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Mr. Tatum Being Part Dog Is Honestly the Least Bizarre Thing About This Film

Jupiter Ascending movie review

Movie Rating:

Completely unaware to the inhabitants of Earth, their planet, along with many others, have been seeded by families of alien royalty for the sole purpose of harvesting evolved creatures that have reached a “Darwinian state of perfection” in order to produce a youth serum that allows them to live forever.

You get all that? Good.

When the matriarch of the House of Abrasax, the most powerful of all alien dynasties, dies, her children Balem (Eddie Redmayne), Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) and Titus (Douglas Booth) fight over the inheritance, but a new heir comes to their attention: Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), an unsuspecting Earthling who works as a caretaker.

When Jupiter encounters Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered interplanetary warrior, she learns from him that her genetic code makes her heir to Earth. However, he must first protect her from Balem who seeks to destroy her and harvest the planet for himself.

Once again, did you get all that?

When it comes to the Wachowskis, low-key is a term they’re are clearly unfamiliar with.

Jupiter Ascending was originally slated for release during the 2014 summer blockbuster season, but Warner Bros. pulled the plug literally at the last minute, pushing it back to February of 2015 with just a few weeks remaining before it’s July 2014 release date. An more effective ad campaign and the Wachowskis needing more time to complete over 2,000 special effects shots were cited as reasons for the delay, but many saw red flags attached to the decision given the little time there was remaining before the film’s original release date.

If there’s any aspect of the Wachowskis’ work that’s been consistent throughout their filmmaking careers is the know how to put on one hell of a visually mind-blowing spectacle. Yet the past few films of theirs have been abysmal. Post-Matrix, V for Vendetta was just okay, but then we got the seizure-inducing garbage light show that was Speed Racer, the overly ambitious, confounding mess that was Cloud Atlas and now Jupiter Ascending which most definitely skyrockets through the roof on the “WTF?!” scale, even for Wachowski standards.

This is a sleek-looking, visually stunning disaster of a film that could easily put the Hindenburg disaster to shame. Sure, the visuals look great and there’s a terrific action sequence through the city of Chicago (which takes out about half of the city’s skyscrapers), but the Wachowskis are cramming way too much into just one two hour movie. Channing Tatum’s apparently half-dog, I guess Sean Bean’s half-bee (That explains the name Stinger… get it?), and there’s also lizard bounty hunters, robotic bureaucrats and creepy naked alien beings.

I haven’t even gotten to the three immortal goo-bathing Abrasax children fighting over who gets to wipe out Earth while Mila Kunis is apparently a reincarnated form of their mother. A mother that one of her sons tries to marry.

You can’t fault the Wachowskis for just going for broke, but every character, conflict, story thread, fumbled attempt at comedy, you name it, they have coming and going throughout their script is handled so poorly. There’s more exposition in just ten minutes of this film than all three Matrix movies, the entire Star Wars saga, Interstellar, Inception and the Terminator franchise combined, yet it’s executed like a 10-year-old ADHD brat whacked out on Angel Dust. Worse, instead of going the campy route like The Fifth Element did so well, the story takes itself so seriously. To say this is a train wreck of a film so bad it killed every one of its metaphorical passengers would be kind.

Of course, there are some that will tell me to just shut up and enjoy the ride, but even from an action standpoint, the film drops the ball. The aforementioned chase in Chicago is fun, but the Wachowskis keep repeating the same old song and dance from that point on.

Exposition
Mila Kunis is in danger, Channing Tatum rescues her and a fight ensues.

Exposition
Mila Kunis is in danger, Channing Tatum rescues her and a fight ensues.

Exposition
Mila Kunis is in danger, Channing Tatum rescues her and a fight ensues.

Exposition
Mila Kunis is in danger, Channing Tatum rescues her and a fight ensues.

If the fate of our world rests in the hands of someone that has to keep getting bailed out of trouble, then I guess we should all just kiss our asses goodbye.

Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis are likeable presences. It’s taken a while for Tatum to find his wheelhouse in comedy and last year he showed immense improvement opposite Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher. These two seem lost in the messy material, though, but then again, I’m sure not even Daniel Day-Lewis could make this script work.

Although his method acting techniques for any one of these characters would make for a much more engaging film.

Out of the entire cast, it’s Eddie Redmayne that takes the cake for the worst. Redmayne went from giving one of the best performances of last year to one of the worst of this year. I can’t blame him entirely; this is the Wachowskis’ character and it’s their direction after all. Why they’d want their primary villain to sound like a whispery 96-year-old woman having an asthma attack is beyond me, but Redmayne’s horrible delivery is grating to say the least.

Like all things Wachowskis, Jupiter Ascending is visually stunning and so ambitious it’ll make your head explode, but the narrative is so convoluted it makes Interstellar look like SpongeBob, the action sequences are repetitive and Eddie Redmayne’s talent-wasted performance is the equivalent of Freddy Krueger’s blades running down a chalkboard. What could’ve been a fun campy space opera ended up as a pretty looking yet massively bloated mess.

Excuse me now while I take the blue pill and forget this movie ever existed.

I give Jupiter Ascending a D (★).

Movie Rating:

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I’m originally from the Orlando-Sanford area in Florida. Moved up to Michigan as a kid and to this day, as Stevie Ray Vaughan once said, “Couldn’t stand the weather.”

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