Beyond Earth, beyond our Sun, one family has ruled life on every habitable planet in the universe for millennia: The House of Abrasax. Now following the death of its matriarch, her three primary heirs the Abrasax siblings, Balem, Kalique and Titus are fighting, and the state of their dynasty is in turmoil. But another heir has emerged whose claim may be even greater than theirs. A young woman born on Earth, unknowingly carries a genetic legacy that entitles her to power beyond her imagining and the ability to reshape the House of Abrasax and with it, the fate of her planet. With the help of Caine Wise, an ex-military hunter who becomes her only ally, Jupiter Jones is forced to leave her ordinary existence behind and confront her true destiny.
Directed by: Lana Wachowski
, Lilly Wachowski
. Starring: Mila Kunis
, Channing Tatum
, Sean Bean
, Eddie Redmayne
, Douglas Booth
, Tuppence Middleton
, Nikki Amuka-Bird
, Christina Cole
, Nicholas A. Newman
, Ramon Tikaram
, Ariyon Bakare
, Maria Doyle Kennedy
, Frog Stone
. Music by: Michael Giacchino
All the buzz I heard before going to see this movie was pretty bad. From the reactions at the early screenings and the first batch of reviews, people slammed the movie for being incoherent and failing because it was over-ambitious. I decided to see it anyway and I was surprised that in the end I liked it. I would be willing to recommend it, if expectations are lowered.
Minor Spoilers Ahead We are introduced to this story by our protagonist Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis). We see the meeting of her parents Maximilian (James D'Arcy) and Aleksa (Maria Doyle Kennedy). They have little in common but they fall in love. He is an academic and is fascinated by the universe. When Aleksa becomes pregnant, Maximilian wants to name the baby Jupiter as Jupiter is the centre of the galaxy and Jupiter will be the centre of their new world. Aleksa isn't crazy about the name but they are then victims of a home invasion and Maximilian is killed. After his untimely death, Aleksa immigrates to the U.S.A. (it's assumed illegally but it's not verified) and Jupiter is born en route. The baby is named Jupiter in memory of Max.
We then meet modern day Jupiter, she is a cleaning lady and she helps run a cleaning business with her mom and other women in her family. They all live together and while they seem to be doing okay, their living conditions suggest otherwise. Jupiter gets very little for herself and wishes for a different life but seems resigned to her position. Unknown to her, she is a very important person and through the process of genetic reincarnation, she is a member of the powerful Abrasax family who own entire planets. A mercenary named Caine (Channing Tatum) has been dispatched to Earth to find out more about her and to bring her to her family. She could help them sort out who she is and to help decide who should own the Earth (it is in possession of the Abrasax family).
It's hard not to begin a review about this movie without talking about how impressive the visuals are. There was obviously a lot of money put into the CGI for Jupiter Ascending and it pays off. Everything looks gorgeous and the Wachowskis obviously still haven't lost their touch for creating visually stunning, big budget science fiction.
Their knack for interesting ideas hasn't left them either. This movie is almost ambitious to a fault but there is interesting stuff here. I don't want to get into spoiler territory but while some things in the movie might not be completely new, they were cool to see. There are plenty of new worlds and new alien creatures and there's even a Game of Thrones feeling with all of the family conflict. I'm willing to admit I was wrapped up in Jupiter Ascending and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.
Even though I liked Jupiter Ascending, there are parts where it falls flat and doesn't measure up. The acting is very uneven and I was surprised that the cast was so all over the place considering the calibre of actors that the Wachowskis had assembled. The worst offender is Eddie Redmayne who isn't a bad actor but his performance is really overdone and with everyone else playing it fairly low key, he's made to look even worse. Mila Kunis was the other side of the scale, she was very laid back and I think it would have helped if she was more expressive. She's more than capable of carrying this movie, she's a leading lady calibre actress but maybe she was miscast here. I think Channing Tatum is the standout, he's definitely got the skills for this kind of work. He sells it even with how outlandish his character is. Sean Bean is good in his small role. Tuppence and Douglas are fine but their performances are sometimes undercut by some of the goofier dialogue.
The other misfire is that while I think that the Wachowskis did an admirable job of setting up this big universe through the excellent visuals and the interesting ideas, the plot is handled in a messy way. Characters are introduced and then go missing (we get an interesting scene between Kalique and Jupiter and then Kalique disappears from the rest of the movie), important concepts seem confusing (I liked that Jupiter could be a reincarnated version of the Abrasax kids' mom but why does Balem keep calling Jupiter "mother" when it's clearly explained they are not the same person?) and the flow of the story turns on some random stuff (the idea that bees follow her because she is royalty looks cool visually but it doesn't work in the narrative sense). If I had to guess, I think the team behind this movie was more interested in building this universe than making sure the story was 100% cohesive.
While I haven't covered everything, the rest of the film is a mixed bag. The romantic plot is okay but a lot of the background characters are just standard types (most of Jupiter's family are run of the mill jerks). I liked this movie more than I didn't and I would count it as a pleasant surprise. I'm not an apologist for Jupiter Ascending though, it has problems. I think the script for this movie could have used more thorough rewrites and some more attention toward making it flow better as the big budget blockbuster success it should have been. It's too bad as this movie had tons of potential but be wary of people telling you that this movie has nothing to offer, there's plenty here, it's just not the complete package we all wanted.
Review by CANpatbuck3664 from the Internet Movie Database.