I first heard about Jupiter Ascending from an interview with Channing Tatum, where someone asks him what it’s like to work with Mila Kunis and he gives a very diplomatic answer which involved his wife. I can’t remember if he was promoting the film or not, but I ended up deciding to watch it. I’d have to agree with Channing Tatum, who also mentioned he had no idea what was going on in the film. Because seriously, what’s going on?
The basic plot, which is actually very complicated, goes like this:
- Mila Kunis AKA Jupiter is born on earth and works as a housecleaner. She decides to sell her embryo to pay for a $3000 telescope.
- Aliens try to kill her
- Channing Tatum who plays a flying wolfman/elf hybrid, and wearing enough make up to not actually look like Channing Tatum comes to her rescue and tells her she’s the Queen of the Universe. Well, the Queen of Earth and a few other planets which are never mentioned again. Because she has the exact DNA as the deceased queen.
- They go to Sean Bean’s house, and he’s a bee, but he looks like a normal human being, because I guess Sean Bean saw what they did to Channing Tatum and told the make-up artists a solid “No”
- They go up to space, where the previous queen’s three children play a game of kiss, marry, kill. Eddie Redmayne’s character is harder to understand than when he played Stephen Hawkings.
- There’s some sort of battle, Mila’s family is kidnapped, somehow it all gets resolved.
- She goes back to earth to live a normal life, not telling anyone she technically owns earth, and her family buy her the telescope. I can’t remember if she continues to be a house cleaner or not.
The film has a very rich list of characters, played by very good actors. It has beautiful scenery, and a very normal sci-fi plot, the key to immortality, with some good old capitalism thrown in. The special effects budget was surely large enough to buy several third world countries. And yet, everything feels cheesey.
There is so much exposition shoved in, so many characters introduced and then left, that there’s not much time for solid character development and thus the audience doesn’t have any real emotional connection. It distinctly feels like a tomato soup where the directors said “You know what would go well in this soup? A billion other ingredients” Then played a game of bingo to add the ingredients, which included a moose and some 70% mayan chocolate.
With a background this big, it’s best to leave things simple. It’s not perhaps a completely terrible film. It’s got it’s good points, such as some very sincere acting and amazing costumes. It relies to heavily on the CGI action though, and feels as if the directors wanted to create a trilogy and shoved it into a single film. I did enjoy the few alien jokes.
I enjoyed the CinemaSins video of Jupiter Ascending more than the film, and if you don’t want to watch the full movie, I highly reccommend watching their youtube summery.