A review by Nalini Haynes
Jupiter Ascending has received a real panning in the media; people have criticised it for being a trainwreck of a movie, which is ironic because Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck has received a lot of love. One of the criticisms of Jupiter Ascending is that it’s a transgendered woman’s dream, as if the gender of one of the creators is the whole point.
Jupiter Ascending is an exquisite production. There aren’t many movies that even fit the same category for the visuals (James Cameron’s Avatar is one and yet it’s not as gorgeous). Jupiter Ascending, like the Matrix before it, will be held up as an iconic movie that will influence cinematography for years to come.
The story isn’t as strong. Jupiter (Mila Kunis) is an illegal immigrant born on a boat while fleeing her mother’s home country. She spends her life cleaning and looking after her family, selling her eggs to buy a telescope because she has no other means. She’s a bit too Cinderella and a bit too two-dimensional for my taste but Cinderella is a hit with the right crowd.
Jupiter is targeted by aliens who want to kill her but she’s rescued by Caine (Channing Tatum), the love-interest who plays a knight with shiny SF-toys. Queue epic science fiction saga that includes meeting the children of her DNA-identical personality, one of whom wants to build a new relationship and another who wants to marry her for her money.
The cast paraded before us includes the likes of Sean Bean whose character, Stinger Apini, is a bit of a scorpion. And yet he loves bees. At least he doesn’t ask a frog for a lift.
Jupiter Ascending‘s plot is a little like John Carter of Mars in that it tries to encompass too large a story for the timeframe; indeed, too large a story for the timing of the movie. I mean, why would you agree to marry someone who only just kidnapped you? Especially when you know you have legal protection and there hasn’t been time for Stockholm Syndrome to take root. That bit was a little like Star Wars Episode 2 where I spent the entirety of the Annakin/Amidala “romance” saying “No. NO. NO!”
However, the wedding scene was sumptuous with a gorgeous not-meringue dress; I guess they had to justify shoe-horning that stunning number into the movie somehow but surely a formal “do” would have done?
The Wachowskis demonstrated yet again that they are geeks. The references and nods to iconic SF abound. The story felt like the brainchild of a few twentieth century masters of science fiction, in true soap-opera style with essential splodey bits. Because what is SF without splodey bits? 😉
Overall, Jupiter Ascending is a movie that, while not as fabulous a story as it is visually, it still should not be missed.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Directors: Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski (as The Wachowskis)
Writers: Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski (as The Wachowskis)
Stars: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne
Other appearances: most of the cast but especially Sean Bean
Running time: 127 minutes