The Movie: 5/10
Flash over substance will be the theme to this review. I don’t want to be too repetitive, but it might happen so be prepared.
The first time I saw the trailer for Jupiter Ascending I was pretty excited. Science Fiction is one of my favorite genres. Give me a intergalactic battle, aliens from all corners of the universe, then apply human logic, emotion, technology, and idiocy to it all, well, you had me at intergalactic. The shine of the trailer, the vision of the places and the concept of our universe being a vast corporate wasteland of sorts interested me. Anytime you put Earth and we Earthlings in a position of NOT being the only life in the whole joint, and becoming more of a parasite or tiny insect crawling on the floor of the whole universe, I’m really interested.
And then I watched the movie.
It does look amazing, most of the time. The amount of aliens and costumes are almost overwhelming and I like that. The cross breeding of humans with animals is gruesome and weird, but it’s tucked away as a side note most of the time or we see someone for just one line in one scene and they never come back, so we never get to experience the horror of it. They do look excellent, the elephant guy, the owl dude, the dinosaur thugs, all try to make this version of our universe into a feast of the imagination, instead they clutter it up.
The places are grand and elaborated on with great detail, but not that interesting actually. The idea of this whole movie is this; a family of 3 wealthy adult brats inherit a huge mining operation that spans the universe, and the wealth that comes with it. They are decadent and remind us of very indulgent royalty we learn about in our own past, what a shock. I get it, I really do. I understand that taking the lush lives of people we think of as elite and spoiled, turning them into reviled creatures that suck resources and exploit the population for their own comfort and gain, can be compelling. The problem is this, when we want to examine the concept of an imbalance of power unimaginable wealth brings in any scenario, there has to be a reason to care about the people who are not the wealthy ones. Don’t get me wrong, the rich snotbags are completely unlikable, but the people we are meant to care about, the Earthlings and other humanoids are exceedingly unappealing.
As these rich folks go around exterminating the inhabitants of planets they “own” as if they were cattle or insects or apples on a tree ripe for the harvesting, we are meant to feel a sense of “NO YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” but instead we don’t get enough information, visually or through the story to care much about it. The countless masses are reduced to nothing, literally. We see no people suffering at all anywhere, just tiny references. That’s not enough. We meet our leading lady who has the identical genetic makeup of these heirs’ mother. Apparently, in the vastness of existence, math tells us there is a probability of this “reincarnation” of sorts. I can buy that as a fictional concept, except that they explain it in such a way that it sucks all the life and awe out of it. The heirs want our little toilet scrubber turned queen to be destroyed so they don’t lose their cash cow life. However, you see, their mother was a clever cookie and left a clause in her will that leaves all her riches to anyone who does show up with her exact genetic composition….good planning Mom.
The biggest problem with the whole movie boils down to one thing: I am not at all concerned about this young lady’s plight. This includes her family, the guy she meets who’s part wolf, the guy he knows who used to be interesting in movies like Lord of the Rings, a Bond Flick, and even in Game of Thrones, but this time around he’s boring. If he got dropped off one of those space ships I’d be fine with that. No one really makes me care at all about the fate of them, our planet, even the fate of all other planets these royal idiots might destroy for their own gain. I couldn’t care less, which kind of impairs my ability to be interested in any tension or drama or action that comes as a direct result of rescuing and saving everyone who needs to be saved and rescuing.
All of this is kind of harsh, I know, but looking back at this movie a week later I really have no affection for it at all. I like the look of many of the places, but nothing resonates. I remember being visually stimulated by the ideas behind this CGI spectacle, but not in that jaw dropping way I have had with other representations of our world and universe. For example, the giant skull place we are taken in Guardians of the Galaxy, or the underground city in Hellboy, shoot even Mars in the original Total Recall, not to mention most places in all Star Trek series, are far superior and far more interesting nooks in the universe I would like to think do exist. None of the places in Jupiter Ascending are even coming to my mind at the moment. Oh wait, I do remember one, the really boring humongous chamber or hall on a space ship that is supposed to make us think of something like the time around the French Revolution where everyone has white hair, big extravagant clothes, and classical architecture everywhere, or the Hunger Games Capitol if you are more current:) OK, it does make me think of that stuff, but I’d rather go spend an hour on the internet or even at THE LIBRARY (yikes) looking at paintings and reading descriptions of that time period than watch this movie again.
Overall this whole lack of interest in the actual story of our leading characters puts a total damper on it for me. I was not rooting for anyone, not caring about the danger anyone was in, and I even hoped at a few points that it would have a grim ending to at least be more stimulating to talk about. These reactions can’t be shined away by the glitz and imagination of the world they live in. I totally appreciate the artistry and the effort everyone made, truly I do. It just isn’t enough to make a good movie watching experience. I think I’ll go watch some Star Trek Voyager. It’s got more interesting characters, more heart, more adventure, and I can get lost in that version of our galaxy with a smile on my face.
Oh and those terrible, horrible, lame-ass gravity boots…..ugh.
- Jupiter Jones: Destiny Is Within Us (7 Minutes) – Mila Kunis And Lana and Andy discuss the character building of Jupiter Jones.
- Jupiter Ascending: Genetically Spliced (10 Minutes) – The movie features some amazing alien design which the Wachowski’s run us through in detail.
- Caine Wise: Interplanetary Warrior (5 Minutes) – Similar to the feature on Jupiter Jones this covers the Channing Tatum character of Caine. I liked the section that showed how his gravity boots work.
- The Wachowskis: Minds Over Matter (7 Minutes) – One thing is obvious from this featurette Lana and Andy are visionaries in their field. Lots of behind the scenes looks at them at work which really is inspiring.
- Worlds Within Worlds Within Worlds (10 Minutes) – This featurette explores the design of the different set pieces in the movie. If the Wachowski’s do one thing well it’s setting the scene for a story.
- Bullet Time Evolved (10 Minutes) – I think the title of this featurette is a bit misleading. The Bullet Time tech developed for the Matrix is groundbreaking and revolutionary but what they show here is a pale imitation.
- From Earth To Jupiter And Everywhere in-between (10 Minutes) – This movie like the Start Wars prequels has a lot of space politics involved. Here we get to see how all that works behind the scenes.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art: 2/10
The cover is so unappealing. I wouldn’t have it as a poster. Even if I don’t like this movie, I can think of many many many other cool images they could have used.
Audio & Video: 9/10
Visually Jupiter Rising is a beautiful sight to behold and Warner’s 1080P/AVC encode gets everything right and then some. The film shot digitally and color graded in a stylistic palette looks gorgeous from start to finish. Black levels are inky in the dark of space and color saturation is amazingly lifelike. I didn’t spot any macroblocking, banding or noise in the image.
Warner use the new Dolby Atmos 7.1 codec here and if you have the setup is beyond impressive. LFE output is strong and chest rumbling with rear speakers engaging at every opportunity. The films score which is strange and sometimes surprising mixes well with the action. If I had a complaint though there are a few actors (Channing Tatum and Jamie Redmayne) who mumble a lot of their lines but that is no fault of the soundtrack.
Overall Score /10