Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Movie Review - Jupiter Ascending

My daughter and I decided to see this movie even after reading the terrible reviews. I said it can't be as bad as "Sucker Punch". I'm happy to say it is not as bad as "Sucker Punch". It's not even as bad as the reviews we've read.

If you hadn't seen any of the trailers, and you saw the poster above, you'd think "I know why the movie is called Jupiter Ascending. But you'd be wrong. Mila Kunis plays Jupiter Jones, and even though she cleans toilets for a living, she's actually the Queen of the Universe. The movie is about her ascending to the throne. Sort of.

The plot of the movie is pretty simple in a complicated sort way. The Earth isn't the home of humanity. Humans have been around for at least a billion years and have apparently populated the universe by seeding every plant they could with human genes. Our lovely Ms Jones is the exact genetic match for the last Queen of the Universe (dead for who knows how long). By law, that makes Jupiter the new Queen of the Universe. But the last Queen of the Universe had 3 children who inherited everything she owned (which was apparently everything). But she left a codicil to her will, leaving everything to her genetic match, should such ever be found. The three siblings all have different reasons for finding Jupiter, mainly to get control of everything.

Channing Tatum plays Caine Wise, he's a human with some sort of wolf genes spliced into him. As a result he has Mr. Spock ears and can sniff out genetic material across interstellar space. My daughter simply referred to him as "Dog Boy". He's sent to Earth to find Jupiter. Sean Bean is another "splice", named Stinger Apini (I am not making this up) only he's apparently got bee genes. This gives him the ability to live in a house full of bees. He's on Earth for some reason and Dog Boy needs his help. Dog Boy shows up at the bee house with Jupiter. The two of them immediately get into a knock-down drag-out fight for some reason. During this fight, Stinger's daughter shows up, introduces herself to Jupiter, says she's going to the store to get some food for dinner and we never see her again. Which is a symptom of this movie. It has more non-developed ideas then any movie I can think of.

I said that the movie isn't as bad as the reviews. That doesn't actually make it a good movie. There are parts of the movie that are great. The spaceships are fabulous. The special effects (and at least 50% of the movie is special effects) are good. About 95% of the movie has CG backgrounds which are also great. And it was fun. But don't think about it too much. As my daughter said, "The more you think about this movie, the less you want to think about it".

Here are some problems:

There is a lot of fighting in the movie: Dog Boy against various aliens (some of which can disappear while fighting), Dog Boy against alien fighter craft (did I mention that Dog Boy has way cool rocket boots?), spaceships against other space ships, Dog Boy against the crocodile aliens (who stand on two legs, have long tails and wear trench coats), etc. These fights aren't quite as confusing as the fights in the Transformer movies, but nearly so. As such they get tedious. A lot of things blow up as well.

Mila Kunis spends a lot of time falling. And speaking inane dialog.

Most of the main characters seem to have British accents.

You get the impression that there may be millions of planets full of humans. It's completely unexplained why everyone thought the future Queen was on Earth.

My daughter and I did enjoy it and spent the next hour after the movie trying to figure out what was going on. We like doing that sort of thing.

You may have heard that there is a Terry Gilliam 'tribute' in the middle of the film, complete with Terry Gilliam. This is one of the ideas The Wachowskis could have forgotten about.

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