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Jupiter Ascending: Immortal Nut Shots, Intergalactic Roller Skating and Wonderful Universe Building

February 6, 2015

Jupiter Ascending movie poster

Jupiter Ascending is a visual cornucopia full of gobbledygook, hooey, intergalactic roller skating and immortal nut shots. It features elaborate set design, lavish costumes and bypasses world building by creating a universe. It is ambitious and I sorta loved it. The Wachowskis swing for the fences and I love that about them. Their films The Matrix 1-3, Bound, Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas are stylized wonders that have proven to be polarizing and Jupiter Ascending fits nicely alongside them.

What makes Jupiter Ascending interesting is that people were ready to hate it before it came out. The buzz has been full of vitriol and I think that will keep people from enjoying this bonkers space saga. It is true that it suffered from many delays and the $175 million budget seems incredibly bloated. However, every cent of the budget is seen on-screen. They stuff so many things into two hours it makes your brain explode (they reportedly started with a 600 page script).

Jupiter Ascending Mila Kunis dress

Jupiter Ascending revolves an immortal race who harvest planets in order to stay immortal. They hoard glass bottles of goo (think a large Smart Water bottle) that act like the greatest face cream ever. It takes 100 bodies to fill these bottles and it turns out that earth is ready for a harvest. However, before immortal Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne) can harvest the planet they find out that a reincarnated immortal named Jupiter (Mila Kunis) has a claim on earth. So, Titus Abrasax (Douglas Booth) recruits Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) to save her from being killed by squirrelly aliens sent by Balem. Caine saves Jupiter with the aid of Stinger Apini (Sean Bean) and his many bees. However, Kalique Abrasax (Tuppence Middleton) kidnaps Jupiter which sets in motion a lot of drama. From there Jupiter pinballs around the universe while Caine saves her multiple times.

Basically, the plot is an excuse to blow up Chicago, engage in huge space wars and dress people up in fancy clothes.

Mila Kunis leather dress

In the two-hour film we get eight air battles, one wedding, three rescues, 80 outfit changes, egg selling, Lizard henchmen, TV purchases, three dinners, bureaucracy, bounty hunters, double crosses,  imprisonment, space orgies (10 seconds of footage, It took eight hours to film),  bee attacks, toilet cleaning, almost space death, roller skating, expository dialogue (X8), wing growth and a whole lot more.

Normally, The Wachowskis excel at creating badass heroines. Their female characters in The Matrix series and Bound set the standard for tough women. However, Jupiter is such a naive person that you are constantly slapping your head. She never makes decisions for herself and the pulpy script doesn’t help. She is bounced around the immortals like a pinball and she is almost convinced to sell her eggs so her cousin can buy a television. I get that she has been dealt a bum hand (father was killed) but you wish she could have been infused with the self-confidence that Kunis brought to the screen in Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Black Swan. 

The most memorable character of the universe is Eddie Redmayne’s Balem. He feels like he is in another movie as he speaks in a monotone voice that is occasionally interrupted by screaming fits that sound like a petulant child wanting to get his way. His tough allure is wrecked when he is easily dropped by a Jupiter nut shot. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an immortal get kicked in the nuts. I would love to know the direction he got from the Wachowskis.

 Jupiter Ascending is bonkers cinema at its best and worst. It is eye candy that seems way too ambitious. I love that the Wachowskis created a new world but they packed in so much you can never go all in. The movie is one ambitious set up after the next and there are at least 100 speaking roles.

space crew

 

In a day and age of remakes, sequels, reboots and prequels I’m glad we got Jupiter Ascending. I will gladly pay money to watch new worlds be created. The worlds may be incredibly odd but at least the Wachowskis bring something new. The biggest problem with Jupiter Ascending failing at the box-office is that studios might shy away from original products in the future. Thus, we will be stuck with more lame Spiderman reboots and X-Men prequels.

Watch Jupiter Ascending. Appreciate the insanity. Buy some intergalactic roller skates. Support something original.

 

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. David permalink
    June 12, 2015 5:47 pm

    If I had skipped the ending I would have enjoyed this movie so much more. Some authors cannot finish a book in a satisfactory manner. The duet that produced this movie also failed to end the Matrix movies in a manner that was in touch with the more thoughtful beginnings and middles. Just like the first Matrix flick this one ended with a much too happy scene where the main character(s) fly away into the sunset victoriously while all of New York watches? As far as world building I found it way more interesting and intriguing than Star Wars where it always seemed to be inexplicable power struggles and no underlying economics like the Dune saga or Jupiter Ascending. So much material uncovered and room for a sequel but with an ending like that?

    • John Leavengood permalink
      November 8, 2016 11:37 am

      That ending slit the throat of the possibility of a sequel. They were aiming for a trilogy.

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