McCoy on Movies: Jupiter Ascending

McCoy on Movies: Jupiter Ascending

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The creators of The Matrix trilogy are back in theaters with their latest sci-fi adventure, the Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum-led Jupiter Ascending. But is this cosmic action adventure out of this world good? Click here to find out!

McCoy on Movies: Jupiter Ascending
The creators of The Matrix trilogy are back in theaters with their latest sci-fi adventure, the Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum-led Jupiter Ascending. But is this cosmic action adventure out of this world good? Click here to find out!

“What fire – I’m trying to figure out how to reach that shelf up there without asking someone taller than me!” Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) faces danger in a scene from Andy and Lana Wachowski’s sci-fi epic JUPITER ASCENDING. Credit: © 2014 Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures



KEY CAST MEMBERS: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Douglas Booth, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nikki Amuka-Bird

WRITER(S): Andy and Lana Wachowski

DIRECTOR(S): Andy and Lana Wachowski


60 SECOND PLOT SYNOPSIS (OR AS CLOSE TO IT AS ONE CAN TRY TO MAKE): A film that’s nearly impossible to accurately sum up in short session, Jupiter Ascending stars Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones. The daughter of a … Let’s say somewhere in Russia … immigrant whose husband was murdered while she was pregnant with her, Jupiter has long been told she is destined for greatness. That should in turn help explain why she hates her job cleaning toilets with her mother (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and aunt (Frog Stone).

Then a group of aliens tries to abduct one of her clients thinking it’s her … Only for her to later be saved by Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a wolf/human DNA hybrid former military hunter from a universe way. And that’s when she learns the details of her true existence as a descendant of royalty from a family known as the Abrasax, which is now in-fighting over who gets control of Earth. And both Titus Abrasax (Douglas Booth) and Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne) have some very specific ideas about their inheritance …

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST?: People enjoy watching Channing Tatum shirtless; Matrix sequels apologists; people happy to see a mash-up of many of their favorite sci-fi movies without blatantly ripping off one of them too much

WHO WON’T – OR SHOULDN’T – LIKE THIS FILM?: People seeking a less convoluted plot, stronger characters and/or more originality; those who don’t like movies that rely on action sequences to overcome their shortcomings

FINAL VERDICT – IS IT GOOD, GREAT, BAD OR DOWNRIGHT AWFUL? Jupiter Ascending aspires to rise to astronomical heights … But watching the movie, it’s pretty safe to say it barely gets off the ground.There’s a LOT to dissect when breaking down the various problems that keep Jupiter Ascending from doing just that, so there’s no one area one can pinpoint to simply say “THAT’s what’s wrong!” You could start with the fact that Kunis’ character is not well-developed from a plot pacing/development standpoint as it’s always a lot more interesting to see why her character is supposed to be special than simply have other characters always tell you she is. Then again, while trying her best to commit to the role, Kunis too often comes off as just along for the ride in a movie that is largely about her character.

The same could be said for Tatum’s character, for all he essentially gets to do is look steely eyed with his shirt off – and we already have Magic Mike and the upcoming Magic Mike XXL for that. At least one could say he looks engaged in those two films, however, as save for his fighting sequences, he often looks confused as to how he’s supposed to convey his character’s feelings other than “I must save her” actions.

Then again, the actual story being told in Jupiter Ascending feels like it doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it a romance? A story of destiny? Downton Abbey/Cinderella in space? A homage to Star Wars with its lizard and elephant like creatures and flying ships? A tribute to Star Trek with its creatures with wacky skin tone, distinct ears, ship captains and interspecies love affairs? What the hell is it?! Whatever it is, it all comes across highly disjointed, predictable (even when the film reaches full sci-fi hodge podge status) and trying to do too many things without doing any of them individually well. And the less said about the film’s attempts at being funny, the better.

To summarize, somewhere in Jupiter Ascending is a decent story trying to get out … But it is not apparent in the finalized product. Underdeveloped characters, a convoluted plot and a general lack of anything distinctly original make for a humdrum (yet ultimately watchable) movie. It’s just not one that’s going to stick with you – in a good way, at least – long after you’ve seen it.

With Jupiter Ascending, the Wachowskis are proving themselves to be more and more akin to the M. Night Shymalans of the science fiction genre … And that, much like the supposed creatures in The Village, is something one should not wish to speak of.