godzilla, which was dark, bleak, ugly, long, boring, and really just a whole lot of bad adjectives I’d use to describe because I hated the movie. Jupiter Ascending is fun. It’s the kind of fun you get when you say “fuck it” and throw caution to the wind to make a crazy sci-fi epic from scratch. There’s a plot here, and the poorly made movie trailers did an awful job communicating it to the masses.
The story revolves around Jupiter (Kunis), who cleans houses for a living with her immigrant family. One day, she is thrust into a world where she finds out she’s universal royalty, or “entitled”, and it’s up to Caine (Tatum) to protect and save her from those that would do her harm. See, there’s a royal family, which consists of Balem (Redmayne), Titus (Booth), and Kalique (Middleton). Jupiter is the exact reincarnation of their mother, who passes after living for a ridiculously long time. The royals, and other lucky space dwellers, live so long because of the “harvest”, which is what happens when they kill the inhabitants of a planet and use their essence to make a serum that gives the consumer “more time”. So, they’re like space vampires, but without the blood drinking. Jupiter’s original royalty form left a provision that if she were ever to be reincarnated, she would regain control over Earth, which is important, because obviously Jupiter doesn’t want her planet to be harvested. And no one in the royal family wants to die, so everyone is some form of an enemy.
It reminded me of the films we used to make in the 90’s, when we used to make action and sci-fi films that were as much fun as they were action oriented. Films like Men In Black, Independence Day, Armageddon, etc. all had a ton of action, but they also had fun with it. Somewhere along the way we started making impossibly dark movies, with impossibly bleak futures, and Jupiter Ascending is having none of that. It’s a bright film with potential of a bright future. It feels original, and it seems to be fairly well thought out. Sometimes though, it could hold back on the cheese… just a bit.
It is a little cheesy, possibly due to Eddie Redmayne’s absolutely cheesetastic performance as a villain. It’s as brilliant as it is over the top. I don’t know whether or not to bow down and hand him another Oscar, or hose him down and make him do another take. At some points, it feels so right, and then in the next scene it feels like it is just too much. If I remember one performance from Jupiter Ascending, it’ll be Redmayne, hands down. Also, you spent 200 million on this film, and yet some of the special effects still look wonky. Tatum’s gravity boot running looks unfinished, with decidedly sub-par special effects. So, while I did enjoy the film, it isn’t perfect, and it isn’t a game changer or anything of the sort. However, I still enjoyed it, and most of the film is visually stunning enough for me to recommend you actually catch this in theatres.
Jupiter Ascending may be remembered as a flop, but you could say the same thing about last years Edge Of Tomorrow. Jupiter Ascending is simply misunderstood, a sci-fi extravaganza marketed as some artistic visual effect masterpiece. If the viewing audience had known how much fun this film really was, I think it would have done a lot better.
FINAL GRADE: B+