JUPITER ASCENDING: REVIEW – Jupiter Ascending – directed by the bafflingly employed Wachowksis – is a film that aspires to the grandiose adventure, excitement, well written dialogue, fully fledged characters and kinetic direction of Star Wars 2: Attack of the Clones. And fails.
Mila Kunis plays Jupiter ‘Ascending’ Jones daughter of an astronomer who is shot by Russian gangsters. Don’t worry, that he is an astronomer doesn’t matter nor that he is shot by Russian… who are they anyway? Gangsters? Burglars? Again don’t worry that’s just random event number one in what is going to be a tiring journey through the plot equivalent of chaos theory. Jupiter cleans toilets and her mother – originally a mathematician we are told, has now become a drudge and her Russian family have happily become semi-racist stereotypes. She’s not happy cleaning toilets and has decided to raise money selling her ovaries so that she can buy a golden telescope because her father was an astronomer – oh so it is important, an astronomer by the way who spends his time peering through the telescope in the middle of a city or in the living room. But don’t worry by random chance all her DNA is exactly the same of the old Queen of the Universe and so she is now hunted by the Queen’s children – including silly Eddie Redmayne – to be variously exploited and/or killed. To the rescue comes Channing Tatum as Teen Wolf/Albino/ pixie/Birdman/Starlight Express wannabe. Although not to the rescue because he’s working for one of the siblings. Oh and bees love her, or at least don’t sting her, which you have to say, as a perk for being Queen of the Universe, is pretty modest.
Do you remember that idea of the room full of monkeys with typewriters and infinity typing the complete works of Shakespeare? Well, this is the first draft. It’s nods to other films – Brazil, The Fifth Element, Blade Runner and Attack of the Clones – only make you wish you were watching other films. Yes, even Attack of the Clones. The dialogue is cloth-eared; the humor flat; the characters motivated by stunning dumbness. Jupiter makes you realize how fantastic a character Katniss Everdeen is. Where The Hunger Games is about a young girl becoming a rebel and a fighter, Jupiter is wetter than Dale Arden, endlessly rescued from her own stupid decisions. It’s as if the Wachowskis are hell bent on giving young women a role model of domestic acquiescence who in the end learns to get up early and clean toilets cheerfully.
When Warner Bros. denied they were burying Jupiter Ascending in February (from a Summer Blockbuster spot), no one really believed them. It’s only a pity they couldn’t have literally buried the film somewhere where it wouldn’t have been found.
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