An original sci-fi movie from the Wachowski siblings. For that alone, it should be praised. Unfortunately, it can’t be praised for much else.
Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is the daughter of a single mother who immigrated to America after her husband was killed in a robbery. What Jupiter does not realize is that she is the reincarnation of intergalactic royalty. This royal family oversees the harvesting and planting of worlds. These worlds are planted with human beings so that they can be harvested to make a substance that allows other human beings to live excessively long lives. Jupiter is the reincarnation of the recently, well relatively recently, murdered matriarch of this Galactic royal family. Because of some hard to understand set of rules involving intergalactic estate planning, Jupiter has inherited part of the galaxy.
This does not sit well with three other members of the Abrasax family (the royal family). These three siblings currently split the galaxy among themselves. Having another hand in the pot would greatly diminish their own individual wealth. As a result, all three siblings have an interest in Jupiter. Each one tries, in their own way, to take advantage of her or to bring her to their side. One brother sends a mercenary after her named Caine Wise (Channing Tatum). Caine’s job is to bring Jupiter back to Titus. Titus’ plan is to marry Jupiter and then kill her so that he can become her next of kin and take her inheritance. Caine is unaware of this plan and believes that he is actually helping Jupiter. The other two siblings have their own plans as well and Caine has to fight to keep Jupiter free from the entire Abrasax family while she tries to understand her role in everything.
After fleeing the first two siblings, Jupiter is captured by the last sibling Balem (Eddie Redmayne). Balem is easily the most maniacal of the siblings and is also the one responsible for killing their mother, the woman who was reincarnated as Jupiter. Balem kidnaps Jupiter’s family and holds them hostage in exchange for her inheritance. After one more rescue attempt from Caine, Jupiter is able to save her family and defeat Balem in order to keep control of the Earth and prevent its populace from being harvested.
If you’re talking about the plot, Jupiter ascending can be described as nothing less than an absolute train wreck. There are so many times during the movie where I found myself wondering what was happening or why it was happening, that I was amazed that anyone could believe that a coherent story was being told. The movie throws us into a world that it barely deigns to explain or expound upon and expects you to just look on in wonder as Channing Tatum air rollerblades through space in order to save Mila Kunis. This movie contains a whole other world with a whole other society that we really never get introduced to. It’s a shame because that world is what’s driving the story that the movie is trying to tell. Instead, were introduced to the Jupiter’s life, which is basically just a Cinderella story. Then, there are other storylines that aren’t really ever tied up or handled in a way that could allow them to make sense. By the end of the movie, all that’s happened is that Jupiter has managed to not get killed. She knows that she owns the Earth, but she doesn’t really seem interested in figuring out what that means or what she should be doing. Instead, all she wants to do is go on a date where she can sky surf with Caine.
The real shame of this movie is that the terrible plot wastes a strong cast and very well executed visuals. I mean, I just saw Eddie Redmayne in an Oscar nominated role (Theory of Everything) and now I’m watching him mumble and scream unintelligibly in this fiasco. Tatum and Kunis are actually good together on screen. Unfortunately, most of the time they’er together they’re drowning in laughable dialogue, trapped in some random conflict, or Tatum is crashing a spaceship into another space ship to save Kunis’ character. Trust me, that last thing happens more than you’re probably thinking it does…or should.
Aside from this the sky rollerblading, there are some visual effects in this movie that look great. A lot of the sweeping shots of space and the new worlds that we see look really, really good. Some of the action scenes also look really good and there’s just some really cool visual moments in this movie. It’s one of the few times that I would say if you’re going to watch a movie that you should watch it in 3-D. Now, that’s because there is no other real reason to watch this movie other than the visual effects. I could expound on this further, but there doesn’t really seem to be a reason to. No matter how many different examples I give, or how many different ways I say it, my thoughts about this movie can all be boiled down into one simple thought. It’s a bad movie with a very jumbled plot but some really good visual effects.