Jupiter Ascending (2015)

Jupiter Jones was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people's houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine Wise, a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along - her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos. - synopsis from IMDB

 Cast  - full listing

 Genres

action, science-fiction

 Facts & Figures

Directed by Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski.

Rated 5.4 on IMDB from 149300 votes.

Runtime: 127 min.

 Review

It doesn’t happen very often that my rating of a movie shifts after the initial gut feeling. For Jupiter Ascending, however, this unfortunately means it didn’t really make the cut to even be considered average. Why, you wonder? Because the more I thought about it, I realised I liked a lot of things about it, but none of the things that really matter were amongst them.

In what promises to be an interesting setting, we are plunged into a spectacular scenery of a somewhere-in-the-future universe. Promising, because the Wachowskis produced it. Spectacular, because - you guessed it - the Wachowskis produced it. The clothing, massive industrial locations and buildings, astounding action scenes with intense shots and the fictional elements are all brilliantly made. By now you might be wondering what’s so dreadful about it.

First, there’s that annoying feeling that a lot of the movie feels vaguely familiar. Humans who have evolved to have wings? Human beings exploited as resources without them even noticing they are being “harvested” by their invisible overlords? Music that’s just too close to that which is iconic for other franchises? (that would be Star Wars). There are too many moments where the originality lacks and you realize what the producers apparently did not: just combining the good parts of other movies is not a formula for a good new one.

Second, the music is not good enough. The only time I really noticed it was when I was humming along the Star Wars tune, only to realize there was another movie on the screen.

Third, the acting is not all that great. There are exceptions, which made me look up at points. Obviously, Sean Bean is OK. More noticeable however is the performance by Redmayne, who is by far the star of this movie. With a freakishly subdued intonation that reaches into the occasional outburst and a swagger that simply breathes good old, evil power, he outshines the rest of the cast combined. Which should be no surprise to those who have seen some other recent work.

Fourth, but more importantly foremost, the story is disappointing. I can deal with one “saved at the last moment by crashing through the window” moment, but two times is just too much. The inevitable saved by the bell timing is predictable to the point of getting on one’s nerves at that point. Not only is the story at the level of the intriguing world we are introduced to, our introduction to that world is a complete mess. Most groups are not even introduced, let alone their motives explained. We just start following along in a confusingly complex world that feels unsatisfactorily explored up to the end titles.

I started off liking this Jupiter Ascending, but it kept descending steadily afterwards until my expectations were no longer met.

Seen: 25 Oct 2015

Jupiter Ascending

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