"Your birth is a very small part of a very large industry."
The Wachowski’s have started to build up a reputation of making visually impressive and imaginative films, but ones that do not follow a pleasing structure, coherent concept or regular pace throughout. Jupiter Ascending continues to add to that reputation.
Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is a girl who dreams of the stars but faces a cold reality on a daily basis. But when Caine (Channing Tatum) an ex-military hunter arrives on earth and tells her that fate has been waiting for her. Her genetic structure marks her as the next in line of an inheritance that could not only change her destiny, but that of the universe.
This film is just a mess in nearly every respect. The pacing, plot and general tone are all over the place. Like a lot of the Wachowski projects the concept feels good but the execution is done in a way that makes it feel as if they went out of their way to write the script as soon as they could without pausing for breath at all.
That must be given to the films credit because it had an excellent concept, but it was carried out in quite a shambolic manner. As well as this you find that the scope and scale of this project was quite an achievement. It felt epic and grand as if it spanned from the mind of a god and furthermore it continued to surprise me with the imagination and creative thought that was poured into it throughout. But this vision is never appropriately refined to turn the concept into a great film.
It has been advertised as more of a science fiction adventure, but in reality Jupiter Ascending is more of a poorly written political drama. Half of this film is just background information that nearly overwhelmed me instantly and the rest is people in extravagant dresses squabbling over various planets that you’ve never heard of or really care about, a feat that is amazing considering all the backstory that was added.
Once again the Wachowski’s have crafted a very visually impressive film that is certainly a good cinematic experience for most of the time. There are some very creative and inspired moments that use this cinematic technology to full effect. But in essence some of the effects can be overwhelming or obviously CGI. Occasionally a scene was so cluttered with CGI that it took me out of what could have been a very special moment. Instead the effects cloud over the story and the acting on display.
The acting is impressive as well, but the issue here is that none of it feels necessary. The film has also used the names of Redmayne, Tatum, Kunis and Bean to make this star power obvious, but none of these actors are able to bring anything special or unique to the role. It feels as if they could have been played by anyone and would have made little difference. Redmayne might want to be recast as whatever he tried to do here it did not work for the recent BAFTA winner.
The emotional depth and character development of Jupiter is very conventional and minimal. The film takes time at the start to give us an idea of how she is in turmoil and in trouble and her life is becoming pear-shaped and then as she has this new responsibility thrust upon her this character ark dissolves very quickly and then we don’t see it again for the rest of the film, or at least not in a detailed way that defies the cliché of adventure, zero to hero characters. Rather than becoming a strong female role to join the likes of Ripley, Jupiter becomes a cliché that relies on Channing Tatum to save her repeatedly.
Their relationship is possibly the most cringe worthy element of the film. The awkward, forced love story only makes things worse and their motives and principles seem to bend as easily as the laws of physics do.
It starts strong with some fantastic visual action but Jupiter Ascending soon turns into a mess of over used clichés, awkward plot points and frankly awful character design. It may be creative, but that’s all it is.