Movie Review: Jupiter Ascending

IMDB, Jupiter Ascending“Jupiter Ascending” on IMDB

Sci-Fi, 127 Minutes, 2015

The Wachowskis (Andy [IMDB] and Lana [IMDB]) did a bad thing. They spent a $170 million to do it. Bad, Wachowskis, bad!

Buckle up for a spoiler-filled synopsis, folks!

A pretty half-orphan girl – in a shameful bit of emotional manipulation her father dies in the opening credits – named, I shit you not, “Jupiter Jones”, cleans toilets for a living. She’s played by Mila Kunis [IMDB], playing a prop in the shape of Mila Kunis. She does incredibly dumb things because her family tells her to. She’s not happy about cleaning toilets, for some reason. She’s also the genetic reincarnation of a 90,000 year-old space business woman who owned the Earth.

The space lady left Earth to one of her children. All three of them want it, but if Jupiter wants it, she can have it because she looks just like the space lady. That’s space law, bub! We know all about space law, because we spend a lot of time – truly, a lot of time – talking about space law. Space law: the bloody, beating heart of adventure.

The space people make youth-juice from regular people that lets them live for thousands of years. Earth is important because it has a lot of people and its unimportant because they have thousands of planets that they’re growing people on. It’s both. Deal with it, audience – just deal with it!

So, one of the kids – it doesn’t matter which, they’re all tools – tries to kill Jupiter. A dog man (Channing Tatum [IMDB]) named, I shit you not again, “Caine Wise” saves her. (He’s a Mog, half man, half dog: he’s his own best friend!) The dog man used to be a space cop and wants to be one again. He takes Jupiter to his old friend who lives in a house covered in bees (Sean Bean [IMDB]) named, I still shit you not, “Stinger Apini”). Stinger was also kicked out of the space cops and just happened to retire to a planet owned by somebody for the express purpose of farming people.

Bees can recognize royalty, we’re told. Stinger has no reason to want to recognize royalty and no expectation that royalty will ever stop by for a visit, but his house is still covered in bees. It would be like setting up house in a chicken coop on the odd chance that Colonel Sanders might pop by. He has a daughter that’s even more a prop that Jupiter, which is an achievement in-and-of itself.

The bulk of the movie is Jupiter getting kidnapped by each of the kids, in turn, as if they drew straws to determine the order. Caine and Stinger call their old friends in the space cops, who help them for no reason at all. They also don’t help them; Caine pretty much does every damn thing himself for the rest of the movie.

A lot of other things happen. Most of them will confuse and irritate you. The climax is set in the fiery secret lair, hidden under the Great Red Spot of (the planet) Jupiter, of the creepiest of the kids. His name, I continue to shit you not, is “Balem Abrasax”. Balem is played by oscar winner Eddie Redmayne [IMDB] who gives a stunningly terrible performance. Every line is delivered in a raspy, garbled undertone that seems more the result of a head wound than an affectation. Actually, there are exceptions: a very few lines are shrieked out, full volume, as if a rocking chair caught his tail.

In the end, the dog-man saves Jupiter and they do it human-style. She’s now one of the richest people in “The ‘Verse” (that’s what they call it!) and has unfettered access to a billion years of technological advancement. She, I shit you not, goes back to scrubbing toilets so that she can… stay with her family? I guess? Instead of, oh, I don’t know, taking them all to live like emperors in space?!

On the positive side, the movie looks great, even if the action is often too frenetic and poorly framed to actually understand what in the hell is going on. Some of the concepts are interesting, even if they’re all (and I mean all) cribbed from better sources. On the negative side there’s… everything else. The script is cumbersome. The characterization of women is terrible. The story is miles up its own ass.

It may be worth it to some for the eye-candy alone. There’s nothing else to recommend it.

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