Check out Josh and Violet’s male vs. female perspective reviews of Jupiter Ascending, the latest movie from the Wachowski siblings! WARNING: Josh’s review is a bit spoiler-y, so read with caution!
His Movie Review of Jupiter Ascending:
Jupiter Ascending was a movie I highly anticipated last year, even giving it an 8 out of 10 in terms of “excitement level” in last year’s Summer Movie Guide we posted. There was a lot going for it. The Wachowskis, creators of The Matrix, were the writers and directors of this, which for me was a big plus with a small amount of skepticism. The trailer first seen looked great to me. A universe in which Earth is just a small piece of the grand scheme of things, combined with a fantasy/space combination genre, with special effects as amazing as this looked, all of that really had me hooked.
Then the news came: the movie would be pushed back basically 9 months. That was bad news. I still had my hopes. Unfortunately, those hopes were all dashed once I finally sat down in the theater and began watching the film.
So the trailer really did not do the story just in terms of what it was actually about. The trailer basically identifies Mila Kunis’s character as an amnesiac, exiled ruler named Jupiter of a much grander world than Earth, and Channing Tatum plays the part of the hero, an elf-looking creature named Caine, who is trying to protect Jupiter while at the same time, return her to power. We also see bits of Balem Abrasax played by Eddie Redmayne,the seemingly current ruler of whatever kingdom Jupiter is supposed to be returning to. He seems bent on destroying the Earth. All of that sounds pretty exciting to me. But when you actually see the movie, the story is actually a rather petty one. It turns out this evil Balem character is actually one of three siblings all trying to figure out how to screw each other over so that they can become the wealthiest. Oh, and Jupiter turns out to be all of their moms–sort of. She is the “reincarnation” of their mother, having the exact same genetic make up of the Abrasax mother, and therefore this somehow entitles her to the kingdom her preceding body had ruled.
So how does Caine fit into all of this? He is sent as a bounty hunter essentially, to capture Jupiter, to bring her back to one of the Abrasax, Titus (Douglas Booth) so that he can marry her to inherit the kingdom (of course he plans on killing her right after the marriage). Luckily for Jupiter, Caine gets a heart after all this, and decides to prevent this from happening, and becomes Jupiter’s protector once again. But after some betrayals, and some convoluted story lines, Jupiter faces off with Balem.
Even just trying to describe this movie is difficult due to the convoluted, yet very petty story line. The movie is hard to follow yet, it is so silly it doesn’t even feel worth following. The unfortunate thing about Jupiter Ascending is I think that I think the plot of the movie was intentionally made to appear petty. The movie feels as if it is trying to say that even though the world is much bigger than us Earthlings think it is, people still can be as petty and contrite as ever. Unfortunately, while that theme comes through in the story, it really doesn’t make the movie any better.
As for the good side of the movie, the special effects were great. For a big space movie, the worlds all looked believable. There were so many different aliens, and for the most part they all looked really well done. I also enjoyed the setting of the movie, along with the technology of the other worlds. I think if the story was halfway decent, the movie would have been a whole lot better just because of how amazing and fun this world looked. It was such a colorful, and imaginative setting, and I really liked that piece of the film . I even enjoyed Channing Tatum’s performance in the movie. He seems to be growing as an actor, and I look forward to seeing him as Gambit in the X-Men movie he will be in soon enough.
It is too bad that this film was such a letdown. It had a very good chance of creating a unique and awesome world, that could potentially lead to a fantastic film trilogy. The setting, creative technologies and ideas for the world were amazing, but unfortunately the characters and stories were just boring. I don’t really think most people watching a science fiction/fantasy movie are going to want to watch three siblings quibble over their reincarnated mother’s estate.
So my final score for Jupiter Ascending is a 5 out of 10. Special effects and unique world give it a few extra points, as the story on its own really would not be worth more than a 3.
Her Movie Review of Jupiter Ascending:
Jupiter Ascending is an original screenplay, written and directed by siblings Andy and Lana Wachowski, the same team that behind the Matrix trilogy, and stars Mila Kunis (That 70s Show, Black Swan), Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street, Magic Mike), Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings, Equilibrium), and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything).
In an effort to avoid giving out spoilers, I’ll keep my description of the plot vague. There are some siblings out in space somewhere, squabbling over who has the rights to Earth. Meanwhile, back on Earth, where everyone is still oblivious to any life existing outside of the planet, a young woman named Jupiter, who works as a cleaning lady, learns there’s more to her life than she thought, and gets caught in the middle of the siblings’ fight.
Okay, so maybe I’m glad that I didn’t have to go into details about the plot, because honestly, there are still some things that I’m confused about, and that I don’t feel were properly explained. I thought that the storyline was poorly written, and in many cases did not make sense, or was hard to follow. A lot of things should have been explained that weren’t.
The acting, I didn’t really have a problem with for the most part. Even Channing Tatum, whose acting I have had major problems with in the past, didn’t really bother me. However, I felt that there was no chemistry between Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum’s characters, and that the supposed love story was sprung from out of nowhere. Okay, yeah, you could see from a mile away that the story would foist a romantic relationship between the two, because that’s just how these types of stories go, but there was no build up, and no indication that such a connection naturally would develop. I don’t know if it was the acting or the writing that made it feel so forced, but I certainly didn’t buy into it.
I also felt like the music was not right. In the first major fight scene, I was distracted by the way the music felt like it didn’t fit. Maybe that’s why I felt bored by that fight scene, which seemed like it lasted longer than it should have.
Additionally, the movie felt like it didn’t know what its tone was. At one point, there’s a montage with upbeat music that makes it feel like you’re watching a teen movie, but then it tries to have a more menacing tone, and then again switches to a more silly, quirky tone, and yet again changes to the urgent tone you would expect of a sci-fi thriller. Which is fine sometimes, but here it felt awkward to me.
Now that I’ve gotten the bad stuff out of the way, I’ll cover the good. The visual effects were top notch. A good amount of the movie took place in space, either in spaceships, or actually out in space, or on other worlds. It was beautiful to watch and become immersed in these places, especially with the use of 3D. Actually, we didn’t set out to see it in 3D, but oddly, our local theater was only showing it in 3D, except for one showtime in 2D in the middle of the day. I’m glad we saw it in 3D, because I felt like that added to the visual experience.
Okay, that’s about all I’ve got for good stuff.
The way I see it, there are only two reasons to see this movie: (1) to find out whether or not Sean Bean dies, and (2) to get an idea of how Channing Tatum might do in his upcoming role as Gambit in X-Men: Apocalypse, considering that this movie is also of the sci-fi genre. Regarding the former, I won’t spoil that for you. As to the latter, I’m still undecided. Although my skepticism has not been overcome, neither did Tatum’s performance justify my hesitancy, nor make it worse. So I’m still on the fence about that one, and hoping things will turn out okay.
Back to the matter at hand, I would sum up Jupiter Ascending as follows: great visuals, poor story.
My rating: 5