Friday, August 7, 2015

Jupiter Ascending

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I won't Google it but 'll take a shot in the dark and guess there is a porn version of this called Uranus Opening.



Jupiter Ascending – 2 out of 5


The Wachowskis came onto the scene strong with The Matrix. The film came out to very little press and went on to become a huge staple in our pop culture. The film was unlike anything that has been seen and was filled with slick set pieces, unique action, and a story that was wickedly creative. Since then, the siblings haven’t been able to recreate that same magic. There are elements I enjoyed about the two sequels to The Matrix but, for the most part, they are universally loathed by fans. I thought Cloud Atlas was pretty ambitious and cool but it wasn’t anything as near as epic as Keanu Reeves learning Kung Fu by having it downloaded to his brain. When I saw the trailer for Jupiter Ascending my first thought was the film looks way too busy and I had my doubts if I could take Channing Tatum—an actor I’ve become a big fan of—seriously with Spock ears. In the end, I was wrong—completely wrong because I couldn't take anything about this film seriously and I started to honestly wonder if the Wachowskis were making a film that was parodying the Sci-fi genre.

Those aren't CG.  Tatum is just a real life angel...as if we didn't already know that.

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) lives a boring and hard life on Earth and, after coming in contact with some alien life, learns that her place in the cosmos is far more important than her job as a cleaning lady would have her think. Far off in the stars, a royal family loses its matriarch and the siblings; Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne), Titus Abrasax (Douglas Booth) and Kalique Abrasax (Tuppence Middleton), fight for control of their family's wealth and the rest of their inheritance—which includes the ownership of Earth. However, Jupiter is genetically identical to the Abrasax mother and that makes her the rightful owner of the planet and that means the siblings will do whatever it takes to get it away from her. Titus plans on marrying her (and the fact that she is genetically identical to his mom makes that really weird), Balem wants to see her dead and Kalique seems to just be around for exposition purposes. Titus sends a former soldier that is a half dog/half man thing named Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) to collect her (don’t worry, it’s all a part of his plan). Now Jupiter realizes that she is part of something much larger and must decide if she will stand up and face her destiny or stand down and watch her world be destroyed.

It needs to be noted that at some point both Andy and Lana Wachowski said, "Yes, he'll
be a half dog/half human thing with elf ears."  And it sounded totally reasonable to them.

Sometimes less is more...or just overload everything to
the point everything looks ridiculous.
Like I said, I had a very hard time taking this film seriously. The Wachowskis showed little restraint with the film and allowed everything—from sets to costumes to characters to performances—to go completely overboard. The end result was a film that was portrayed way too over-the-top to take the entire universe they created seriously. Granted, the visuals may look good and all the aliens, space ships and locals do look cool and pretty much at any point in the film you can pause the DVD and what you see is quite reminiscent of the old covers to pulp fiction Sci-fi novels but when you hit play again you have to endure the muddy story and plot and a universe that is needlessly convoluted. However, this element does reward you with a nice cameo from Terry Gilliam and he ends up looking how I imagine him to look when he’s not directing out-there films.

It wouldn't surprise me if Gilliam looked like this all the time actually.

You knew the product was doomed when it was decided
to NOT kill off Sean Bean's character.  You opened
your own Pandora's box but not following that
trope, Wachowskis.
Aside from Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum and Sean Bean, the performances are way, WAY too cheesy. The three main players are all doing their duties extremely well and prove to be one of the bearable things in the film but those moments are instantly ruined by the rest of the cast who is completely gorging themselves on scenery. In fact, I couldn’t help but laugh whenever Eddie Redmayne spoke because he talked in this absolutely silly aristocratic whisper and was so incredibly goofy that I have a hard time believing that Andy and Lana Wachowski watched it and said, "Yep, let’s go with that."

Was the whisper suppose to make him menacing?

Um...So this happened.
There’s a lot in this film that is just too silly to take seriously as a Sci-fi action film and space opera. For example, the fact that Tatum is some sort of half dog/half human thing but also for the fact he uses hover boots to rollerblade through the air. There is also a whole sequence where the crew is working their way through the bureaucracy of an intergalactic government building that, although results in the highlight of getting to see Gilliam, forced me to sit through what, on paper, is meant to be a comedic sequence but proved to be far less so. You also have the silly plot point that bees have genes in them that let them sense royalty and that is why they are drawn to Jupiter (so, it’s assumed that bees never sting the Queen of England or Prince and have never stung Michael Jackson because he was the King of Pop). Finally, there’s the laughable recycled element of the film of having Jupiter Jones fall from a building and having Caine save her with his hover-skates. Seriously, in a two hour movie, this happened about 4 times.

Might as well drink every time this occurs.

Just making it look cool isn't enough sometimes.
Jupiter Ascending does look good—I can’t deny that—but the story is ridiculous and needless complicated, the action is pretty forgettable, the characters aren’t memorable and most of the acting is absolutely atrocious/accidentally hilarious. The film does have the feel of Sci-Fi tales of old but the problem that comes with that is many of those old tales worked on paper but don't translate to film. Ultimately, however, I’m not sure if this story and its universe could have worked as a pulp novel back in the day because the universe that is established in this film doesn’t feel that intriguing and kinda feels like it is stealing a lot from Dune. Overall, I just couldn’t muster the interest in this film and had a hard time not finding it accidentally hilarious.

Wut?  An elephant alien?  Okay, the Wachowskis are clearly messing with us now.

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