127 min - Action | Adventure | Fantasy
Review: Matt Mungle
Sometimes all you can ask of a film is that it make your time
at the theater enjoyable; especially in the early months when
we are in the wake of those end of year films that have us so
tunnel-visioned on the award season. It is good to step back,
grab some over priced concessions, throw on those annoying 3-D
glasses, and just have some fun watching a movie. JUPITER ASCENDING,
the latest offering from the Wachowski siblings (The Matrix Trilogy),
is an unapologetic good time. For every instance worthy of an
eye rolling groan there are at least two moments that make up
for it with elaborate imagery and extended action sequences.
Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is a modern, working girl from Chicago
who, for reasons that may or may not be fully answered by the
time the credits roll, is the unbeknownst rightful heir to planet
Earth. Three rival siblings from a distant galaxy each want our
planet and would lie, cheat, and steal to take it from Jupiter.
Caine (Channing Tatum) is a renegade bounty hunter hired to protect
Jupiter and see her true destiny fulfilled. Other than that, any
attempt to try and summarize the plot in a way that would actually
make the film enticing will fall short. The concept is intriguing
but the gaps are filled loosely with unappealing dialouge and
wafer thin subplots.
It is worth noting what this film does look and sound incredible.
The eye popping worlds created here are masterfully done. Gargantuan
space ships, well designed alien creatures, elaborate technology,
and colorful cities that surpass anything seen before in the sci
fi genre make this well worth the extra 3-D ticket price. You
will have a hard time finding another film of this style that
delivers the big screen impact of this one. It is for these reasons
that one can overlook the laughable story arcs and hole riddled
script. You appreciate the action scenes and are glad that they
go on for long stretches of time because they keep the characters
quiet. Not to mention that they are choreographed with expert
For as uniquely designed much of this movie is there is also
lots of familiarity. Fans of the sci-fi genre can easily jot down
a dozen elements that seem "borrowed" from the classics.
This will come across as nostalgic or blasphemous depending on
how you take it. Hopefully the filmmakers are paying tribute by
adding in these pieces. Star Wars, Blade Runner, The 5th Element,
and of course The Matrix all influence the final product. The
props and costumes worn by one group of alien trackers look like
they were bought from a b-movie, back lot yard sale. The styling
is so stereotypical on the trio that they seem added just to be
able to use them.
The actors in the film had to pull off the action more than the
conversations and they all do fine. Kunis and Tatum work good
together and seem to have fun with the role without making fun.
They come across as being comfortable with the script instead
of embarrassed by it. That goes a long way in helping the audience
get past it too. Eddie Redmayne seems far removed from his award
winning role as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Here
he plays a ruthless brother who wants to see Jupiter Jones and
Earth destroyed. His character Balem feels like the lost love
child of Loki and Voldemort. Maybe it was the only way to add
other franchises into the recognizable mix. He embraces the role
and is convincing; but some of his characteristic choices are
JUPITER ASCENDING is rated PG-13 for some violence, sequences
of sci-fi action, some suggestive content and partial nudity.
It is safe for those 13 and up with little to be concerned about.
There is a very brief glimpse of a nude female bottom but not
in the erotic fashion. The language is mild and the violence controlled.
I cant give it high marks for writing, 2.5 out of 5 at best, but
certainly can raise that mark for overall entertainment and fun.
It is a sci-fi thrill ride that takes full advantage of the big