Jupiter Ascending Review

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Who are the people in Hollywood that give the equivalent of a small country’s GDP to artists with vision that makes no sense to them but pray hope against hope it makes sense to lots of people? And what the hell are the Wachowskis doing for them to get so much money to blow on so much nonsense?

So, we follow Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) a Russian cleaning woman in Chicago who becomes aware of a wide universe beyond her limited Earth when a human/dog bounty hunter (Channing Tatum) saves her from alien hunters out to destroy her as she represents a threat to the true masters of her world. Said true masters are actually using Jupiter’s world as a farm to harvest humanity to sustain their galaxy. Does that sound vaguely familiar? Replace anything having to do with aliens with computers and robots and you have the Wachowskis original high-concept science fiction opus that changed the world of cinema. Watch this and you’ll see a duo rip themselves off.

This movie is a goddamn mess from the 20 minutes in until the end. The story is pretty simple if you already watch The Matrix but with all the existential philosophy stripped out and a bunch of special effects shoved in its place. And replace the “Allegory of the Cave” talk with bashing on capitalism and the pursuit of profit by whatever means necessary. You know, the villain’s plot to every single one of your Saturday Morning Cartoons.

Mila Kunis just doesn’t work in this movie. She feels like she’s underacting at times, or she doesn’t know how should she be reacting in certain situations. That could be everything surrounding her is a special effect and much like her former co-star, Natalie Portman, has no goddamn idea how to act in front of a blank canvas. Channing Tatum mercifully picks up the slack and comes up with a cool character that could have definitely used his own movie to flesh out what was going on with him or co-star Sean Bean (don’t worry he doesn’t die horribly in this movie for once).

But that’s because there are about 14 sub-plots going on at the same time. Plot lines are hastily introduced then forgotten about. Humorous plots feel like they come out of nowhere, and nothing gels with the film that we are watching. Worst of all, the main plot repeats itself THREE damn times.

Okay, so the whole reason Jupiter is being hunted by these aliens is because she has inherited the planet Earth. The three other potential heirs to Earth all want to trick and/or kill her to take the planet for themselves to harvest all of humanity and turn us into a substance that prolongs a being’s life by millennium. However, each time she meets an heir, she is introduced to her new surroundings, given a fancy dress, given a unconvincing monologue by the heir on how she should TOTALLY trust them and blindly sign some contract that does…something, then Channing Tatum swoops into save her at the last possible second. This happens THREE damn times. Without a hint of irony, humor, or nothing.

Honestly, in addition to the multiple plot lines getting introduced and dropped, this film feels like it was butchered in the editing room. I genuinely feel we are going to see a 5-hour director’s cut that resolves some of these plot lines and make certain character arcs make some sort of sense.

But even if it did, the film will likely not resolve the awkward romance between Channing and Mila that you just don’t give a shit about. The resulting film won’t make Eddie Redmayne into a better actor here…oh shit, forgot to mention his ass. Yeah, the guy up for an Oscar for playing Stephen Hawking gives one of the worst Voldemort impressions where you can’t understand him while occasionally screaming nonsensically. Honestly, the film felt like an attempt to sabotage his chance at the Academy Award, that’s how bad he was…ah such a fate befell Eddie Murphy when Norbit came out in 2007.

The one shining decent part about this film is the art. My God, the art direction is gorgeous. It’s just such a shame that such beauty and imagination was wasted on such a go-nowhere plot and rip off of the Wachowski’s own masterpiece. Some action scenes are really well done as well…but it’s all for naught if you don’t give a crap about the characters or the story.

Normally, I’d tell people to rent something like this to admire the art direction, but I’m only giving this recommendation to aspiring and working artists and illustrators looking for something inspiring. If you want to see a good movie, avoid this piece of garbage. Sorry Wachowskis, I’ve been giving you too many D’s in the class, but today my rating for your movie is a low…

RENTAL.

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