The Wachowskis’ new sci-fi flick tells the story of Jupiter Jones – daughter of a Russian immigrant, cleaning lady, genetic reincarnation of the queen of the universe. Bored yet? The entirety of Jupiter Ascending is a hodgepodge of fan boy fantasy, cheesy dialogue, and clunky plotlines. The only highlight is the visual effects. Seeing the post-production phase first-hand at Warner Brothers Studios, I can attest to the time, effort, and attention to detail that went into creating this unfortunate, multi-million dollar bust. (BKP: 2/5)
Review of Jupiter Ascending by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky
The story begins with the origin of Jupiter, the girl named after the best, most glorious planet in the solar system. Before she was born, her father “Maximilian Jones” (James D’Arcy) and pregnant mother “Aleksa” (Maria Doyle Kennedy) were robbed, with the invaders destroying their apartment and taking their money – and their telescope. Maximilian fails “Mugging Protocol 101” by not letting go of his telescope and BOOM. Down goes Mr. Jones. The timeline moves along with Aleska giving birth to Jupiter on a cargo ship and flashes 30 years later to the girls working as Chicago-based cleaning ladies. The story shifts, yet again, to a galactic dynasty led by Oscar-nominee Eddie Redmayne as “Balem,” son of The House of Abrasax, seeking his mother’s inheritance. Follow along? He and his alien siblings make it their mission to stop toilet-scrubbing Jupiter from becoming heir to Earth.
Meanwhile, back in Chicago, Jupiter snaps iPhone pictures of a scantily clad girl floating in the air and being poked by aliens. With her memory foggy, she wanders to the doctor’s office, is restrained to the bed and gets her brain injected by aliens. But who comes to her rescue? None other than “Caine Wise,” (Channing Tatum) an interplanetary warrior and moon-boot wearing man-wolf. Caine speed skates through the air, shoots down aliens, and catches Jupiter Lois-Lane-style when she falls out of the Willis Tower. So basically, he’s perfect Channing Tatum in every galaxy. The eight-minute-long action sequence (which took Tatum and Kunis six months to film) is the best part of the Wachowskis’ project. The camera follows Jupiter and Caine as they fly through scenic Chicago, zooming in an out of exploding buildings, plummeting into the river, and racing around skyscrapers. The stunning visuals, with the aid of 3D glasses and IMAX surround sound, give the film its one redeeming quality.
After the action sequence is completed, the film diverts back to Balem and his planet’s cohorts – lizards, princesses, rat-faced sidekicks, etc. As the film continued its outlandish, downwards spiral, audience members audibly groaned and a third of the people exited the theater. Already a box-office disappointment, Warner Brothers might have to use American Sniper’s success to balance out their checkbooks. It took a year and a half to get Jupiter Ascending on multiplex screens, and will probably only take weeks to leave them.
Review © Brigid K. Presecky (2/07/15)
Photo: Mila Kunis as “Jupiter Jones,” Cleaning Lady / Queen of the Universe
Q: Does Jupiter Ascending pass the Bechdel Test?