In Review: Jupiter Ascending

by Daniel Goodwin on 09/02/2015


Considering mainstream cinema is bombarded with adaptations, remakes and sequels it is refreshing to see Hollywood investing in original concepts on a scale such as Jupiter Ascending. The latest film from the Wachowskis is loaded with vibrant innovation and spectacle but suffers from dreary characters and a floundering final third. Combined with garish pantomime facets, this hyper-boiled space opera drifts, lost in style somewhere between Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014) and The Phantom Menace (1999), and amounts to very little beyond its grand ideas.

Mila Kunis plays Jupiter Jones, a struggling, Chicago based cleaner who happens to be genetically linked to a dynasty of intergalactic beings known as the House of Abrasax, who rule the universe from beyond the stars. But Jupiter is stranded on Earth, unaware of her cosmic connections to space royalty. Enter the genetically modified dog/ boy hybrid Caine (Channing Tatum) and his flying shoes, who whisks our protagonist away into a swirling narrative to discover her bloodline beyond the stars.

There is much to admire in the latest Wachowski endeavour as a flamboyant spectacle with colossal aspirations. Thrilling earth-set action set-pieces burgeon with exuberance alongside punchy sci-fi fight sequences yet the narrative structure is so flimsy when coupled with the gaudy visual design that Jupiter Ascending hankers for a degree of humanity and realism to ground its fantasy. While grandiose ideas are captivating to a degree they serve as a mighty context to weak structure, making Jupiter Ascending massively alienating.

While the last act resorts to pot-boiler tactics there is an overabundance of effects and action with no truly satisfying character resolve. Channing Tatum’s Caine is a brooding lug while Mila Kunis delivers pap dialogue with doe-eyed fervour. Eddie Redmayne is the awful Balem Abrasax, a rival heir, scheming to con Jupiter out of her inheritance while randomly switching between spats of mega-shouting and almost inaudible murmuring.

Jupiter Ascending successfully blends garish, sci-fi outlandishness with patchwork theology and is so frequently ridiculous you want to like it more. The far-out aspects are fun alongside endearing b-movie elements and the film frequently feels destined for cult status due to its (possibly) unintentionally glib comedy. Yet it is so desperately lacking the vital components needed to bolster its magnificent concepts and the kitsch components are not enough. Sci-fi fans may warm to the ballsy spectacle but Jupiter Ascending is an ultimately hollow viewing experience.

Daniel has awarded Jupiter Ascending two Torches of Truth 


{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: