‘Jupiter’ fails to ascend on any level
By Bob Bloom
“Jupiter Ascending” is embarrassingly bad. It’s a mediocre work from the brother-sister tandem of Andy and Lana Wachowski.
The film is unfocused; it bounces around like a runaway comet.
The storyline, which has possibilities, contains performances that vary from flat and uninspired to hammy enough to necessitate extra mustard.
This unimpressive opus is a messy combination of space opera and allegorical fable about capitalism and consumerism.
As in “The Matrix” trilogy, all is not what it seems on planet Earth.
Our planet, we are told, was seeded thousands of years ago by a race of advanced humans who own the sphere and harvest some of its inhabitants for their DNA in order to perpetuate their lives.
And it appears that poor Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), who cleans toilets and houses for a living with her mother, is the center of attention by a powerful family that owns Earth and whose members are fighting among themselves over it.
Jupiter’s DNA is a perfect match for the matriarch who once owned Earth and under the terms of her will, Jupiter becomes the planet’s owner — if she lives.
And there lies the crux of this excruciating 125-minute feature.
A family member hires Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered former military hunter, to find Jupiter and serve as her protector.
The entire affair is rather silly and confusing. The movie is sort of a cosmic “Wall Street” that plays like something Donald Trump would have written after smoking a few joints.
Tatum, wearing a set of what looks like jet-propelled Air Jordans and a set of ears borrowed from Orlando Bloom’s Legolas, constantly maintains an expression of determination.
Once in a while he growls, pricks up his ears or sniffs the air because, we are informed, he has some wolf DNA spliced into his genetic makeup.
Yes, it is that kind of movie.
Kunis looks befuddled most of the time, but I am not sure if it is because she doesn’t understand the circumstances in which Jupiter has become embroiled or if she is wondering to herself how she got hoodwinked into starring in the movie in the first place.
Best actor Academy Award nominee Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) is the real loser here. Hopefully, balloting for the Oscars is completed because his performance in “Jupiter” could give some voters second thoughts about his qualifications.
Redmayne either whispers or shouts his lines as he tries to be menacing or angry. He merely sounds silly.
This is one of those films in which the action sequences are marred by the now-prevalent quick cutting technique that gives audiences headaches because they have to strain to decipher what is happening as massive blows are exchanged or weapons are unleashed.
“Jupiter Ascending” was pulled from release last summer, supposedly because more time was needed on the effects.
Unfortunately, more time and effort should have been put into the script.
This self-indulgent, stupid and most unsatisfying feature will quickly descend into the realm of historic cinematic turkeys.
Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at Reel Bob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.
1 star out of 4
(PG-13), action and science fiction violence, partial nudity, adult themes
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