Almost a year ago we were promised an exciting tale from the Wachowski brothers, the creators of the Matrix, in the form of Jupiter Ascending. However, for some reason we had multiple postpones that left me angry, frustrated, and expecting a lot from the extra work involved. So in case you haven’t seen the numerous editions of the trailer let me lay down what you might expect from the trailer:
What you expect: Weird world/characters, CGI action, a weird romance/sci-fi story, and lots of Channing Tatum.
What you get:
1.If you think Wachowski you get weird, and Jupiter Ascending brings plenty of their unique perspectives to full force. The galaxy of this movie contains a variety of colorful environments, that will remind you a lot of the Star Wars prequel worlds (Coruscant, Naboo, and Mustafar anyone?). Nevertheless, the brothers have added their twists and tweaks to the artificial settings, and have constructed some interesting puppets to play in their kingdoms. The computer generated creatures are perhaps the best of the bunch, the watchers and flying lizard gargoyles well detailed to bring out their desired qualities. Freaky alien stalkers and imposing winged warriors aside, the rest of the “alien” warriors were interesting. Caine (Tatum) and Stinger (Sean Bean), had the better makeups of the craft, blended to look like a splice between man and beast, and with some cool armor to boot. As for the royalty well they are pretty much fancy humans, dressed in elaborate costumes that are knockoffs from other science fiction stories. Sure the aging looks good, but they lack any big alien qualities that impose terror, awe, or even excitement for that matter. The bounty hunters are a little ridiculous though, some looking like anime characters and others as stereotypical grunts.
- To this reviewer it seems that a lot of the budget went to the action scenes. Jupiter Ascending is packed with enough action for all you adrenaline junkies. Fans will get their fill of blaster fights, with Tatum skating about the field lighting up bad guys left and right. Unlike traditional films the bad guys do have some accuracy, but thanks to a shield that seems impenetrable, the stalwart pretty boy can go toe to toe with them. I’m not kidding, this shield can take blaster fire from troops, assault bikes, and ships twice its size and not once fizzle out, where can I get one of those. Cheesy shield and air skating aside, there are a few space ship fights that I really enjoyed. Althought dizzying, the scenes with Caine piloting some awesome mechanical cruiser are fast and thrilling, with unique ship technology I haven’t seen in quite some time. You’ll see some matrix inspiration, and may find one scene a little stupid when you see the epically lame defense they present. While certainly not the most relevant fights, the Wachowskis have brought some excitement to the silver screen.
- Perhaps the biggest thing you associate with the Wachowski brothers is their complex and often odd stories that they present. This movie is no exception as a rather convoluted turf war spans across the galaxy all in the name of… genetic birth right. You heard me right, this movie is all about complicated genetics and how they are linked/manipulated like currency in a rather odd market setting. Throw in reincarnation and a deception/backstabbing network of lies and you get even more complicated explanations that at first may be difficult to follow. For some reason, the story writing team decided to jump right into the action and leave out some important concepts. Even worse is that a lot of details mentioned are abruptly dropped, mostly due to the hastened plot to again get to the next battle scene. Yes I like action, but I don’t want plot holes to form just to cram more battles in. Perhaps the holes were also there to put in a rather simplistic and rushed love story, that really wasn’t well develop.
- As for point 4, you get to see lots of Channing Tatum. Again the man surprised me with some of his moves, especially with his ability to skate as if floating on air. Tatum’s stage combat training has evolved a little from his previous movies, though they still pail in comparison to many action stars. As for acting, he has the stoic, somber, loose canon figure down and nothing has really changed. His smolder is still there, his pouty lips, and his bulging muscles will take a lot of screen time. When it comes to showing other emotions, he has anger and grunting mastered, but that made me laugh more than anything. Of course as many fans seem to prove, you don’t have to act the best to be considered good. Tatum takes his shirt off for a substantial amount of time, and the ladies were moaning in delight. Maybe this is a preview of what the next Magic Mike has in store, but the timing of the shirtless scene was humorous since it was in the heat of battle. I guess his pecks were there to distract. Regardless Kunis’ role is simplified for this movie, and while she doesn’t get shirtless, she wears some tight garments to give the guys a little treat. Her acting isn’t bad, but not my favorite character I have seen her play.
Jupiter Ascending is not the greatest sci-fi movie I have seen, but it offers that weird factor I so very much like. The exciting action and colorful worlds are my highlights, though I wish there had been a stronger story to support it. I can say though that I was disappointed with the work after having multiple delays to its release. If it was for 3-D, then shame on the studio. My overall scores for this film are: