Directed by the Wachowskis
Starring Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, and Douglas Booth.
Yay! The Wachowskis are back with a brand-new sci-fi epic! Like a lot of geeks, I’m still a big fan of The Matrix (I’m pretty indifferent towards the sequels, and don’t greet them with hatred), and I know I’m a minority here, but I love love LOVE Speed Racer. Those two films alone are enough for me to raise my eyebrows in curiosity whenever their next film is announced. And for their next film, they decided to do a good ol’ space opera. Of course, there were some bad vibes, as this was originally supposed to come out back in July, but got pushed back to February to tinker with the special effects. Such delays are rarely a good sign for a film. But still, I was curious.
Jupiter Jones, the daughter of Russian immigrants, makes her living in the family business: they’re cleaning ladies, scrubbing the toilets of Chicago’s elite. Inspired by stories of her astronomer father, who was killed before she was born, Jupiter often looks up at the stars and dreams of something more. “Something more” soon falls in her lap, after a visit to medical clinic results in aliens trying to kill her, and Caine, the half-human/half-wolf alien bounty hunter comes to her rescue. Turns out Jupiter has the exact same genetic code as the deceased queen of the section of the galaxy that Earth falls in. Under the galactic bureaucracy, this makes Jupiter the heir to the throne. The queen’s children are all after Jupiter for their own nefarious means, mostly to secure their claims to the throne. With the assistance of Caine and his old partner Stinger, Jupiter must do battle with the queen’s children, and navigate a galactic bureaucracy, in order to secure her throne. Will Jupiter ascend the throne and become Queen of Earth?
What I Liked
The Wachowskis once again showcase their talent for world-building, giving us lush alien civilizations, and all manner of alien beings, mostly humans that have been enhanced with animal DNA, giving them animal characteristics. And it’s cute that there’s a huge scene in the middle dealing with the galactic bureaucracy of Jupiter filing her claim to the throne. Unlike most cop shows, this one takes the time to show you the paperwork. And it is kind of funny in places. While most people speak in the faux-Shakespearian that’s common in most sci-fi films, Jupiter always responds with a very realistic “Holy crap.”
What I Didn’t Like
Sadly, the plot does get a little repetitive, and each royal family member’s plot is discovered and foiled. And it’s usually foiled in the same way, with Caine charging in at the last minute to save Jupiter. Despite being our protagonist, Jupiter isn’t very proactive, just kind of going with the flow.
I got a decidedly John Carter vibe for Jupiter Ascending. Too much focus on world-building, not enough focus on plot and character development.