Saturday, February 28, 2015

Jupiter Ascending

Plot: Jupiter (Mila Kunis) works for her family's house cleaning business, but soon gets picked up by outer space people who conclude she is a reincarnation of a dynastic Queen who ruled many solar systems. The main plot is that Queen Jupiter's family is not happy to have her back instead they use stratagems to claim the inheritance for themselves. One son hires two mercenary soldiers Cain (Channing Tatum) and Stinger (Sean Bean) to capture her. [MINOR SPOILER FOLLOWS] Cain begins to protect and rescue Jupiter instead, and this becomes the central love story. [imdb]    [photos]

Review: Cool. There are a lot of cool visuals in Jupiter Ascending. I loved the steam-punk future and the dramatic spaceships. Steam punk devices might be the best part of the movie. This future is cool, not realistic. Early in the movie, I was all on board.

In the middle of the movie, the actions scenes become like a cool video game, as cartoony CGI characters get shot up. This would have been okay in small doses, but there was too much.

Later the action ramps up, and visually the scenes get cluttered. It doesn't help that the anti-gravity technology make all the spaceships and devices multiple pieces of free-floating gear. In high speed action, this becomes a blur.  It is hard to see what is happening and stay plugged in.

At the end the emotional blankness of the sons, couple with Tatum's poor performance, to make the final scene hollow. Channing Tatum isn't likable or relatable -- despite his great performance in Foxcatcher -- he can't seem to be an interesting tough guy. 

Mila Kunis plays an regular young woman who all this weird stuff happens to. It would have helped if she felt scared, but she always seem willing jump from the frying pan back into the fire. I suppose 21st Century heroines can't be scared. 

Jupiter Ascending has a workable plot, but it gets the emotional notes wrong. I wonder what some re-editing and a new soundtrack would have done.

Cast: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne, 

Written and directed by: Andy and Lana Wachowski

The Music: Michael Giacchino: I loved the choral parts. It needed some rock and roll, like The Matrix had. 

Supervising art director: Charlie Revai: great design

Rating: 2.5 stars: The beginning was cool, but the film loses its way and its coolness. 

More:  What is the deal with Cain being part wolf? The only wolf-iness I saw was the pointed ears. Great pointed ears though -- world class pointed ears. 

Even More: I liked the idea of an aristocracy fixated on immortality, and the immortality being based on killing innocent people. It is a good science fiction, and it works allegorically.