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Jupiter Ascending


‘…of certain interest to connoisseurs of how large amounts of money can be turned into producing liquid steam-punk gibberish…’

In a bit of housekeeping, I’ve swiftly downgraded my Matrix Resurrections review to a three; I think I was so overwhelmed at getting through Warner Brothers’ formidable online security to secure my viewing, my mind was softened for the deluge of inanity that followed. The first hour of resetting is great, but then everything goes off a cliff into the usual uncanny value of CGI sludge. But at least you can always rely on the Wachowski brand to come up with something increasingly big and colourful, although like any other responsible human, I’ll never be able to love shonky products like Speed Racer. It’s just a shame that the patented Wachowski dialogue and characterization can sometimes seem so wayward in propelling their elaborate sci-fi plots (such as Cloud Atlas) forwards.

In what amounts to an overblown Terminator knock-off, Jupiter Ascending features Mila Kunis as a Chicago toilet cleaner named Jupiter Jones who gets ensnared by roller-skating mercenary angel in hover-boots called Caine Wise (an ideally cast Channing Tatum who loves to revel in such idiocy) and transported across the usual CGI universe to play her role in an on-going space-war. Sean Bean turns up to discuss bee-keeping and the general ‘anything goes’ pantomime atmosphere runs against the lashings of CGI required to make this ridiculous story work.

By the time Eddie Redmayne’s intergalactic ruler Baleem Abrasax memorably announces ‘my mother never cleaned a toilet in her life,’ it’s clear that Jupiter Ascending is better filed under camp than classic, but maybe such a basket of random elements is better seen in that way. ‘The House of Abrasax continues to thrive, despite the squandering of your inheritance, brother,’ is an accurate sampling of the florid dialogue featured, and up and comers like Douglas Boot and Tuppence Middleton are buried somewhere in here alongside lots of special effects gloop.

Jupiter Ascending is a silly, fun adventure that tends too far towards the daft, probably not what the studio were hoping for, but of certain interest to connoisseurs of how large amounts of money can be turned into producing liquid steam-punk gibberish; for bad movie fans, there’s plenty of misfiring bang for your buck here. I remember reading the original script for The Matrix while the film was still in production and thinking it was a certain disaster, which it absolutely wasn’t; figuring out which of the Wachowski’s big ideas will fly or not seems to be a mug’s game, but at least it’s fun trying.


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    • I am definitely not saying Jupiter Ascending is a great film, I’m just saying it isn’t a terrible one.

      Is the correct answer. Looks great, is often fun to watch, and not boring; happy to certify this one fresh as a guilty pleasure. Prefer this to Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2.

  1. Pretty much a mess, from memory. Not even Channing Tatum can save this and proof that Hollywood is inclined to throw awful amounts of money at any director that turns a hit. Mightily disappointed at the time so wasn’t in enough of a reflective mood to stick it in the high camp sci fi category.

  2. Jupiter Ascending is definitely one of my all time least favorite movies. The story is just so dumb and the performances are terrible (I do have fun laughing at Eddie Redmayne though). I know I expect too much from the Wachowskis and never know what to expect from them. Bound is pretty underrated, The Matrix is a masterpiece, The Matrix Reloaded is passable, The Matrix Revolutions is frustrating, Speed Racer is a guilty pleasure, Cloud Atlas is an acquired taste, and The Matrix Resurrections is a slap in the face.

    • That’s a great run-down of the movies so far, and I’m probably in lockstep with most of that. Liked Bound a lot at the time, love Matrix, still like bits of the second one, wasn’t keen on the third at all and the second half of the fourth is even worse. I’m not sure if I’m laughing with or about Jupiter Ascending, but I’d put Speed Racer at the bottom of my pile. I just can’t…

  3. Eddie Redmayne’s ridiculously hammy performance prevents me from risking a rewatch. Shame because it all looks very nice. Not a lot of substance though.

    • He’s mad as a brush in this. Lovely visuals, terrible story, par for the course since The Matrix…

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