Film - Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending is out on DVD today and Nate McKenzie is let loose on The Wachowski's project...

Pop quiz: Which movie am I describing - Big Eyes or Jupiter Ascending?

Emotion? Check.

Quality acting? Check.

Compelling storytelling? Check.

Large eyes? Check.

Only one of these things applies to both Tim Burton's Big Eyes and The Wachowski's Jupiter Ascending (Spoiler: It's not the three that matter in a quality film.)

Jupiter Ascending stars Mila Kunis' huge eyes and sometimes the rest of her body alongside Channing Tatums abs and guyliner in a "story" (because if there is one present it's as difficult to see as those creepy alien Keepers in the film) about a Cinderella-esque Jupiter Jones, wishing her life could be more than it is until an intergalactic battle for control of Earth ensues and envelopes her.

I could be eloquent in my disdain for this film but since the Wachowski's didn't bother with eloquence (or anything of substance) I feel no obligation to do so either.

Never once did I recognize this film as campy even though all the elements of camp are there: juvenile half-delivered dialogue; a lack of acting that more often than not stumbled and bumped into overacting; a man in his underwear eating chips and playing video games. Yeah, that's really in the movie. A movie about aliens, space travel, and celestial royalty has a guy with a bad accent sitting on a couch spilling crumbs onto his crotch. If this film was meant to be campy, I could appreciate that. I absolutely loved Cabin In The Woods. But that movie had an identity. Jupiter Ascending was as confused about its true identity as a Jupiter herself. Did the directors want this movie to be the next Star Wars? Or Guardians of the Galaxy? Maybe they were trying to beat Brian K. Vaughn to the punch before Saga becomes the next great space opera. Maybe they are just big fans of Spaceballs.

Whatever the intention, it was as clear as whatever the hell those flying crocodiles were saying in the movie.

Even Eddie Redmayne couldn't salvage the deplorable dialogue. I'm not sure if his whispering was an artistic decision made by him or the directors but either way you won't find me whispering quietly about how ridiculous it was. I'm fully on board the yell-train to Hatesville on that one.

Put succinctly, Jupiter Ascending is Megan Fox: wonderful to look at but ultimately vapid and lifeless with very few redeeming qualities beyond the aesthetic. Jupiter Ascending is fantastic to see but not great to watch. Cloud Atlas was a valid exercise into the eternal "What is my purpose?" question (and also visually pleasing) but where the Wachowski's succeeded in that attempt they failed miserably with Jupiter. Maybe it was the source material being so dense and therefore fruitful, as David Mitchell's novel of Cloud Atlas is supremely vast in detail (and supremely difficult to read), which made for a better film; or maybe the Wachowski's just swung for the fences and missed terribly.

I don't know what it will take for the Wachowski team to recapture their The Matrix glory days but I hope their next effort is more substance than packaging. In the meantime, someone get me one of those blue pills from Morpheus so I can forget that I saw Jupiter Ascending.

Image - IMDb.