Written and Directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski “Jupiter Ascending” stars Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, and Sean Bean.
The Wachowskis have been a couple of the most ambitious filmmakers since they began making films. Breaking onto the scene with The Matrix, they set a bar so high for themselves that they’ve been unable to reach since then. With the remainder of the trilogy, Speed Racer, and Cloud Atlas, the Wachowskis never quite reached that level of success again. And while Cloud Atlas wasn’t exactly a bad film, its potential never fully panned. With their latest film Jupiter Ascending, the Wachowskis have created another film that’s visually breathtaking. But that’s really all it is.
The most powerful dynasty in the universe, The Abraxus family led by the matriarch and her three children, Balem (Redmayne), Titus (Booth), and Kalique (Tuppence Middleton), basically rule the universe. These powerful dynasties throughout the universe own all of the planets, including Earth, and use these planets for one thing…to harvest them. Every planet is given the chance to grow and evolve until they reach what can only be described as a “Darwinian state of perfection.” Once this level is reached, the planets are harvested and then turned into a youth serum for these dynasties to go on and live forever. But when the matriarch of the Abraxus family dies under odd circumstances, her children go to war over who the heir of her throne is.
Unfortunately for the three children, there may be someone else in the picture…someone who shares the same genetic makeup as the now deceased queen. Jupiter Jones (Kunis) finds herself living an extremely unhappy life working as a janitor, cleaning other peoples homes. Too lazy to do anything about her mundane and disappointing life, she goes on every day and does her job. But when Balem finds out about Jupiter’s existence he figures that she is a threat to the Abraxus family business and orders her assassination. Before anyone gets the chance to kill her, Caine Wise (Tatum), an ex-soldier spliced with both human and wolf DNA, comes to protect her and get her off of Earth to help her reach her royal destiny.
Clearly, there’s a lot going on in Jupiter Ascending which at times can be extremely overwhelming. The Wachowskis have never been known to take it easy and this time around their ambition is at an all time high. Unfortunately, that ambition is what brings down Jupiter Ascending. The Wachowski’s tried to do so much in creating a new universe with diverse characters and inventive creatures that the actual progression of the story takes a back seat to the visual effects. There’s a good, interesting story buried somewhere within Jupiter Ascending but it’s never given the chance to fully develop.
That being said, Jupiter Ascending isn’t all bad. For all of its shortcomings when it comes to storytelling, it’s a film that’s still full of exciting action sequences with solid performances from Kunis, Tatum, and Sean Bean (who plays a Han Solo type character, just spliced with bee DNA). As Balem, Redmayne went a bit over the top but still it’s clear that he’s turning into the next big thing in the acting community. Jupiter Ascending is the rare movie that’s not a remake, that’s not a sequel, or that has any source material at all. The Wachowski’s built this universe all their own and that’s something to be proud of. But there’s not much substance to the universe they built and that holds the movie down. Jupiter Ascending can be an exhilarating, thrilling film but if you’re going to enjoy it, you’re going to have to accept it with all of it’s faults.
The film is now playing.