Jupiter Ascending – Review (Spoiler Free)

This is an unforgivably stupid film which fails to produce a single original idea…


We deserve better from the Wachowski siblings than this uninspired and staggeringly lifeless film. Now it’s been a long time since the glory days of The Matrix but it was still hard to contemplate whilst watching Jupiter Ascending that this came from the same minds which gave us that classic and highly original sci-fi movie, especially so as this draws (i.e. steals) from numerous popular science fiction films including The Matrix itself. I strongly advise you to avoid checking this film out in theaters, it’s as much of a dud as we all feared it would be with its insultingly bad plotting, joyless action scenes and characters that are so thinly drawn they threaten to disappear off the screen entirely.

When you sit down to watch Jupiter Ascending a number of its flaws don’t become immediately apparent; it doesn’t start strong but you raise your hopes that it may in fact surprise you over the course of its running time. However what does strike you early on is just how terrible the acting is here. Across the board people turn in bad performances with Mila Kunis and Eddie Redmayne being the worst offenders. It seems strange to write that Redmayne is awful here so soon after I heaped praise upon his turn as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, but unfortunately there is nothing praiseworthy about him here as he plays a super-villain with so little tact and subtlety that its laughable. Kunis is fine when delivering offhand, comedic lines but when a scene requires even an ounce of dramatic weight she comes across as if she was in a school play rather than a giant blockbuster. Channing Tatum doesn’t fare too badly, he’s not great, but he can muster through most of his dialogue without slipping up too badly. He can’t convince us to care about his character at all though.

Actually it’s not entirely fair for me to have written off the entire casts efforts as Sean Bean does work hard at his role but he is hampered by a script that is so juvenile and underdeveloped that it feels like it was written by two overexcited five-year-olds. Bean is given very little to do but admirably makes the best of a bad job. Talking of the film’s more positive aspects there’s the special effects to consider here. They do often look pretty and clearly a lot of money was blown on this movie and its effects but too often the visuals feel like they are purely green-screen; lacking tactility and rendering many of the dramatic scenes a little inert and artificial-feeling. They may have been impressive during the action scenes but I didn’t really notice as these are unfortunately so devoid of emotion and excitement that we simply don’t care enough in order to engage with them.

All in all I wasn’t a fan of this film… in case you hadn’t guessed. I had, somewhat naively, hoped that this would be a dumb action flick that was at least a little entertaining, but alas I was wrong. At the free screening I attended there were numerous walkouts and the film was often loudly mocked and laughed at.  Normally this disruption would annoy me but if anything it made the experience more enjoyable. It was good to know that I wasn’t alone in feeling vaguely affronted at just how offensively awful Jupiter Ascending was. I don’t recommend this film to anybody unless they are an absolute die-hard fan of Tatum or Redmayne… and even then can’t you wait until you can rent it on DVD?

Summary:

What is the film’s greatest strength? I guess it’s the film’s visuals… but it’s a stretch to describe that as a positive.

Its greatest weakness? It’s complete failure to be engaging or even vaguely intelligent.

Would I see it again? No, I think I need to re-watch The Matrix in order to remind myself that the Wachowski’s did once have some talent.

Thanks for reading, please do let loose in the comment box below!

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33 comments

  1. After the dismal Speed Racer, I realised the Wachowski’s were not infallible but they redeemed themselves with Cloud Atlas. It’s disappointing to hear this doesn’t work but I appreciate your honesty. Great write-up!

    1. Thanks Mark, yeah I had to be brutally honest about this one as I really didn’t enjoy it!

      Personally I wasn’t a massive fan of Cloud Atlas but I admired what it set out to do.

  2. Oof. Well that’s disappointing to hear. Guess I’ll wait for it to go to DVD or the budget theaters…

    1. Yeah I have to say I would strongly advise that you wait on this one!

  3. I completely agree. Like I cannot fathom how terrible it was. Honestly, Kunis cannot handle a big role.

    1. Yeah I just read your review on Chords and I’m glad to see we agree! Kunis just can’t hold together a lead role it seems.

