Not a Review: ‘Jupiter Ascending’ barely takes flight
The latest Wachowski blockbuster, while panned by everyone who claims to be a movie critic, isn’t a complete failure by my standards. It did what it was supposed to do for me; it entertained me.
Billed as: A young woman discovers her destiny as an heiress of intergalactic nobility and must fight to protect the inhabitants of Earth from an ancient and destructive industry. Starring:
Nikki Amuka-Bird…Diomika Tsing
And a bunch of other actors I didn’t care about, and in most cases, forgot immediately after they left the screen.
The only one to get any props from me was the fiercely beautiful Nikki Amuka-Bird as the starship captain of the battleship, Aegis. (I know her because she portrays the role of DCI Erin Gray, in the immensely popular BBC hit series, Luther. Go watch Luther. Luther is great. New season coming. #idriselbaeverything)
<end subliminal messages>
Tatum is suitably beefy and well choreographed. Bean is scruffy and well… scruffy. (Did he just walk off the set of Game of Thrones, geez? Somebody get that man a razor.) I felt it was a bit disturbing to see the royalty of the galactic empire was very Caucasian. (Shake it off. You knew what you were in for when you got here.)
Billed as a space opera, this was clearly an opera which needed some more singing. Perhaps a sequence like the Diva in ‘The Fifth Element.’ The movie needed something. Perhaps some anti-depressants to get everybody in gear.
The lead actress Mila Kunis, whom I did not know (unlike everyone else with a pulse) went from limp, to hot, to smoldering and back to limp sometimes all within a single scene.
That pretty much describes this movie, at times limp, the dialog was so weak, my weak tea could give it a pimp slap; other times hot, the fight scenes were above par and showcased strange and vastly awesome alien technologies (though I just wasn’t sure what to make of the gliding boots, were they cool or was I just being too generous?). The CGI and visual effects were sumptuous and this movie’s only redeeming feature. (Pretend the bee scene didn’t happen and we’re golden.)
Jupiter Ascending tried to make me get excited about the budding relationship between Jones (formerly scullery maid and now heiress to a vampiric empire) and Caine (genetically altered, spliced with super-wolf, bad-ass, with the acting range of a bar of soap) but the actors didn't seem to be on the same page; when Channing was on, Mila was off and vice versa.
Overall, it wasn’t the worst thing I ever saw. It had plenty of messages to be had if you were really paying attention and were still awake when they got around to explaining them.
The subtle or not so subtle conversation of converting people into time shouldn’t be lost on anyone. It is a direct condemnation of the same thing being done on Earth today except we use money to keep score. Money equals everything but TIME.
The overwhelming horror of the galactic bureaucracy and notice (just like on Earth) the more entrenched the government agency, the older its technology seems to get. At the peak of the government, the technology is so old it barely functions, just like the people manning that government…yes Congress, I’m talking to you.
I hated the spoiled brat behavior of all of the corporate/royal leaders. How did these people ever take over anything except by outliving everyone around them? They didn’t seem particularly formidable, challenging or even threatening. I would have thought they would have had all kinds of genetic engineering done but it would have been invisible to the naked eye (thus making it superior to the gene-spliced warriors who make up their rank and file.)
The spaceships were visually satisfying, the cinematic effects were excellent if a bit predictable. If only they could have splurged on a writing team to tighten up that sagging dialog and a good electrician to spark up that lifeless delivery by nearly everyone involved.
The CGI Dragon/Lizard/Gator people were more lively than everyone living in this movie. (Though I can say, the fight scene choreography did not leave me completely disappointed. More thought went into that than the dialog for the rest of the movie…)
My least favorite line: “Bees recognize royalty.” Ugh. How many times did he have to spit to get the line out of his mouth.
My favorite line: “I like dogs.” (You had to be there.) I laughed in spite of myself.
I wanted to like this movie more. I really did; it just didn’t make it beyond seeming just like a bunch of stuff spliced together with the same people in the same costumes acting like they actually cared about something. Like a script. Or where the cameras were. Or whether the emotions they were showing were even remotely related to the scene they were in.
Oh hell. It was forgettable.
Two and a half stars out of five. It was as weak as ‘The Fifth Element’ (yeah, I said it) and only half as much fun.
P.S. It should have been called ‘Jupiter Descending’. Mila Kunis spends half the movie falling off of something. Really, when you’re in the movie, count how many times she falls out, off or down from something. Somebody should have tied a bungie around her. She’d been easier to keep up with.