Film Review: Jupiter Ascending

Sunday 2 August 2015 by

Jupiter Ascending, Film, Wachowski brothers

When I saw the adverts on the tube, I was excited to see Jupiter Ascending – it looked exactly like my kind of film, with action and fantasy bunched up together. But in reality, it was a bit of a wet blanket of a film. The great names – Eddie Redmayne, Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis – did little to alleviate the tedium of the film. But I guess I should critique it a bit better.

The basic premise is that Earth is in fact a farm, owned by aliens who like to use up people to gain eternal youth. But there is a problem: Jupiter Jones (Kunis). She is the reincarnation of the queen (bear with it) and her children want her back. So begins a war of different siblings as they vie to get her back for their own means.

Meanwhile, Caine (Tatum) is also hunting her down and – predictably – falling in love with her. It all gets very complicated, but I think this was partly because I wasn’t paying that much attention. There are explosions and CGI and dodgy dialogue… and an appearance from Sean Bean, which is always a fun surprise.

The highlight, in the end, was the humour. Bright flashes of tongue-in-cheek amusement and poking fun. But these moments were few and far between. Instead, we suffer through shaky world-building and uncertain dialogue. There’s an awful lot of telling and not showing, and pancake-flat characters. The worst part of it was the strange lisping voice of Eddie Redmayne and smug amusement of Douglas Booth. I couldn’t help it – nothing about this film really redeemed itself and I was left feeling a bit deflated. This film had huge potential – but it felt like most of the budget went in to the insane headdresses that Kunis wears throughout.

Visually, it can be beautiful at times. The CGI is overdone though, and it ruins the moments when it is done well (the wedding scene and the bees, for example). It’s not really a wonder that it flopped. Perhaps in the right hands it would have been a greater success.

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