Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Jupiter Ascending: Film Review

Jupiter Ascending: Film Review


Cast: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean
Directors: The Wachowskis

Space opera, stunning visual effects and a big messy plot all collide with limited effect in the Wachowski’s latest outing.

A doe-eyed Mila Kunis  stars as Jupiter, a cleaner who dreams of another life and who finds her dream is more of a reality than she realises when she becomes the victim of a space war.

It turns out Jupiter is actually a princess and an heir to the ownership of the Earth, a fact imparted to her when she’s saved by half-wolf/ half-human Caine (a pointy-eared Tatum). With killers dispatched by Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne, prone to whispering and then shouting for no obvious reason) the tyrant heir of a family, Caine and Jupiter soon find themselves on the run and trying to restore Jupiter’s rightful position in the cosmos.

It’s clear where the money’s gone on the Wachowski’s latest.

Sumptuous space visuals, an array of creatures and alien races all appear to have gobbled up the cash that could have been spent on the story.

Saddled with some laugh-out-loud dialogue (one brutally forced in moment of contrived romance sees Jupiter telling Caine that she loves dogs – another reveals that bees can recognise royalty as they swirl around Kunis), thrown in overt references to the likes of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, some incredibly lazy and missing character development, Jupiter Ascending becomes an incomprehensible visual mess, lacking in coherence and offering nothing more than an assault on the eyeballs.

Kunis manages as best she can in her role, but suffers through some of the indignities of the script and the pacy directing; Tatum is near mute (and pointlessly shirtless) as his bland character grunts his way through continually skating through the skies (no, seriously) to save Jupiter; and Redmayne’s Ming-the-merciless wannabe villain is so underdeveloped that his greatest threat appears to be utilising his over-bite to chew through the scenery as he becomes a last-act villain plot device.

It’s a shame that the Wachowskis who brought us such visual feasts as The Matrix trilogy, Cloud Atlas, Speed Racer are reduced to this near incoherent hot mess. If the story stopped occasionally to breathe once in a while and take in the scenery, it would have been a slightly less flawed execution. Instead by racing breakneck speed between action sequences, having Caine continually save the day, throwing in a leftfield romance simply because, and providing a lack of consequence, this wannabe Star Wars clone has less bite than Tatum’s dog-eared lycan.

Though commendation must be given to one light sequence where Jupiter has to have her ID and regency validated; the Wachowskis’ satirical touch and take on bureaucracy is hilariously on the money and reminiscent of Brazil (replete with Terry Gilliam cameo).

Plundering from the giant treasure trove of sci-fi may have proven a fruitful ground for The Wachowskis in terms of stunning aesthetics and truly out of this world visuals mixed with extravagant costuming and an overly bombastic and overloaded OST.

But by failing to observe some the fact that character is what helps these stand up over the years after the FX have proven outdated, the cinematic folly that is Jupiter Ascending is more facing a descent into cinematic obscurity.

Rating:



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