Jupiter Ascending is the latest sci-fi, CGI-filled behemoth from the Wachowskis and sadly, it is their most uninspired effort yet.
One way or another, you still gotta give it up to the sibling writers/directors. From Bound to Cloud Atlas, they’ve dedicated themselves to trying to show us something neato on the screen. Even their unfairly reviled entries, The Matrix Revolutions and Speed Racer, are overly-knocked on bits of screen sumptuousness; in this video game era, they still manage to give us pretty things. If anything, they range from a bit derivative to very derivative, but then again, at this point with big budget studio popcorners, who isn’t? Yet, as fascinating as Jupiter is to occasionally look at, it is obvious that we have seen everything before and for once, the Wachowskis have managed to rip off even themselves.
Mila Kunis is Jupiter, a hard-working janitor who wishes for something greater. She’s also the most beautiful performer to ever be filmed scrubbing a toilet. One day, her cousin comes up with a scheme to sell her eggs and while in the operating room, she discovers aliens are trying to kill her.
Luckily, Channing Tatum, a human/werewolf soldier of fortune hybrid, comes roller-blading in on anti-gravity boots and spirits her away to his ex-collegue Stinger’s safehouse. (Stinger is played by Sean Bean, who instantly makes us worry for his character’s life.) Soon Jupiter discovers that she is the genetic reincarnation of universal royalty and that there is a whole new world (or worlds) other than our own. Faster than you can say “Neo-Morpheus,” she finds herself in space, trapped between three competing siblings who all what to use her to continue their reins of power, along with their mysterious immortality. (The secret of their longevity is also the second major plot point the Wachowskis rip off from themselves.)
At this point, we are just left with watching the pretty, shape-shifting spaceships firing at each other as well as Tatum flying around shooting and stabbing various beings ranging from simple humans, giant bipedal komodo dragons straight out of Halo, and little green men who look like vicious extras from Close Encounters. (Incidentally, for a movie that looks so pretty, Tatum’s waist seems a bit puffy. Perhaps he was in some sort of “bulking” phase for Magic Mike XXL.)
Best Actor Oscar nominee Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) plays one of the villainous monarchs and he speaks with a whisper and occasional scream that is more goofy than threatening. And there’s also these anti-gravity boots that move like roller-blades which— Oops. That’s been mentioned already.
Actually there really isn’t anything else worth mentioning about Jupiter Ascending. No wonder it was released in February. For their next project, the Wachowskis should work with a script of adapted material. They seem to do better ripping other people off and that would just cut out the middle man.
Jupiter Ascending is now playing in theaters everywhere.