‘Jupiter Ascending’ is hard to ignore

By Jacob Pierce | @JacobPierce1_DE | Daily Egyptian

Film directors Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski have an uneven vibe to their careers. Starting off with the game changing “The Matrix,” the brother and sister seemed to have cemented a place in the science-fiction genre. Their clout quickly diminished with the release of the next films in “The Matrix” series.

Since then, the Wachowskis have directed creative, but disappointing films like “Speed Racer” and “Cloud Atlas.” “Jupiter Ascending” (Rated PG: 13; 127 min)–a science-fiction starring Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne and Sean Bean–is just as creative and messy as their previous films.

Unknown to people of Earth, a race of humanoid beings are harvesting planets for immortality. The rulers of planets in the Milky Way Galaxy are called the House of Abrasax and are fighting over the ownership of Earth. Soon they realize Earth does not belong to any of them.

Advertisement

Jupiter Jones, played by Kunis, is the true heir to the Earth, unbeknown to her. The House of Abrasax will stop at nothing to get rid of her so they can claim ownership. Standing in their way is a genetically engineered former soldier named Caine Wise, played by Tatum. He will make sure the Earth’s true queen lands on her throne.

“Jupiter Ascending” is a film marred with problems. It was originally slated for a June 2014 release, but got pushed back nine months for extra time in the post-production process. While a film being held is not always a sign of doom, it is also not an indication of success.

The movie deserves some praise. In an age of sequels, reboots and adaptations, anything original earns some points. The Wachowskis have always been great at creating new productions and techniques. “Jupiter Ascending” imagines a world on its own with a lot of amazing possibilities.

While not creating an entirely new universe like a “Star Wars,” the film takes our already adventurous universe and makes it new and interesting, much like “The Matrix.” It functions in a way that compels you to wonder what else the cosmos have to offer.

From giant Gundam-like robot suits to unique alien races, everything is visually pleasing combining influences of everything from asian anime to “Star Wars.”

Tatum’s career is having a wonderful couple of years. The actor gained big star power since his role in “Magic Mike,” but now he seems to be showing off his acting potential. Performances in “Foxcatcher” and “22 Jump Street” have proven Tatum is a terrific actor when given the chance.

The loner, space bounty hunter role is hard to make dynamic. Matt LeBlanc in “Lost in Space” is a key example of the archetype being tarnished. Tatum brings pain to Caine Wise. He brings an inability to emote and deep-seated anger. The character has an extensive backstory, but Tatum brings more interesting concepts to the film than the writers do.

“Black Swan” proved Kunis can be great if given the right role. She is also someone who can be very bad with unfit writing and directing. Her role in “Jupiter Ascending” is just another example of her being miscast.

The character of Jupiter Jones should be the audience’s connection to the crazy world she is thrown into. Instead, Jones comes off as annoying and sometimes whiny. She is given no help with dialogue. Her lines are constantly awkward. The role was doomed from the start. Even an actress like Natalie Portman, who dropped out of the film, could not have saved it.

The film is beyond visually stunning, exemplifying the Wachowskis’ artistic vision in their creations. Where they tend to fail is in storyline and direction. Yet “Jupiter Ascending” is definitely not the worst movie out.

Stars: 3 out of 5

Advertisement