Weekly Review: Jupiter Ascending (2015)

One day, Jupiter Jones, a normal, young woman in Chicago, is the victim of an attempted assassination by aliens. Her savior, a hybrid soldier named Caine, reveals to her the unbelievable truth: Her DNA makes her the most powerful woman in the universe.

On the surface, Jupiter Ascending seems like a movie that I would be head over heels for. The plot is pretty creative. There is an intergalactic royal family fighting for the rights to own Earth and the eternal life and capital that goes with it. A seemingly normal human is thrust into the calamity of it all, and she must decide what matters to her most. The visuals are pretty amazing. It’s a very expensive spectacle, with some beautiful imagery.

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Unfortunately, this movie suffers from a creative idea that isn’t executed properly. The beautiful imagery doesn’t make up for the fact that the action sequences are some of the most lackluster moments I’ve seen on film. Many of the actors seem out of place, or the delivery of their lines seems far too melodramatic. It’s difficult to suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy the movie as much as I would have liked. I found myself bored throughout most of the movie.

Jupiter Ascending boasts a pretty decent cast. The titular character Jupiter is played by Mila Kunis. Her protector Caine is played by Channing Tatum, who I surprisingly thought did a decent job in the role, especially with the small dog-like characteristics. One of our villains is played by Oscar winning actor Eddie Redmayne, and we have a special appearance by Sean Bean. Despite the star power in the casting, Jupiter Ascending definitely could have been better.

The overall plot is reminiscent of melodramas set in space. The intergalactic, royal family squabbles amongst each other, consistently trying to use Jupiter for their own gain in spite of the others. Jupiter is set up as a strong female character, but she is more often than not being saved by her chivalrous protector. The villain is so theatrical that it’s hard to really see him as menacing as he is meant to be.

The most interesting part of the movie, in my opinion, is when Jupiter attempts to claim her title. She finds herself swept into an endless loop of office windows. She needs clearance from this department in order to get anything from that department, but this department can’t give her anything without clearance from the other. It’s so comically frustrating that even the android, programmed for manners and people skills, starts to blow a gasket. The scene is capped off with a line delivered by Kunis that reiterates what I was personally thinking, “I’ll never complain about the DMV again”

Jupiter Ascending is directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski. It definitely lands in the same area as a lot of their more recent work, very elaborate and grand, but lacking in overall execution. I wouldn’t directly recommend this movie to anyone, but if you have liked their work in the past, then you may still be interested.

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