<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski. Starring Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, James D’Arcy, Nikki Amuka-Bird
From the trailer I assumed Jupiter Ascending would be a right awful mess of a film. Turns out, it’s actually not that bad.
Channing Tatum is getting way too many leading man roles nowadays but isn’t quite living up to the title. There’s no wow in his performance. Thankfully in Jupiter Ascending he’s got a host of other very capable actors to help him keep the film afloat. There’s the ever-watchable Mila Kunis, the talented Eddie Remayne, the action man Sean Bean, and loads of great CGI coupled with some well shot scenes and interesting sci-fi for us to sink our teeth into.
Andy Wachowski and Lana (formerly Larry) Wachowski were the siblings who gave us The Matrix. And though Jupiter Ascending is not in that league it’s still a decent and realistic stab at what once used to be a fun and intriguing genre.
We’re on Earth following the life of Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) who cleans toilets with her Russian family but aspires to better things. Little does she know that she’s actually the descendent of an Intergalactic Queen and her family are out to either kill her or win her over so they can stake claim to the Earth and its ‘resources’.
But Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a half man-half wolf hunter is sent to rescue her from the evil henchmen of Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne) who wants her dead but not before she signs over her title to him.
An intricate game of chase is played out before us as Balem’s siblings Titus (Douglas Booth) and Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) try to win Jupiter over. And then you have the Aegis, who are the Intergalactic police lead by Captain Tsing (Nikki Amuka-Bird) there to protect her. This is a classic good guys vs bad guys in space stuff. Reminded me of my childhood.
Jupiter Ascending has gotten the blend of CGI to reality perfectly. The effects are super realistic and fit well with the storyline. There are some thrilling chase scenes with Caine and Jupiter flying through the Chicago skyline. And the costumes, make-up as well as characters are all retro and fun. It’s as if this movie could easily translate into a TV show, probably one that’d be cancelled after its first season and then go into syndication. Some of the scenes reminded me of JJ Abrams’ Star Trek films and some of the Star Wars movies. The music by Michael Giacchino is equally epic.
It would have been nice to see Mila Kunis ascend a graph of her character since Tatum clearly flatlines in the film. It’s only the Abrasax family characters and the supporting cast that bring magic to the film apart from the brilliant effects and visual spectacle that is Jupiter Ascending.