Monday, February 23, 2015

Jupiter Ascending

Year: 2015
Directors: The Wachowskis
Cast: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton

Plot: Jupiter Jones, a janitor from a family of janitors, discovers that she is the reincarnation of an alien matriarch to a powerful alien family that owns Earth, and thus is the heir to the planet. This puts her in the crosshairs of the family's children, who want the planet for themselves to continue making youth serum and live forever. Her only hope of survival is an intergalactic hunter who exceeds his orders.

Review: Based on the trailers alone, this film seemed to have a ton of potential. Everyone loves a space epic, right? With loads of special effects and colorful characters, Jupiter Ascending could have been almost as good as Star Wars or Star Trek. Sadly it does not come close to either.

The Wachowski siblings wrote a pretty good story here, actually. But their execution of the plot is quite poor, and the over reliance of visual effects up to the point where you can't see who's shooting who or what's going on really brought the film down. The plot itself had potential, but the siblings overcomplicated it too.

So let me try to break it down for you as best I can: Jupiter Jones lives a mundane life of cleaning houses with her family. She discovers that some aliens want her dead because she is the reincarnation of an alien matriarch and thus has the power to take away their inheritance i.e. Earth. The aliens seeded the planet thousands of years ago so that they can harvest mankind to make youth serum and live forever. Her only savior is a spliced man wolf who was hired to capture her, but eventually learns how important she is.

If not for the many twists and turns and lack of explanation of motives, the film would have made more sense. Thanks to the poor direction by the siblings, the audience is either left trying to catch up or bored while waiting to see where it ends. The film does pick up by the final third, but by then it's a bit too late.

Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis do the best they can with the material given as Caine the hunter and Jupiter respectively, but never really rise above mediocrity. Sean Bean fares a little better as Caine's buddy but doesn't get a heck of a lot to do. Eddie Redmayne hams it up extremely as Balem Abrasax, the eldest child of the alien family after Jupiter and the chief villain. While his performance may seem hilariously over the top at times, it's quite entertaining to watch him go off the rails like that, which is more than I can say for the other actors.

In the end, I can't say I hated this movie, but I can't say I liked it that much either. I'm just disappointed over the wasted potential. It's just barely good, I guess. (6/10)  

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