Monday, February 16, 2015

[Review] Jupiter Ascending

The Wachowskis' previous effort, Cloud Atlas had its moments and visual dazzles, but it was ultimately too convoluted for its own good. It's hard not to say the same about Jupiter Ascending.

Jupiter (Mila Kunis) was born as a special starchild. Now a grownup, she's scrubbing toilets in Chicago. It's an intro and scenario that is more than a little reminiscent of both Harry Potter and Cinderella. Eventually, a very goat-like Channing Tatum shows up to save her from some Splice-looking creatures, and he's really difficult to take seriously (especially during a scene when he starts shooting off his laser gun in Tony Montana fashion). What ensues is a romance, a save the universe quest, and a crown the queen story.

At one point, the two end up at a guy named Stinger's (Sean Bean) house to learn more about their mission. The scene is so prolonged that you start wondering exactly how Sean Bean's character might die in this movie. The villain is played by Eddie Redmayne, and after coming off his impressive performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, he's notoriously cheesy here. Oh, and there's a talking dinosaur thing that hangs around with him.

The whole outing is pretty bumpy in establishing its universe, because early on there are a lot of different things going on in different places. The recent Guardians of the Galaxy executed this tactic to way more successful degrees. Jupiter Ascending is a crazy mixture of everything, but instead of being an innovative hybrid, it's one big derivative ball of spacecapades. It also suffers from a major pacing problem, as it lapses into boring territory. The previews make this thing look like it could be a potentially fun ride at best, but it never even reaches those heights.


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