Jupiter Ascending (2015) – More like Jupiter Plummeting Jupiter Ascending (2015) – More like Jupiter Plummeting
I saw "Jupiter Ascending" yesterday and I live to tell the tale. The tale of two promising directors who finally fell from grace. Jupiter Ascending (2015) – More like Jupiter Plummeting

The Wachowskis have finally gone completely mad. But sadly not in a good way.

The plot:

The young cleaning woman Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), got her exotic name because her father, a Russian astronomer, insisted on calling her like that when she was still in the womb of her mother, who left the country after her husband was murdered for political reasons.
In the beginning she is leading a monotonous existence, only enduring  her less than glamourous job so she can buy a telescope one day to follow in her father’s footsteps. Everything is changing though, when one day aliens (!) turn up that try to kill her for mysterious reasons. Fortunately she is saved in the last second by the intergalactic legionnaire Caine (Channing Tatum), a wolf-human hybrid who is assigned to protect her.
He reveals to Jupiter that our planet is just one of millions in the universe that have been colonized by competing aristocratic families who are now planning to “harvest” Earth, means to kill its population and condense its genes into a serum that allows them to maintain their immortality.
But Jupiter could prevent this happening, as her genetic signature identifies her as the legitimate “heir of Earth”, which made her the object of a power struggle…

My verdict:

At no point I doubted that this would turn out to be a trainwreck, but there was the hope that it would be a glorious trainwreck. Unfortunately, this adjective can be scratched now.
Jupiter… is a typical case of once innovative and talented directors who got too much money thrown at them. But let’s start from the beginning.

Maybe I should first say a few good things about the movie: I know many people out there hate the technology, but the 3D effect was spectacular, maybe the best I have ever seen. The special effects are very good, even if they don’t necessarily strive for realism. Incredibly detailed vistas of vast alien industrial landscapes are the main virtue of the visuals.

Otherwise there is not much to see here.
The first thing that struck me was that the Wachowskis apparently completely lost their touch when it comes to create interesting visuals or a compelling atmosphere. Which is shocking, as even their lesser movies always convinced in that regard.
The designs are not that great overall and actually pretty bad in many points. The spaceship designs are mediocre and the costumes look like they were borrowed from the art department of the Hunger Games movies. All the weapons, equipment and other props have that standardized pulpy SciFi design known from countless movies, comics and TV-series. A palace built upon a waterfall looks exactly like the one of Padme on Naboo.
There is a trio of headhunters (one of them actress Doona Bae) who try to capture Jupiter who are hard to take seriously, as they look like a bunch of cosplayers from the late 90s, one of them a spitting image of Simon Cowell, but with a steampunk monocle.
This new mundane “quality” is reflected in all other aspects of the movie. “Workmanlike” is the only adjective that comes to my mind when I have to describe the cinematography. Remembering the bold visuals of The Matrix, which had an almost tangible precision to them, it is hard to explain how the same directors could approve of the bland and unimaginative camerawork in Jupiter… Outside the action scenes and a few panorama shots, all we get are TV-visuals, including banal lighting and lots of close-ups of faces. Tons of close-ups.

Jupiter plummeting.

Jupiter plummeting.

And the prosaic tone does not stop there, but is continued in the storytelling. In the beginning, for example, there is a prologue that introduces Jupiter and her family, everything is earthbound without a hint of anything fantastic/SF-oriented. Then suddenly the film casually cuts to a deserted alien planet where two of the main alien aristocrats are discussing their further proceedings (close-ups included). Quite an unceremonious introduction for antagonists of a bombastic space opera. Another scene has Caine (Tatum) protecting Jupiter in a dramatic air battle between space ships over Chicago, immediately followed by a shot of him driving her out of the town behind the wheel of a Ford.
The Wachowskis incessantly botch any chance of the movie to develop some flair or “magic”.