  4. Your review made me laugh at least so something good has come out of the seemingly abysmal movie. Not sure it was worth all those dollars though… I will be avoiding this film!

    1. Haha I’m glad to hear it!
      Yeah I dread to think just how much was spent on this film…

  5. Very silly, but somehow, I had some fun in that. Even if the story didn’t always make the most perfect sense. Good review Rumsey.

    1. Thanks Dan! I wish I could have had fun with it but I really couldn’t!

  6. Looks like my hunch was right on the money this time! I’m definitely glad that I decided not to see it in theaters and it sounds even worse than I had feared. Even once it’s on DVD I think this is not going to be near the top of my list at all. I’ll probably check it out someday…..just not very soon. Great review!

    1. Thank you, yeah I would try and make this a rental if I were you!

  7. This sounds and looks awful even before reading this review so, I mean.. this just proves that my gut feeling is mostly right. 😀

    1. Hey good to hear from you!
      Yeah it’s pretty awful, I would advise avoiding it if you can!

      1. Nah, still gonna watch it and butcher it in my review.. I miss hating on movies, I’ve seen too many good ones lately. 😀

        1. Haha yeah I can understand that. I had a lot of fun writing this review!

  8. Oh dear… I put this in my most anticipated films for 2015…

    1. I was looking forward to it too but trust me this is a bad movie!

  9. I’ll definitely take up your recommendation to avoid this in the theatres. I remember the early trailers looked pretty weak and I’ve heard people have walked out on this movie. Too bad, because I loved the first Matrix movie.

    1. Yeah the first Matrix is great and pretty inventive… but this really isn’t!

  10. This looks horrid but my boyfriend is dying to see it, so I think he might drag me with him.

    1. Well good luck to you then I say! I can’t really think of anything I liked about the film unfortunately…

      1. 😦
        He wants to see Seventh Son, too!

        1. Oh poor you! Although at least Julianne Moore is in that one.

        2. Ad Jeff Bridges.

  11. Just saw it yesterday and I really liked it. It looked beautiful and original and the action was thrilling. I agree that the acting maybe wasn’t very strong, but as this basically is a soap opera set in space I thought it fit.

    1. Oh really? it’s nice to hear a different opinion on this one as many people didn’t like it! I wish I could have been caught up in the action, that’s all I really expected from it, but unfortunately it just felt lifeless to me.

      1. Yeah, I know I’m in the minority here…but I don’t mind that. Have just published my own review of it…

        1. Yeah nothing wrong with that!
          Ah nice, I’m on the move at the moment but will definitely stop by later to read that.

  12. Boo!!! That was the worst piece of literature I have ever read since Twilight! I saw this film today and there was nothing wrong with it!! If Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus didn’t exist, you would have liked it! You don’t like Mila Kunis?! Well I guess that means you like Kristen Stewart better and you want to marry her! If you give Insurgent a good rating, Mila Kunis and I will end you!!!

    1. You’re completely right! If only Miley Cyrus didn’t exist I would be head over heels in love with this movie. Thank you for explaining my own failings as a critical reviewer so clearly to me!

  13. Ouch. This film is getting killed.

    I didn’t like it either, I came in with expectations probably unfairly set too high but I saw in it potential to be a somewhat involving, relatively tense blockbuster set to the tune of Guardians of the Galaxy only with less humor than that. I think I only cite that in terms of space (the physical, distance-y kind not space as in outer space. . .you know what I mean lol). But I came out of the theater pretty goddamn disappointed. I guess I’m just confused as to why people originally had no faith in this one. I guess the name Wachowski doesn’t have the pull it used to. Though I loved their previous effort, Cloud Atlas.

    Good work here again dude.

    1. Haha yeah I wasn’t nice about this one!
      See I wasn’t even a fan of Atlas, although I liked a lot about it and thought it was a brave piece of filmmaking. This on the other hand was a shallow mess wasn’t it!

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