By: Mike Agostinelli
Wow, this movie was expensive. And it’s sad because this baby will barely make half of that money back.
Jupiter Ascending is a big, bloated, beautiful, boring, exciting, giant mess of a movie. As I write this I’m still internally debating whether I enjoyed it or not. I liked lots of things about it, while other things made me want to run out of the theater. Maybe it’s the Wachowski brothers, whom I have a love hate relationship with. They directed this, along with The Matrix films and other sloppy movies. They are the kings of style over substance, sometimes to great effect; other times with results such as this.
First lets attempt to disclose the plot: Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is a maid in Chicago who hates her life. We know this because she says it many, many times. She also has an incredibly annoying family. (More on that later) She soon finds herself caught up in an intergalactic sibling rivalry between members of the Abrasax clan, a royal space family who have survived for millennia by “harvesting” planets to suit their needs. These needs include melting the planets inhabitants into goo that they bathe in to remain young. Yup, I just typed that. At this point Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) swoops in to save Jupiter from all of this. And by swoop in I mean catching this broad every time she falls or is in danger, which is about 90% of the film. This chick can’t handle herself if her life depended on it, which it does here. Literally to the point where she apparently can’t even change her own clothes, which Channing kindly does for her whenever she’s unconscious. Kinky, I know. Granted, some of these “saves” provide some really awesome action sequences, including a lengthy chase through the streets of Chicago that goes from the air to the ground and back to the air again. It’s beautiful stuff, but as mentioned above: style over substance.
The villainous Abrasax family is a sight to behold as well, highlighted by the most evil of them, Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne.) This guy acts like his balls are being squeezed throughout the entire movie. He speaks in an incredibly forced, raspy whisper that’s punctuated by random, loud outbursts that are supposed to be terrifying but end up being utterly hilarious. Balem eventually puts Jupiters family in danger, and they expect you to care about this. I, on the other hand, was hoping to see them all killed due to them being about as likable as Adolf Hitler’s pubic hair. The only one I liked is her dad, but he’s killed in the opening scene. It probably helps it’s the guy who plays Jarvis in Marvel’s Agent Carter tv series, but that’s neither here nor there.
All this complaining might make it sound like the movie is a giant joke, but there are good things here. The aforementioned Chicago chase is great, as is the climactic battle involving Channing fighting a flying dinosaur creature. Sean Bean pops in as a disgraced intergalactic cop fighting for redemption, and everyone loves some Sean Bean. He also survives this movie, which is shocking if you see lots of things with Sean Bean in them. The score by Michael Giacchino is awesome, but what else is new? The guy’s a beast.
I just wish this movie stripped away some of the corny crap and went all-out badass sci-fi like the trailers made it seem. But alas, the Wachowski curse strikes again.
This is why I give Jupiter Ascending a 6 out of 10.