… Go see this movie. I’m not joking! Go see this movie! You have to see this shit! This is 127 minutes of pure beautiful insanity on screen and I enjoyed every glorious second. Oh the movie is not good. It definitely is not good on a technical level. But my God, the fact that it is so bad makes it even more glorious. This is the A Winter’s Tale of 2015, After Earth of 2015, this movie is pure insanity!
Maybe I am being a little too harsh though by comparing it to A Winter’s Tale or After Earth. After all, those movies were inept but so damn inept that you had no choice but to laugh at it. This movie does have some rather artistic merit to it. Not only does it look pretty, there is amazement in every scene. I’m not even going to hide the fact that I had a blast watching this movie for all the right and the wrong reasons. This movie is the culmination of watching a good bad movie that still has enough tact behind it to not make you feel dirty after sitting through it. It is the kind of good bad movie that everyone can enjoy.
Jupiter Ascending is the combination of Star Wars and going to the DMV. I’m not joking. I am going to attempt to explain this plot to the best of my abilities and believe me when I say that no plot given here can adequately do this movie the justice it deserves. Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is a young Russian immigrant who speaks fluent English. She spends her days as a housekeeper in Chicago with the rest of her stereotypical Russian family. She is also the genetically recreated reincarnation of a great human queen that owns Earth and several other planets for the means of harvesting the people to create them into what is essentially a stem cell bath… Should I have mentioned that? Yeah I should mention that.
Jupiter’s children in her past life Balem Abrasx (Eddie Redmayne), Kalique Abrasx (Tuppence Middleton), and Titus Abrasx (Douglas Booth) all want the title to Earth that has now legally fallen back into the hands of their reincarnated mother due to space law or something. So essentially each one of them formulates a plan. Titus plans to marry Jupiter and then kill her thus claiming the title for himself, Kalique plans to… Befriend her? I’m not sure, and Balem just straight up wants to murder her.
Titus hires a splicer (a human spliced with animal DNA) named Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) who is a half human half dog to find Jupiter and bring her to him. The film then follows these two as Jupiter is kidnapped on a regular basis by her former children while Caine and Caine’s splicer friend Stinger (Sean Bean) constantly save her. Throw in a 20 minute scene where Jupiter, accompanied by a guy who is the poor man’s Kenneth Parcell from the office, claims her title as owner of Earth from the Space Titles and Claims office and you have what can best be described as this movie.
The Visuals are Stunning
The Wachowskis know how to make love to our eyeballs. That is the best way to put that. No matter what film they are making, no matter how inept it is on a writing level, the visuals will always look absolutely breathtaking. This film is beautiful, the artwork, and the color is astonishing. There is a lot of quick cut kinetic action in this film which is usually a problem in movies like Transformers where it looks like a mess of gears is entangled in what can loosely be called a robot. But in Jupiter Ascending it doesn’t look confusing or straining to the eyeball to differentiate what is going on. It makes sense and it looks wonderful. Even as a partially colorblind person, the use of reds and yellows in this film was able to catch my eye and leave me entranced from start to finish.
I honestly don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It brings the movie to a screeching halt, but for whatever reason I just can’t help but find it amazing. After rescuing Jupiter and being taken by the Aegis to get her papers, Jupiter, Caine, and some robot named Bob (Samuel Barnett) go through a twenty-minute scene of bureaucrats sending the trio from window to window telling them to collect form X to go to title B and then to file C. After a well placed bribe, they find themselves face to face with a guy straight out of a Steam Punk convention complete with a type writer and crazy lenses gives Jupiter her title.
I don’t know what to think of this scene. It is out of nowhere, brings the movie to a screeching halt, and yet is so funny. It is enjoyable watching this as they take twenty minutes out of the plot to go absolutely crazy. It ruins the pacing yet I can’t fault it for making me laugh for a good twenty minutes as I sit there and say… Huh… This is a thing that is happening.
The Acting is Bad and It is Poorly Written
The title says it all and it says it clearly. The acting is bad and the writing is bad. On a technical level this movie is not good. But my lord did it come together in a way that just made everything wonderful. Let me use some examples in this movie with Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, and Eddie Redmayne.
Channing Tatum is a guy that has redeemed himself slightly in my eyes. He is still a poor actor and it shows in this movie, but he does have a good humor to him, and he seems like a nice enough person. The guy just isn’t a good action star. He has the muscles but nothing else going for him. He doesn’t have the charisma of an action star and his lines are delivered so dead pan serious that instead of adding a stoic loner archetype to the character, it comes across as Tatum reading an instruction manual. But somehow it just kind of works. The fact that they put make up on him that make him look like a pale skinned elf and pass him off as a dog is just a baffling and glorious decision. He has gravity boots that help him skate his way through the eons and later on he gets fucking wings. His entire character is that he is a half dog, half man spliced creature who is looking to get his literal wings back and be reinstated in the space police. All of this is made even more amazing by Tatum’s bad acting. He can’t deliver his lines and the situation around him just makes the character somehow enjoyable? It is like if two wrongs really did make a right.
Mila Kunis does a better job than most in this movie. She carries a lot of the film on her shoulders, but that might be the fact that she is simply there as a tool to progress this plot. Her character just reacts to moments with a sort of nonchalant ‘eh aliens’ mentality to it. One of the best parts in the movie is whenever she begins to control bees and doesn’t even question the fact that a legion of bees are beckoning to her will until two scenes later where she just kind of asks ‘so what about the bees?’ Oh and the answer… Bees are genetically bread to know royalty and this is never explored to anymore detail again. Kunis plays the character like she is completely fine with everything that is going on after first encountering the Tatum character. She does her best and it doesn’t help that the script has written the character poorly. But it just kind of works in a way that I can’t understand. Like her questions and reactions are literally the questions the audience is having at that moment in the exact same tone. She is like the liaison of the audience and it is brilliant!
But then we come to the true star of the show. The man who chewed up every scene he was in this grandiose piece… None other than Les Miserables own Eddie Redmayne. Eddie plays the main villain in this film Balem Abrasx along with the side villains of his brother and sister Titus and Khalique. The best part of these three villains is that they are all trying to out Michael Sheen each other. They are so over the top and so flamboyant with their performance that you can’t help but love them. Eddie Redmayne wins however as he is easily able to out Michael Sheen everyone with a nice combination of Loki from The Avengers and Tim Curry. Every scene he has a forced whisper in his voice that for no reasons turns into a shout mid syllable and goes straight back to quiet murmurs. It is so campy and so glorious that I just can’t help but love it.
I know this movie is technically bad, but dammit I just can’t help but love every single second of it. It is the type of good bad movie like Battlefield Earth but with none of that guilt of watching it afterwards. It is the perfect combination of unintentional comedy and insanity mixed in with enough talent to make the film go from bad to holy shit this is wonderful good. So to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, go see it, bring some friends, and enjoy watching a whole lot of WTF on the big screen.
Final Score 3.5/5
300 articles! I feel very blessed by the fact that Jupiter Ascending is my 300th article for Tanner Reviews. Thanks to everyone who reads my articles and I promise there are many more to come. If you enjoyed this review then please like and subscribe for more. Coming up Sunday we find ourselves with Fifty Shades of Grey and Tuesday Kingsmen: The Secret Service.