Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Movie Review #216: "Jupiter Ascending" (2015)

Movie"Jupiter Ascending"
Ticket Price: $12.50
Director: And & Lana Wachowski
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 7 minutes
Image Source
Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is the daughter of immigrant parents who spends her days working with her mom and aunt as a housekeeper. She is also the reincarnation of a royal Abrasax family queen, which makes her the heir and owner of planet Earth, if she can claim her inheritance. The three remaining Abrasax siblings Balem (Eddie Redmayne), Titus (Douglas Booth) and Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) all have an interest in Earth as well since it is very valuable. Balem is the current owner of Earth and will lose it if Jupiter claims her inheritance, which means he wants her dead. Luckily, a wolf/human splice named Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) is sent to find Jupiter and takes it upon himself to protect her once he discovers her true identity. Caine must now take Jupiter to Orus and keep her alive so she can claim her inheritance and take her place as queen of the Earth. 


You know, the space opera genre has been ripe with new attempts these past few years. As expected, most of them have been stinkers, much like "Jupiter Ascending." When a movie gets pushed back 6 months from its original release date in order to "fix the visuals," you better make damn sure everything else is fixed along with it. We're starting to think that the Wachowski siblings had a fluke when they made "The Matrix" trilogy because their latest works haven't been anywhere near as good. Before we tear this movie to shreds, we must say that the visuals are quite outstanding, even though they are thrown at audiences over and over in massively scattered and cluttered clumps and clusters and chunks in an effort to appease those who saw the movie in 3D. As an aside, we are firm believers that it should not be a necessity to see a movie in 3D in order to "fully get it." This is simply bad movie making. These visuals are aesthetically pleasing and are pretty much the only thing the film has going for it.

Now, for the bad. While BigJ didn't seem to mind this movie as much as I did, I must say, personally, it's on track to be one of my worst of the worst of the year and it's only February. It is a complete and total freaking mess from beginning to end and it all starts with the acting. Now, regardless of how you feel about Mila Kunis as an attractive actress and person, anyone with half a brain should realize that she is not a good actress. Not only is she stiff in her delivery and not suited for action movies, but she sticks out like a sore thumb in this film, and not just because her character is essentially pointless. The beginning of the movie is wasted on Kunis' character Jupiter's back-story and how she was born to immigrant parents, complete with an awful illegal alien pun. This is utterly useless and the time could have been better spent explaining the back-story of the royals, complete with their conflict, their royal lineage, and why and how they carry out the harvesting. From there, the film segues into Jupiter cleaning toilets with her mom and aunt, hating her life and not wanting to get out of bed at 4:45 am to begin her day wearing full, perfectly done facial makeup complete with fake eyelashes and lipstick. At the end of the movie, *********!!!SPOILERS!!!********* she cleans toilets with her mom and her aunt, but now, she is the owner of planet Earth and since she has been on a space adventure, it's now somehow easier for her to get out of bed at 4:45 am to make coffee for everyone and continues cleaning toilets while still having full, perfectly done facial makeup complete with fake eyelashes and lipstick.. This is just so ridiculously silly! Yeah, we'd much rather clean toilets instead of ruling the damn planet! Even though she is the main character, there is no point to her even being the main character, honestly. We have really come to like Channing Tatum as an actor, but you know things have to be bad when he's the best part of a movie. Donning frosty blonde hair, space roller blades and weird, prosthetic ears, Tatum is the movie's savior. Together, Kunis and Tatum lack any sort of chemistry and it gets especially creepy when he talks about how he's part dog and yet she still wants to bang him. There are many bizarre plot points like this in the film, but we expected the inter-species erotica to be "Splice"-esque since we've seen that movie and know how it ends. Not even soon-to-be Best Actor winner Eddie Redmayne* fixes this film. In fact, he sort of makes it worse. Why his character Balem Abrasax speaks like a British version of an old-school Marlon Brando circa-"The Godfather" with his whisper-talking we have no damn idea. He didn't need to talk this way as nothing in his character's story line necessitated this voice! It was more distracting than we thought it would be judging from the trailers. Sean Bean is also in this movie, not that you would know or care since he serves almost no purpose and walks in and out of scenes with no explanation. More on that now.

The worst part about this movie is that it wants to say and be so much and yet lacks so many necessary details to create a cohesive, linear story that it ends up being muddled, failing and faltering. Many characters and scenarios and plot points get introduced only to go nowhere. For example, Sean Bean's character Stinger has a daughter. We see her on screen two times in the beginning of the film and then she is never seen again. Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays Famulus, who we assume is a splice given that she has comically large mouse ears. We're not even joking, they were bigger than her head. None of this was explained and this isn't the only character like this. The pilot of the Splice-ian StarShip (which is what I will call this machine since there is no explanation for it, either) was a space elephant, which would have been fine on its own had it not been that it TRUMPETED LIKE AN EARTH ELEPHANT.

What is this weird obsession the Wachowski's have with harvesting humans? When all is said and done, we just don't care. We don't care about space treaties. We don't care about vortexes getting blown up. We don't care about space elephants and space mice and space dinosaurs that are never really explained and look like they were rejected "Star Wars" characters. We don't care that at least two lines of dialogue in this movie are completely lifted from Elvis Costello songs. We don't care that this movie has the feel of "Flash Gordon," only not in a campy way, that it wants to be "The Matrix," only is not epic in the slightest, has the phony knock-off make-up and outfit styling of "The Phantom Menace," all wrapped up in a shell of a film that looks like "The Fifth Element." We don't care about what appears to be space cocaine made from humans that gives eternal life and erases the two or three wrinkles that the royal characters have on their faces. We don't care about people living millenniums of time. It is so disjointed and incoherent that it hindered our liking of the film as a whole. We will most likely forget this movie even exists until December rolls around and we are compiling the list of the worst movies of 2015.

 *calling it now.

My Rating: 3.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 4.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 25%
Do we recommend this movie: No.


  1. Michael and I watched this movie and about 5 minutes into it I already knew I wouldn't like it. My next thought was "I WONDER WHAT LAUREN THOUGHT OF IT!!" Lo and behold, you have captured my feelings on this movie perfectly. Even Channing Tatum, usually someone I find pretty attractive, was pretty lackluster in this film. Maybe it's the way they did their makeup or maybe he's just gained weight in the face, but I just wasn't feeling it. Any of it, really. Michael and I had to switch between turning the volume up (seriously, why are you whispering, assnut?) and screaming at eachother to turn the volume waaay, waay down. Overall... bleh. Bleh. Bleh. I got to a point where I was playing games on my phone and only half listening, and I think the movie actually got better when you were only half paying attention.

    1. I agree, this movie was very bleh. It was like an intergalactic trainwreck! It wasn't just you about the volume, in the theater, it fluctuated, too. Eddie Redmayne was whispering like crazy in one scene, then shouting the next. Also, assnut is the greatest word I have heard in a long time! Bleh indeed.