Film Review: “Jupiter Ascending”

Film Review: Jupiter Ascending

Inane and uninspiring from start to finish, the Wachowskis’ ill-conceived project should have never left the drawing board.

jupiter_courtesy of aceshowbiz

Rating: 1.0/5.0

Directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski

Starring Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne

Rated PG-13

Release Date: Feb. 6, 2015

On the surface, “Jupiter Ascending” is filled with so many intriguing elements: reincarnation, battles in outer space, flying alien lizards, a downtrodden girl finding out that she is a galactic queen and a shirtless Channing Tatum. Unfortunately, these ingredients don’t combine to form an epic space adventure. Rather, “Jupiter Ascending” is a silly space opera with a story that would barely be on par with a “Power Rangers” episode. The film is directed by the Wachowskis, the masterminds behind “The Matrix” and “V for Vendetta,” and although it may be difficult, we must swallow the red pill and accept the disappointing reality that the siblings have lost their visionary touch.

In “Jupiter Ascending,” a seemingly ordinary girl, Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), is rescued from her boring life after a cosmic royal family of siblings finds out she is the reincarnation of their mother, thus entitling her to the ownership of Earth. The queen-to-be is aided by genetically engineered warrior (Channing Tatum) through the process of becoming the queen and protecting Earth from the tyrannical royals who seek to take it back, including Earth’s previous owner, Balem (Eddie Redmayne).

What was marketed as a galactic space adventure about a woman being hunted by an alien race turns out to just be an overhyped squabble over real estate. It is a series of repetitive episodes of Tatum needing to save Kunis before she signs her life or inheritance away. Jupiter Jones is a weak, one-dimensional character, who, of course, falls in love with her savior in the first act of the film. There is almost no emotion to her character, and her romantic dialogue seems like it was written by a middle-schooler.

While nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in “The Theory of Everything,” Redmayne delivers an awful performance in “Jupiter Ascending.” Redmayne only has two volumes in this movie: He is either whispering (which is what he does throughout most of the film) or he explodes into yelling. As the main villain, there was nothing menacing about Redmayne’s character nor any of his nefarious siblings. While there are some spectacular action scenes, there is little weight to them because neither the characters nor the premise is compelling. Most of the film is composed of boring conversations between aliens with terrible character design; some of these aliens are comically hideous, making you not able to take the film seriously.

From a sci-fi standpoint, one of the biggest problems with “Jupiter Ascending” is that it is predictable and rather unoriginal. The audience can always see where the film is going, and even the so-called twists can be seen from a mile away. Many of the story elements are taken from sci-fi films “Dune,” “Brazil,” “The Fifth Element” and others. The film doesn’t delve into any of the actually intriguing ideas like reincarnation or discovering that our world is not in our own control. Don’t hold your breath for anything groundbreaking in “Jupiter Ascending.”

Unlike “The Matrix,” which leaves you pondering if we are all living in a computer simulation, “Jupiter Ascending” leaves you wondering why all the aliens spoke British English. Why do all the alien buildings look like they were designed by the ancient Romans or during the Art Deco period? In the end, “Jupiter Ascending” is a silly film with boring characters bogged down by scenes of political negotiations that we don’t care about. Had the Wachowskis cut out some of the political nonsense, the script for “Jupiter Ascending” might have made for a decent children’s cartoon, but even that is a stretch.

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