Posted Oct 28 2015

Jupiter Ascending - This Movie Doesn't Space Rock

Dir: The Wachowskis

Starring: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Terry Gilliam 

When the Wachowskis’ latest sci-fi spectacular was abruptly pulled from last summer and shunted away to the wasteland that is February, everyone involved said they needed more time to work on the FX. And to be fair, there are a vast amount of FX on show here, so that may have partly been the case. But, having now seen it, we don’t think that was the whole story.

It’s sad to say that at this stage in their career, maybe the gender-inter-changing Wachowskis only had two really god movies in them (Bound and the first Matrix by the way. Although Cloud Atlas probably adds a half point to that.) But, for the most part, everything they’ve done since Keanu walked out of that phone booth as a latter-day Clark Kent and soared aloft as Superman has done nothing but disappoint. Jupiter descends to that level once again.

Yes, it’s a beautifully designed and visually impressive movie. Yes, it’s original sci-fi on a grand scale and they should be applauded for that. Yes, it’s a bit batshit mental at times – not necessarily a bad thing. But it’s also strangely dull and often underwhelming. The story breaks down to three galactic siblings having a bit of a family feud over some land. Kunis is a toilet cleaner who turns out to be queen of the earth, Tatum is a pixie or half-wolf or something with super flying ant-gravity boots. She spends a lot of time never being surprised by the amazing events that befall her, instead just falling off of great heights. He spends a lot of time swooping in on his flying boots and catching her in mid-air (the Wachowskis’ Superman obsession revisited.)

Eddie Redmayne meanwhile – he’s just daft. A preening performance that ranges from whispering in a strangely camp voice to suddenly screaming in an equally strangely camp voice. He really does embarrass himself here.

It’s fun in short bursts, but what’s really surprising is how laboured and uninvolving  the action sequences are. They’re just frantic shooting and falling – and this from the people who rewrote the action rulebook with bullet time and stuff. And none of this is in anywhere helped by an uncharacteristically loud, empty and tuneless score from the usually reliable Michael Giacchino.

On the plus side – Terry Gilliam shows up during a homage to Brazil sequence, but otherwise – this millennium’s Dune. File under “F” for Failure. 


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