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Jupiter Ascending (2015) Movie Review
"Jupiter Ascending" was a movie I went into with high expectations. The trailers had me on the edge of my seat and the addition of actors such as Sean Bean and the fact that it is created by the Wachowskis (of "The Matrix" and "V for Vendetta" fame) had me wondering whether this was indeed the space opera epic I have been waiting so long to see. Unfortunately, the movie was not the masterpiece I had envisioned of it. It contains a number of significant flaws though, despite this and the scathing reviews it has received by critics, I still found it to be an entertaining piece of cinema and a reasonable addition to the Sci-Fi genre.
Jupiter Ascending" tells the story of Jupiter Jones, the heiress of a vast intergalactic Empire. Unaware of her noble status, she has grown up on Earth as an ordinary girl to a large but also very ordinary family. Unfortunately, Balem and Titus Abrasax, galactic nobles seeking the inheritance of their deceased mother, both wish for control over Earth and see Jupiter as a threat to what they perceive as their rightful inheritance. Jupiter is violently thrust into the world of her ancestors after an attempt on her life is thwarted by Caine Wise, a bounty hunter sent to Earth to retrieve her. Jupiter soon discovers the dark secret of Earth's place in the galaxy and must work to not only save the Earth but assume her rightful place in the galactic hierarchy.
Jupiter herself is a weak lead character and constantly gets into situations in which she needs to be rescued by the swashbuckling Caine Wise. In addition, Mila Kunis' acting is often bland and unconvincing. Furthermore, the script often leaves a lot to be desired, particularly in the romantic sequences. Examples include the infamous line "Does any part of you want to bite me?" and a scene in which Caine explains to Jupiter that, compared to her he is no more than a dog to which Jupiter replies "I love dogs". This latter scene had audiences laughing for all the wrong reasons.
Arguably, the most important aspect of a movie is the story. Whilst the story is not poor, it is certainly disappointing and often hard to keep up with. Numerous story lines involving the struggles of the various characters combine into what comes across as a chaotic, poorly-executed mess. Each major character wants Jupiter for different reasons and the only thing the viewer can be certain of is that Jupiter will get captured and will get rescued by the courageous Caine Wise. This is especially disappointing due to the promising premise of the movie and the highly-regarded filmmakers.
... But Entertaining
However, despite these flaws, the movie does deliver in other areas. The visuals are impressive with beautiful planet design and stunning sets. CGI is used to good effect and it becomes clear very early on that a lot of money was put into the aesthetics. I found many of the scenes to be a pleasure to watch due to the visuals alone. In addition, the costumes of the humanoid aliens are impressive and reminiscent of the types of costume often seen in classic Doctor Who. The action sequences are entertaining and, once again, the visuals in these sequences are used to excellent effect. The soundtrack is also very good, though I found that it can be a little overpowering at times.
Furthermore, though I have mentioned that the story is difficult to follow and poorly-executed, the premise of Jupiter as the heir to an intergalactic nobility, the dark purposes with which Earth is being used by the current nobility and the machinations of the villains are all well thought out and highly original. Originality is something that is sadly lacking in many modern movies yet "Jupiter Ascending" cannot be faulted on this front. The beautiful aesthetics and the original story certainly bring something new and refreshing to the Sci-Fi table.
"Jupiter Ascending" Official Trailer
I found this movie to be an entertaining piece of cinema and I think it is certainly worth a one-time watch for Sci-Fi and Action fans if only due to its stunning aesthetics and entertaining action scenes. However, whilst the story is certainly original and interesting, it is executed poorly and viewers are likely to find it difficult to keep up with. Furthermore, the cliche of the heroine in danger and the number of times she has to be rescued by the hero is boring and predictable.
Overall, I believe "Jupiter Ascending" is certainly worth a watch for people who enjoy both Science Fiction and Action movies. But don't expect anything approaching the likes of Star Wars, Dune or Stargate. Though entertaining, its flaws are difficult to miss,