The acting is unsurprisingly sub-par. Mila Kunis is just Mila Kunis. Channing Tatum has no chance to shine behind his ridiculous Wolfman- make up and futilely tries to keep up a last shred of dignity. Cast as Tatum’s mentor “Stinger” (his genes are spliced with that of a bee!) is Sean Bean (who aged well), phoning it in so obviously, it hurts.
Every time members of Jupiter’s cliched Russian immigrant family, whose antics are mostly played for laughs, were on screen, I felt embarrassed for the poor actors. The crown for the worst performance goes to Eddie Redmayne as the villain of the film, “Balem Abrasax”. He miraculously manages to appear over- and underacting at the same time. The unremarkable rest of the cast was apparently recruited among Twilight– extras.

Jupiter-Ascending-2

Naboo?

 

The worst aspect about Jupiter Ascending? It commits the only real cardinal sin of entertainment- it is quite dull.
The Wachowski’s attempt to reinvent the genre of the space opera following the template of period pieces about scheming aristocrats is as naive as it is misguided and evokes memories of the times when George Lucas tried to infuse political drama into the Star Wars– saga. The result is a poor man’s Dune, just much much dumber.
At no point in the movie there is a sense of anything being at stake, even if we are told so countless times. A great deal of dramatic situations is resolved by either scheming or negotiating, which does not make for a great adventure.
Jupiter… is also a showcase for bad “world building”: Although the dialogue is cluttered with tedious exposition, the universe on screen never feels complex, alive or “real”. Shouldn’t it be done exactly the opposite way?

“Your Majesty, I have more in common with a dog than I have with you.” “I love dogs, I’ve always loved dogs.”

Not to forget all the cringe-worthy moments that sour the experience even more. When Jupiter is confronted with another shocking detail about her predestination, she reacts with the line “This cannot get any weirder.” Stinger (Sean Bean), the human-bee hybrid, kneels before Jupiter when she is revealed to be the Earth’s queen, because “bees are programmed with a sense of respect for royalty” (paraphrased, I do not remember the exact line).
Speaking of which, oh those human/animal hybrids that populate the movie’s universe! There is one with an elephantoid head, including a tiny elephant trunk that moves up and trumpets in a dangerous situation. The budding love story between Jupiter and the semi-wolf Caine, whose levitating hover-boots are as ridiculous on screen as the concept sounds, is intended to bring some kinky spice into the plot, but it just leads to even more bad dialogue. (“Your Majesty, I have more in common with a dog than I have with you.” “I love dogs, I’ve always loved dogs.”) “The beauty and her beast”, the evil space baron says.

Of course, as it is to be expected by the Wachowskis, there is some gobbledigook message about “predestination vs. free will”, this time varied with an excursion into “idiotic genetics”, but any thoughts on this would be a waste of time and brain cells, as the film already cost me too many.

jupiter_a

Bottom line:

It’s the Science Fiction movie jumble sale! Let’s throw in the kitchen sink, we don’t care how overused and stale the individual elements are! It does not have to make sense or show good taste!
Yet again a movie proves that “camp” does not necessarily equal “fun” and that setting out to make a film that is “out there” is not a guarantee for delivering something that is not mundane and mediocre.
The Wachowskis admittedly have some guts to make a movie that plays exclusively to cosplayers, steampunk fans, Furries and other groups from the fringes of fandom, but that does not excuse the shoddy quality of the result on display. Although it has become a cliche to describe a film script as “fan fiction” by now, I am having a hard time coming up with a more appropriate label for this infantile mess.

Years from now, Jupiter Ascending will still be studied for its almost eclectic combination of exclusively awful elements and it will surely gain some (undeserved) cult status, but I cannot recommend it to anyone like me who was once a fan of the Wachowski siblings, who finally turned from promising talents into hopeless cases, whose creativity got killed by too much money.

 

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DetectiveDee

Detective Dee reviews movies and sometimes TV-series. He likes to indulge in the Asian cinema, exploitation flicks and the horror genre but is no stranger to Blockbuster culture either. He writes whatever he wants, but always aims to entertain.

