After being delayed from last summer, the latest from The Wachowskis has finally arrived in theaters and it is a hot mess of ridiculous sci-fi bullshit, baffling space bureaucracy and over the top action.
The plot of Jupiter Ascending is pretty much impossible to describe in any simple terms but, basically, Mila Kunis aka Jupiter Jones, finds out she is space royalty but her fellow royals, the Abrasaxes, all have various plots to try and usurp her claim, because it includes Earth, one of the most resource rich planets in the universe. Channing Tatum is a genetically engineered soldier tasked with protecting her and Eddie Redmayne, recent Academy Award nominee for The Theory of Everything, plays the most ruthless of the Abrasax siblings, Balem. I’m sure everything makes sense to the Wachowskis and they probably have some sort of massive binder full of backstory that fleshes everything out but the movie is almost non-stop exposition dumps and introduces concepts that would probably be the basis for an entire other movie but are then forgotten about in the almost the same scene. Tonally it’s all over the place as well, you’ll go from a 15 minute, insane chase sequence to a 10 minute info dump and, at one point, the movie just completely loses it’s mind and turns into The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as Mila Kunis navigates what is essentially a space DMV. The movie also literally has two, full climaxes, complete with a villainous monologue, huge action sequence and last second heroics. The closest thing I can compare Jupiter Ascending to is that it feels like a more action packed Dune.
The acting in Jupiter Ascending is kind of all over the place. Eddie Redmayne is absolutely hamming it up as the evil Balem, alternating between either whispering sinisterly or shouting maniacally. Channing Tatum is in “serious action” mode with just the slightest of glimmers of his usual goofy charm like we see in the Jump St movies. Mila Kunis is the only person who seems to be hitting the perfect note of just bewilderment at what the hell is actually happening, probably mirroring what most of the audience will be thinking. Sean Bean also shows up as a kind of space marshall on Earth and he’s at peak Sean Beanness, his accent and grizzled demeanor are in full effect.
If there’s one thing we expect from The Wachowskis, it’s over the top action and Jupiter Ascending pretty much delivers in that department. Every chase and fight are jammed to the gills with sci-fi gadgetry, explosions, slo-mo, etc. and it’s one of those movies where you look at it and can feel how expensive it is. Based on it’s box office performance, Warner Bros is probably not going to make back that money but it’s all on screen in the various planets, massive ships and alien creatures.
Jupiter Ascending is batshit insane but if you are a fan of crazy, over the top sci-fi, it looks amazing, even if you may be left scratching your head about what is actually happening and why.
I’m like the J. Jonah Jameson of Everything Action, writing and editing and constantly demanding pictures of Spider-Man.