|Eddie Redmayne - Jupiter Ascending|
What in the hell happened with the Wachowskis? The sibling duo once had the eager attention of all sci-fi geeks and goddesses. Instead of becoming the next big thing in Hollywood since James Cameron (The Terminator, Aliens), they turned out to be as much of a disappointment as M. Night Shayamalan (The Happening, The Last Airbender). Just like Shyamalan, they have written and directed most of their works. Their first film, 1996's Bound, was a clever mafia story that should've even made David Chase (The Sopranos) proud. We all know about The Matrix and its mediocre sequels, and how well V for Vendetta (partially directed by them) was but, their choices got weird/worse from there. After The Matrix Trilogy's financial success, The Wachowski's similarly had in Hollywood what Quentin Tarantino had after Pulp Fiction, which was a golden pass to do anything that they wanted. What did they choose? The lackluster Speed Racer film with so much green-screen that only George Lucas (Star Wars, DUH!) could appreciate it. Then followed the uneven, Cloud Atlas, that had a budget so high, it could've been used to give Larry (now Lana) Wachowski a better looking sex change. I admit that that was mean but, maybe I like most fans, had built up my expectations a little too high after seeing such greatness and potential. The first Matrix film is still one of my all-time favorites and like a junkie, I'm still trying to recapture that original high.
Another odd choice for the Wachowskis is Jupiter Ascending. Another film with great potential, and another wasted effort. This film is also based off of an original idea from them. Problem is, how original can it be when it tries to be John Carter of Mars with elements of The Matrix in it? Mila Kunis (Black Swan) is The One. I mean she's a reincarnated form of royalty that is being hunted by the rulers of the universe. Some bio-engineered slaves try to protect her and show her the truth about her world. Sound familiar? Film comparisons aside, this movie tries to be too epic. Instead of blowing their load the first time, the Wachowskis should have shrunk down the one-hundred and twenty-seven minute run time, and focused more on Jupiter's (Kunis) dealings with bounty hunters on Earth, instead of trying to introduce her to the entire universe in one film. The film screams for multiple entries. It also screams for a better collection of villains. The universal rulers are ***SPOILER ALERT*** pampered white royalty with British accents! Wow, haven't seen that before (eye roll). They consistently appear throughout the film to make sure that no one has forgotten about them. Guess what? They're so stuffed with pompous arrogance that's wrapped in a bow of cliches, we're unable to forget them even if they weren't popping up every five to ten minutes.
What's so sad about Jupiter Ascending, is how the effort that was put into it is apparent but, a weak story negates all of those efforts. The action scenes are well filmed and choreographed, yet most of it doesn't grab your imagination. It also seems that by trying to go all out in this film, the Wachowskis bring some disorienting moments to the already overwhelming amount of action scenes. The set designs and costumes are elaborately lavish and mostly unnecessary. Kunis plays her character in a grounded and sympathetic way. Hotness aside, she does a good job. Channing Tatum (My name's Jeff) doesn't hog the spotlight as Kunis' bodyguard. He actually comes off as a little too quiet like maybe he's already thinking about doing other sequels like Magic Mike XXXL: Lose Some Weight Fatty, or International House of Pancakes Down. The chemistry between the two leads is as convincing as this film is predictable.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Jupiter Ascending
The Good- Anti-gravity boots, Sean Bean's (Game of Thrones) awesome bee house, the bounty hunters, and the Russian family dynamic.
The Bad- Recent Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), plays the main villain who's in search of a throat lozenge. We are led to believe that if he speaks at a inaudibly low decibel level for the majority of the film, then when he yells it's supposed to be more effective. Nope. The big Chicago chase/battle scene, reminded me of another empty movie with a huge budget (Remember Chicago).
The Ugly- How can I take a movie with Sean Bean in it seriously if he doesn't die?! I don't care if there was a subtle joke about him surviving in this film. Sean Bean is the "red shirt", the Kenny McCormick, the Steve Buscemi in a Coen Brothers' film, of big screen consistent expendables. I want justice, and I want it now!
Final Thoughts on Jupiter Ascending
With a budget of over a hundred and seventy-five million dollars, you can see where the money went but, it doesn't matter. The Matrix had one third of this film's budget and look how much better it was. Even though there were some cool scenes, it all ends up being forgettable. And that makes me sad. Sadder than Jupiter having to scrub toilets. No it doesn't. I've already forgotten about this movie. You might have a different opinion about this film so, see it at matinee prices and try to prove me wrong. What was I talking about?
Rating- 5 out of 10
Running Time- 127 minutes
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