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    ” the 3D effect was spectacular, maybe the best I have ever seen. The special effects are very good, even if they don’t necessarily strive for realism. Incredibly detailed vistas of vast alien industrial landscapes are the main virtue of the visuals.”

    “Otherwise there is not much to see here.”

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    But I have probably taken too many drugs in my life. 🙂

  • Dee

    Well, it’s just my opinion… everybody feel free to dismiss it.

  • I_am_better

    I was thinking of reviewing this, but it did not open in my town. Still curious to see it though.

  • Abe

    Dee Hates It

  • Dee

    Does it not make sense?

  • Dee

    I forgot to mention how nondescript the score by Michael Giacchino is.

  • I_am_better

    We’ll have to wait that Spongebob review

  • Abe

    I can’t wait.

  • but, but i read on AICN that it was the best movie ever….. with gravity boots and so on……

  • a good looking piece of shit is still a piece of shit.

  • Abe
  • Tim R.R. Something

    HK loves it. His two minions basically play their favorable reviews by explaining it as so bad it is good. It’s almost as if Harry ordered them to write positive reviews.

  • Tim R.R. Something

    Thanks Dee that’s a great review.

  • Dee

    Thank you! I hope you are sufficiently warned 😉

  • Dee

    It’s weird, I thought better of Capone.

  • Tim R.R. Something

    If you read into it, it’s all there- the bad, then he wraps it in a bow. Suspicious.

  • Tim R.R. Something

    I’ll wait for cable.

  • Tim R.R. Something

    Wow that is a Naboo rip off. Who thought that was a good idea?

  • I_am_better
  • CreepyThinMan

    I have ZERO FUCKING INTEREST in this shit because of Kunis the Kunt and Thickneck Potatohead. Anywho, here’s a lovely song from Tom (Biff from BttF) Wilson!!!FACT!!!
    http://youtu.be/_k9A7TAIrDE

  • Stalkeye

    (“Your Majesty, I have more in common with a dog than I have with you.” “I love dogs, I’ve always loved dogs.”) “The beauty and her beast”, the evil space baron says.

    BUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!
    WTF is this Shit?!? Now all of the sudden, Avatar doesn’t look so bad after all!!
    Speaking of which, it’s obvious that the wackos (no pun intended…well, maybe) wanted to make their very own Space opus, but it looks like everything misfired on all cylinders. Mia Kunis (cute as she is) does not look right for a Sci Fi Film and Tatum…UGH, I loathed Him since he was in GIJoe:Rise of Cobra, a Shitty Movie that got even shittier thanks to his performance. (Haywire and 21 jump Street are his only saving grace.)
    Eddie Redvayne is a talented SOB. (Black Death and les Miserables, anyone?)
    and for him to be the worst actor in this Film is a warning sign indeed.
    So, does “Sean dies in the end”?

    Well written and earnest review, Dee Dee!

  • I_am_better

    Hah! I was just going to ask the “Sean Bean in the room”-question…

  • Stalkeye

    That’s okay, I…HEY…what happened to your old Avatar, Meng?!?

  • I_am_better

    Just fucking around, lol

  • I_am_better

    Casual friday

  • Stalkeye

    And to think, that I was looking forward to your review of this Movie!
    At least you wont have to worry about anyone censoring a severed Photoshopped Dick like one of your previous Articles.

    You remember which one I’m referring to. XD

  • The Last Days of Zissou

    His specialty.

  • Dee

    It’s usually a very good or very bad sign if you notice the score when watching something for the 1st time.

  • The Last Days of Zissou

    I may not like the movie but I thought they got an excellent score out of Cloud Atlas. Maybe they should’ve asked Tykwer back.

  • Dee

    Yeah maybe. Cloud Atlas is much much better than this, by the way.

  • The Last Days of Zissou

    I imagine any movie without elf Channing Tatum has the upper hand.

  • The Last Days of Zissou

    Do the Watchowskis have a career after this?

