A VISUALLY APPEALING UNIVERSE WITH A LACK OF NARRATIVE!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: C (2 ½ stars)
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis
saving the Earth and universe in Jupiter Ascending
The Wachowskis (The Matrix trilogy, V for Vendetta, Speed Racer)
with their latest sci-fi adventure full of eye candy, Jupiter Ascending. To best describe this film is to ask this
question, what do you get when you put The
Matrix, Star Wars, and Guardians of the Galaxy, with a splash
of Star Trek into a blender? Well,
you pretty much get Jupiter Ascending,
a visually impressive thrill ride with cool special effects, action, and sexy
young protagonists, with pretty much nothing else.
The story is not fleshed out very well and it’s a shame since the Wachowskis were great at setting up interesting premises with The Matrix and some scenes from The Matrix Reloaded, but then they started to go downhill with their storytelling with The Matrix Revolutions and Speed Racer. The plot for this movie isn’t exactly helping them
tell something good again because we’ve seen these
plot elements before in other sci-fi movies, some of which came out last year
The film is about a young woman in Chicago named Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis-Family Guy, Ted, Oz: The Great and Powerful), who has an extremely stressful life, living with her Italian family (sounds like my mother!), she gets woken up by her aunt every morning to make coffee and she has a job as a toilet cleaner, she really hates her life, sounds like Meg Griffin, her character from Family Guy, doesn’t it? Until she is visited by a genetically engineered ex-military hunter from outer space named Caine (Channing Tatum-21 Jump Street, Magic Mike, The Lego Movie), armed with a space gun and hover boots (Sounds like Star-Lord doesn’t it?) who takes her away from Earth and sends her to outer space where she is apparently part of a royal space family, basically she’s the Princess Leia of this movie.
Jupiter must make a decision that could change time and space forever, go back home as a house cleaner or rule the universe as a queen.
Unfortunately that decision must wait as there is an
evil ruler of lizard-like beings that resemble the aliens from Zathura known as Balem Abrasax (Eddie
Redmayne-My Week With Marilyn, Les Miserables, The Theory of Everything), who wants Jupiter to send over Earth’s
fate to him, so he can rule the world.
So Jupiter, Caine, and a group of galactic hunters must stop Balem before the Earth becomes his. Also, there’s a secondary antagonist in the form of a space prince who wants Jupiter to be his wife and a bounty hunter who resembles Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy who wants to take out Caine.
As you can tell, the film has a pretty rough time developing all of these characters, but compared to an awful movie I reviewed today, Jupiter Ascending definitely had better characters, despite the
fact not many of them being
developed that well, except for Tatum, Kunis, and Redmayne.
Overall, Jupiter Ascending is definitely an ambitious project, very heavy on special effect light shows but light on story and substance. Reminds me a lot of my thoughts on the Wachowskis’ Speed Racer movie from 2008, visually colorful but very lacking in story and characters, however between the two this movie is better than that CGI vomit.
Besides the visual effects, Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis’ performance are decent, nothing Oscar
worthy but probably nothing that’ll cause them to become Razzie contenders. Eddie Redmayne on the
other hand is amusing to watch because he really doesn’t belong in this movie,
his voice is quiet and not very intimidating for a villain and when he goes
over the top it becomes funny, I felt someone like Benedict Cumberbatch or Hugo
Weaving would fit the role better.
If you’re a fan of the Wachowskis’ previous work, you’ll probably find the visuals appealing or maybe the concept as well. But if you, like
me want more story and substance to go with the
visuals and actors, I’d recommend going back to the first Matrix.