Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
In a bright and colorful future, a young destitute caretaker gets targeted by a ruthless son of a powerful family that live on a planet in need of a new heir, so she travels with a genetically engineered warrior to the planet in order to stop his tyrant reign.
Mila Kunis – Jupiter Jones
Channing Tatum – Caine Wise
Sean Bean – Stinger
Eddie Redmayne – Balem
Douglas Booth – Titus
Tuppence Middleton – Kalique
I can’t remember the last time I felt sick during a movie. Except now.
Near the beginning of the movie when Jupiter is rescued by Caine, an explosive sky chase unfolds above Chicago. And although slick, the scenario happens way too fast – and with so much choppy action it’s nauseating. Kunis and Tatum zip, slide, jump and fly around skyscrapers in a bid to outrun the alien enemies, and it’s non-stop. Usually I’d find a scenario like this exciting, but I honestly felt sick from looking at the whizzy dizzy camerawork. Imagine being on a fairground waltzer at top speed – in a nightclub. Spinning round and round amongst bright lights and smoke. That was how I felt sitting in front of Jupiter Ascending. I only hoped this wave of nausea would be replaced with entertainment as soon as possible..
Jupiter Ascending was just awful. Very little structure ensured this movie chugged along by throwing as many random characters into the mix, as well as scenes which linked together as strongly as an untied shoelace. The director used as much sky diving and gunfire as humanly possible to seal the ‘action’ deal, but it just didn’t cut it and the entire feature inadvertantly ended up messy. The mess continued with the vast array of characters. I say ‘vast array’ – the casting was like a fucking circus. Tatum as a wolf-human splice and Bean as half-bee I could manage. It’s when they step on board their main spacecraft it gets weird. A bald lady, half-human, half-deer, a seemingly normal (everywhere else) woman with abnormally large mouse-like ears, a very camp robot-man, and dragons who can’t seem to breathe fire. Oh, there’s an albino wandering around somewhere too.
It was like (what the Americans call) a yard sale of characters, so many on screen at one point the scene looked overcrowded and tedious. I like a movie where I find a character I can warm to, be entertained or captivated by. But I felt absolutely nothing towards any of the cast here. Everyone were on screen, getting through the script as best they could whilst leaving no lasting impression on me. And in the end, I honestly didn’t care what happened to any of them – Jupiter included. And then, towards the end of the movie, Diomika (captain of Caine’s spacecraft) looks down at her pilot and thanks him. The camera pans to the left.
..the pilot is an elephant.
I know we’re in outer space, but the mismatch mess of characters was eye-rolling stuff.
One-liner’s and obviously witty dialogue mainly brought silence from the audience as a response. I’ll be honest though – I heard a man down in one of the front rows laugh out loud once. I think another time someone coughed. But that was it. No one even uttered a snigger during the scene where Caine gets injured, and Jupiter rakes a sanitary towel out of a drawer then uses it to cover the wound.
Have you ever witnessed a moment in a movie that contains the exact ingredients for a hearty laugh-out-loud reaction – but gets silence? This was it. If Jupiter Ascending was a live theatre performance, I would have been cringing in embarrassment for the lead actors as they tried to deliver a gag, with no audience reaction. Poor Mila – the woman really delivers some (potential) one-liner’s. But they were met with utter silence in the auditorium, thus creating a serious atmosphere for the movie its entire duration even during light-hearted moments. Not great.
I started to wonder what was going on here – was this a drama? A dry comedy? A spoof? Whatever the deal was, the movie was unfolding like a car crash of special effects and unfunny funny dialogue.
British actress Nikki Amuka-Bird appears as leader of Caine’s space crew (I am unsure as to what the crew or their ship are called, as both Wikipedia and myself are clearly too uninterested to remember this detail). I was quite surprised to see Nikki actually; I haven’t seen her in anything – especially on the big screen – since her role as Samantha in BBC drama Survivors. I quite liked her in Survivors – a woody, matriarch type character you wouldn’t want to cross who takes over England’s government as a one-woman army. But here she was, captain of a spacecraft – almost unrecogniseable as she stood amongst the likes of Tatum and Bean. So it may be the most unimportant element of a movie, but you know those moments when you spot an actor and think, “random – what are YOU doing there?”.. this was one of those moments.
Ramon Tikaram also appears as another spacecraft crew member. Those of you familiar with UK television may recognise him from 90’s BBC drama This Life – or Eastenders. As mentioned, the spattering of characters all over the place is messy, but the casting – just as random.
Yes – something did go right.
The scenery / special effects were quite impressive. Most scenes involving a chase or fight between Caine and Jupiter contained a bit too much (as mentioned above) firey graphics. However, it was the scenery and setting of various locations that I liked. When Jupiter gets into outer space, it’s quite nice. Big smoky planets churning with puffy orange cloud, worm holes, blazing bright stars. Good use of effects here. There is one particular scene where Kalique and her brother Titus stroll across a bridge on a derelict planet; oddly shaped buildings and sparkling blue sand leant nicely to the set. Back on Earth, some scenes were made bearable by use of the Chicago skyline at dawn / night. One part sees Jupiter jump into a gravity beam with Caine – the glow of the beam against the night sky was pretty, got my attention. The simple filming locations captured a City atmosphere nicely, and brought almost a relief as the story returned to normal for a a few minutes.
Jupiter Ascending is so tame, it really isn’t a movie for adults. But then it’s not a movie for young adults either – I’d say the ideal viewer age for it is 10 to 14 at least. There is no bad language or heavy violence and let’s face it, a movie containing giant talking dragons and outer space chases is kids stuff. During the ending scene between Jupiter and Balem, she performs a violent act before looking down at him and announcing, “I’m NOT your damn mother”.
In a more adult movie the character would be a bit stronger, saying, “I’m not your fucking mother” – especially Kunis. She’s got a great filthy mouth (and that’s just in Family Guy). When she dropped this (important) line, it had such an incredibly low impact. This is definitely a kids movie.
Jupiter Ascending is just AWFUL. It’s not even an enjoyable awful – it’s a tedious, ‘desperate to exit the cinema’ awful. It excels at being a messy car crash of a display with an overloaded casting and too much going on at once on screen. Scenery wise, there is some great clarity and colours set on a backdrop of night sky – this is its only striking element.
This movie can slide nicely into the background, because I honestly wouldn’t give it a second look. Promotion wise, it bases itself on high-octane action and intriguing story. Viewing wise, it really is nothing short of dull and is like a high-end Disney flick for children.
Jupiter Ascending – you may now descend.