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Movie Review: Jupiter Ascending

By Jason Oi, HMG-CN Critic

Visit his website at: jasonwatchesmovies.com

It’s definitely hard to believe that Eddie Redmayne did both The Theory of Everything as well as this movie in around the same time span. All the nuance, all the restraint from the former disappears in what I can say is the least subtle, most awkward, raucous portrayal of a villain in a long time.

Jupiter Ascending is the Wachowskis newest science fiction flick, but unlike the rest, this one feels like a Young Adult movie. It stars Mila Kunis as Jupiter, a Russian housekeeper who finds out that she’s actually the reincarnate of the Queen of Earth (among other planets but who cares about them because they’re not us). With this discovery, guarded by a half-wolf, half-man, all-hunk Channing Tatum, she navigates new waters, confronting a trio of siblings who all attempt to manipulate her to claim her stake of land.

Like the rest of the Wachowski’s filmography, Jupiter Ascendingholds no bounds in its universe development. The various creatures and costumes that inhabited it were all fairly innovative, and vastly fascinating. The special effects are visually stunning and not only portray the vastness of space in such a beauteous way, but also manage to evoke some sentiment out of the Chicago skyline. Each of the space-cities they visit all shine with a uniqueness that is generally elusive, and are substantiated by graphics that truly seem grand and illustrious. At some points however, there was no restraint where there should have been. Some scenes seem altogether phony, detracting heavily from the overall breathtaking quality that space normally conveys. Still, there are moments where the film becomes truly breathtaking as it transports you throughout the realm to galaxies and planets unknown.

The action in this film is very similar to that of the first Matrix, in that the choreography and the various battle utensils are all very creative. Besides, who doesn’t love a bit of bounty hunter versus bounty hunter action? Even so, the film, despite being very creative, does tend to repeat itself at times. Some of the battle sequences felt like reiterations of past fights, and because of that, they felt a bit gimmicky and predictable, even though they shouldn’t have.

Jupiter Ascending, despite all of this still fails however in the writing component. The script of the film, all of the dialogue, seems incredibly infantile. It tries at romance and humor, but goes along with it before even forming an inkling of qualification. The characters, even the central ones, are created with such a simplicity that makes the entirety of the plot seem obvious and formulaic. It has an air of the young adult genre, one where romance is inevitable and love is a motive where it shouldn’t be. Some of the dialogue is cringe inducing, while others are merely awkward and uncharacteristic or unfitting.

The acting in this film was kind of off-putting because of these script issues. Mila Kunis, who is not only miscasted, is given almost nothing to work with as Jupiter; her character is nothing but a screaming damsel in distress and gives no insight into her motives. Channing Tatum is alright, but spends more time looking hot for the camera than really acting. Sean Bean is mostly incoherent as he mumbles in a weird cockneyed accent that really makes his entire character just nonsensical. And Eddie Redmayne…I feel like Eddie Redmayne put the amount of effort that should have went into this performance into the Theory of Everything because he basically sounds like Daniel Day Lewis in the end of There Will be Blood with no inflection to substantiate his fluxes of screaming.

Jupiter Ascending is a stereotypical mess of a film that tries too hard to blend a badly developed romance into a Three Kingdoms-esque space opera. Still, it’s a visual spectacle and an albeit disappointing good bit of fun.