  • CreepyThinMan

    Yep, I remember. Oh and here’s a visual metaphor of those who go to see Juipter Ascending!!!FACT!!!
    http://i.giphy.com/3xz2BUkETB7iDgrXEs.gif

  • CreepyThinMan

    FATSHITFUCK and anyone else who gives this praise is sucking up to Warner Bros. for Batman Vs. Superman advanced screening tickets!!!FACT!!!

  • CreepyThinMan

    Capone is a fuckin scumbag like the rest of them. They shot JA is Chicago and he probably got a set visit or some other freebies. This was the cunt that praised Bayformers 3 because he got to visit the set and saw the finished movie a month before release!!!FACT!!!

  • Dee

    I think I thought of Quint.

  • Stalkeye

    That pretty much Sums it up!
    I felt that way after watching the last Matrix sequels.

  • Stalkeye

    If anything, I would have liked if the Wactkos had made a film based on this Guy since they claim to “LOOOVVVEEE” Anime so much.

    https://static.hummingbird.me/gallery_images/images/000/001/630/original/1630.jpg?1375599411

  • Stalkeye

    I read somewhere, (One of the AICN Talkbackers who has actually seen it.) that the ending was very, very, stupid. man, I thought the Siblings were gonna be huge after Bound and The Matrix, but they fucking lost their ‘Mojo” or could it be, that their success was nothing more than some fluke?

  • Tim R.R. Something

    Really. Give me $200 million to blow on shit. I can do that.

  • Tim R.R. Something

    Maybe their one or two good ideas were stolen. That would explain the abrupt descent into crap.

  • Dee

    I think it grew over their head.

  • Tim R.R. Something

    “Your Majesty, I have more in common with a dog than I have with you.”

    “I love your style, I’ve always loved doggy style.”

  • Stiv Bators aka Chuck Tatum

    Dee, that pretty much sums up what I have seen in all the previews
    so what do you think the Wachowski’s were trying to do with this movie?
    I will wait for this to hit HBO….

  • Dee

    I have no idea… I think they a had a few ideas for a space opera and squeezed them all into the movie.
    They have been on the “more is more” trip for a while now. The Wachowskis are creatively bankrupt, they should have rather made a small film within some financial confinements, maybe that would have helped them to get their mojo again.

  • Dee

    Thank you! Yeah I have seen Redmayne showing off some really good acting before the role and the direction is to blame I think. I am no fan of Tatum either and Kunis has not demonstrated any range so far.

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Disagree. I think with Cloud Atlas certainly, and parts of this too, I think they’ve found their mojo. I just don’t think many other people like what their mojo is selling.

    Basically, everyone wants another Matrix or V for Vendetta. I just like their world building and unorthodox view to big budget film making. It;s going to end soon if they dont make someone a shit load of cash soon, but I personally hope they keep putting out these big effects and big (ish (if they work)) ideas type films. It’s like they’re making them for me. Actors love working with them as well. They’re all about the craft of film making. It’s just their outlook and ideas can;t find a groove anymore. I do think they’ve got another mega hit in them as well. I just hope they make it before someone reigns them in.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    Nothing about this movie appeals to me.

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    I saw a photo an Asian guy dressed as Spongebob getting sucked off by a girl in some sort of furry bikini today. I said, I bet Nick Nightly would like that.

    How’s it going mate? The podcast seems to be Blitzkrieging its way forward nicely too 🙂

  • Dee

    Well, the ambition is there, yes. But I don’t see the craft anymore, to be honest. As I wrote, I found lot of their creative decisions uninspired. Some ideas are promising, but only half-formed. “Bound” and “Matrix” have such a sharpness to them in each scene, be it an action piece or a dialogue scene, you can see how much thought went into them.
    I think it’s the success of the Matrix sequels that spoiled them. I actually they should be reigned in for a while. Maybe then they can return to the big budget movies with a more focused movie.

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Perhaps. But without them its Transformers, or TMNT, or nuDracula. It just not often enough that a big budget effects film comes out that we don’t know the ending before we’ve seen it. Everythings too predictable now.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    I certainly would like that and will be heading over to Google in a moment.

