Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), a Russian immigrant and cleaner, is identified as the genetic match for a queen that used to own the Earth, and is thus hunted for alien forces. Human-wolf warrior Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) shows up to protect her from the heirs of the Abrasax Dynasty, who are all plotting against her.
If that synopsis wasn’t enough to put you off this movie (their names alone are enough, surely?) then let me help. Jupiter Ascending is a terrible movie, and I do not say that lightly. Written and directed by the same sibling duo that created one of my all time favourite movies, The Matrix (1999), it grieves me to have to say this.
The movie is a travesty in plot, dialogue, acting, visual effects and makeup. If we start with the plot, it’s a typical passé princess-in-distress and rugged, misunderstood hero on the run from the dreaded empire – sorry, is this sounding familiar? Well it is, but told with less skill and ability.
Jupiter never transcends her stereotypical character, at times battling Tatum on who can fit the most clichés into their role before the audience turns off. She’s an immigrant, representing a very racist view on Russians (“…men don’t like smart women”), cleans for the uber rich and decides to sell her eggs because she wants a shiny gold telescope.
Then there’s Caine Wise, another ridiculous name, who’s a half wolf-human breed. Only, he’s misunderstood and was the mutt of the litter, never got any love, is the bravest person in the galaxy (literally, we’re told) and can’t love anyone because he has an undying need to do good (though, we find out, it’s love he’s been searching for this whole time).
Can Jupiter change this tortured, unlovable brave hunk that cannot love?
By the way, his among so many others are masacared by way of prosthetic make-up. Upon seeing Tatum, your first thought will be ‘Woah, what the f*ck?’.
Without going in to too many other characters, Eddie Redmayne channels a very quiet, bratty Voldermort (well he is a big fan of the Potterverse, by his own admission) and Sean Bean, instead of dying, plays his usual good-guy-that-betrays you character (see everything he’s every done).
While watching, look out for Asian girl with colourful hair, black guy with sparkly skin, white guy with techno-eye and many other original characters!
Aside from the storyline and characters, the editing is incredibly confusing. The fight scenes (not choreography, which we may touch on) are a jumbled mess and half the time we switch from 1 scene to another not know how we got there and why Tatum is now carrying Jupiter’s mother when before he was in the midst of chaos.
Noting on the actual choreography, I find it hilarious whenever I see stuntmen stand back and not attack when the protagonist has their back to them because, well… it would be stupid to attack, right?
The dialogue is no better and at times, what can be improved by a talented actor, is only made worse by those that have the deliver of a can of tuna. Mila is stiff and unconvincing and Tatum is most or less cringe-worthy when not staring into the distance.
The movie asks a lot of its audience. There is a plethora of names, places and slang that we are just supposed to accept without question in an attempt in inundate us with so much information that we’ll either:
- Think ourselves not smart enough for this movie and applaud them or;
- Lose interest, give up on trying to take any of it in and become annoyed.
Then there’s the leap of faith in explanations given. After most of Manhattan is destroyed in a spacecraft race-fight with Tatum, where he purposely crashed his ship into the opposition to destroy both (why was that a good idea?), he explains to Kunis how no one will remember this as the city will be rebuilt (the very second she looks, it happens – great timing) and that those that saw it will be ‘blanked’. Those that aren’t blanked, well no one will believe them.
Or the fact, as Sean Bean’s character says, that bee’s have a natural affinity to recognize royalty and will never harm true royalty but protect it. Bees never lie and are the universal natural validity checker on royal lineage.
It’s also hilarious that these aliens that are after her, whom have infiltrated hospitals as spies, have only now opportunely found her. Has she never been to a public place or hospital before now? Wow.