Jupiter Ascending is a sci-fi failure for director’s Andy and Lana Wachowski, where were the Guardians of the Galaxy to save the day?
Oh where to begin, this eye-popping, bloated CGI alien fest and narrative humdrum was an extreme headache. The Wachowskis have laid a few bad eggs during their career (Speed Race and Matrix Revolutions), but this one is a real mind-bender at what exactly went wrong? It starts with the endless action sequences of brainless attributes, a ridiculous space opera plot and just plain bad acting (Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne and Mila Kunis). Tatum who thrilled audiences last fall with his dark performance in Foxcatcher is a total dud here and Redmayne who won the Oscar (for Best Actor) last February with his gut-wrenching performance in Theory of Everything is flat out awful. But out of all the performances, Kunis was an unholy mess to watch up on the screen.
This $175 million budget is a total waste and nearly destroys Chicago half a dozen times. I haven’t given up on the Wachowskis as they exhilarated the thrills in the first Matrix and captivated me in Cloud Atlas, but it’s incredibly difficult to see imaginative directors fall so hard. The film begins, set in Russia, with a prologue of the origin story of Jupiter Jones (Kunis). Jupiter’s mother (Maria Doyle Kennedy) is close to giving birth to her when Jupiter’s father (James D’Arcy) is murdered (I won't spoil everything for you). Cut to present day, Jupiter Jones scrubs and cleans toilets in Chicago hotels – wait for it – she’s a princess. Like Sarah Connor, Jupiter holds the future of mankind in her hands but doesn’t realize it yet.
Cue Tatum’s character: a half wolf, half man named Caine. He’s a genetically engineered interplanetary hunter A.K.A. geek talk for a badass. Caine tracks down Jupiter and becomes her protect in a sense. The film reveals the main villains of the film: there are three heirs to the Abrasax Industries dynasty, Kalique (Tuppence Middleton), who tries to befriend Jupiter because she holds the key to eternal life; Titus (Douglas Booth), a slithering snake and the alpha, Balem (Redmayne), who wants Jupiter dead … muttering it a million times. I am boggled on how bad Redmayne’s performance was, sounding more like a frigged old British women than a fierce villain. At least, his Oscar glory can block this horrid stunt out of memory.
Throughout the film, we also get exhausting action sequences, blared with the loud orchestra in the background. The Wachowskis set out to make one headache of a movie. Yes, the film visually stuns at times and in others visually blinds. The Wachowskis inspired to make an epic sci-fi adventure like Star Wars, Star Trek, Blade Runner or Alien, but miserably failed in every category. These narrative humdrum and thinly developed characters are too critical to over look throughout the film. Where the Wachowskis once reigned as exciting minds now plunder in a mishmash of space junk. The cosmos are too great and mysterious to comprehend and, sadly, the Wachowskis keep searching for them.
Jupiter Ascending is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned). For some violence, sequences of sci-fi action, some suggestive content and partial nudity.
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