    Things have been great, thank you! Our scruffy little program is seeing some excitement, that’s for sure. We having a good time and are really so grateful for everyone’s support. I see you have been a busy man as of late.

  • Kylo Ronin

    Damn you, Slowth. DAMN YOU!!!!!!

  • Kylo Ronin

    Overrated.

  • Kylo Ronin

    Well, it can’t be Legend of Hercules bad, right?

  • Dee

    No, guess not.

  • Kylo Ronin

    Sooner or later, I gotta walk that plank.

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    I just dont need having to move home happening at the same time as work starts kicking in too. My poor head can’t handle the crap.

    But work should be fun when it all finally gets sorted out. I’ll be spamming facebook no doubt in a few days. It’s the sorting out of all the minutia that stresses me out lol I’m that plate-spinning guy

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    I forgot about that one. Defence mechanism, I guess. I turned it off before the end. A pretty rare thing for me. I usually see them through.

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    I but I enjoyed Paul WS Andersons Pompeii, so go figure 🙂

  • CreepyThinMan

    I think about the money and time wasted on this fucking trash when it could have, SHOULD HAVE been given to Luc Besson to do a Fifth Element sequel with Scarlett Johansson as Leeloo and Jason Statham as Korben Dallas, as I’ve been saying FOR FUCKING YEARS!!!

    There’s a difference between The Fifth Element and Jupiter Ascending. FE has a generic story but Besson fills it with soo much odd, quirky, European flavoring that I find it charming and endearing. This is why I still love the movie despite its simple story. It’s got a load of personality. But the Wachowski’s think they’re shit is DEEP! If they had brought some of their Speed Racer energy to it I could have went for it. Just revel in how campy/stupid the plot is and it could have been great. But they kill it with their deadly seriousness and the fuck awful casting!!!FACT!!!

  • Phantomcreeps

    You know what?

    I have to see this. Just to see the train derail.

    There is no choice.

  • Stalkeye

    I disagree ,
    Vampire Hunter D was another interesting High concept. (Then again, most Anime series,Movies and OVAs are High concept.)
    Part western, part Sci Fi and influential to an extent that a scene from Blade 2 was referenced from the first VHD Movie.

  • Kylo Ronin

    Fair enough.

  • It’s not worth watching it for that. It’s not a trainwreck at all, it’s just… there.

  • Because your enjoyment had nothing to do with Emily Browning, right?

  • AVATAR

    I’m with the Col. on this.

    People always talk about how studios need to let filmmakers be creative and go nuts with their stories and concepts. Then when one of these ambitious projects doesn’t work out everyone calls for “responsibility” and for the studio heads to step in and spank the director’s bum.

    Seriously, go over to sites like Deadline or Variety and everyone is talking about how now the studio execs are who should be setting the tone and controlling the filmmaking. Of course whenever an obvious crass cash-grab movie like the recent RoboCop remake is released, everyone is up in arms over studio meddling with a director’s vision.

    Which is it?

    The fans and fanboys are so hypocritical it makes me ill.

  • AVATAR

    The Priest movie (I haven’t read the original comic) was pretty much a live action VHD mixed with some Judge Dredd.

  • No it’s not. It’s just unengaging.

  • I said that after i watched it… except for the scene where Tuppence Middleton raises from a pool naked. She is very easy on the eye.

  • I’ll review this movie in my thursday article. Stay tunned.

  • Kylo Ronin

    I was engaged.

  • Stalkeye

    Unfortunately, Priest had failed to meet expectations. )0:

  • You… actually liked it?

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    LV, my man, always good to hear from you 🙂

  • Phantomcreeps

    Yep, went and saw it. Definitely just there.

    It was like Jet Grind Radio on Dreamcast, the movie.

    Drank a bunch of Seagrams 7 beforehand, that helped.

  • Dee

    Depends. Lots of good movies have been saved by the intervention of good producers. It’s just that nowadays most studio people have no idea of movies anymore.