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Whether you like it or not The Wachowski’s Jupiter Ascending might be February’s guilty pleasure for moviegoers who have nothing else to watch in the barren wasteland of early 2015 releases. The mastermind team who brought us the uneven Matrix trilogy, and most recently the polarizing Cloud Atlas fly off the rails once again with one of the more watchable fiascoes they’ve produced in quite while. It’s nearly impossible to write about the plot of this space opera without consulting the Wiki plot entry since it’s quite literally all over the place, but here goes.

We are introduced to Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) the daughter of Russian immigrant housekeepers living in a futuristic Chicago, where she works with her mother and aunts as housekeepers.  Unbeknown to our heroine, the universe has larger plans for her then waking up at five am to scrub toilets. It’s revealed – in lengthy exposition – that Jupiter is the stuck in the middle of an alien civilization’s battle to take over earth. Turns out that planet earth, and countless other planets were seeded by an alien monarchy for the purpose of harvesting the residents of earth (us!) to produce a youth serum to help them achieve immortality.  In the center of all this brouhaha, that sounds like it was lifted from a Dynasty episode, is Balem (a gloriously over the top Eddie Redmayne), Kalique (a delightfully camp Tuppence Middleton), and Titus (a very pretty Douglas Booth) three siblings feuding over the inheritance over the earth after the family matriarch mysteriously dies.

Are you still with me with this bonkers plotline? Apparently the earth-born Jupiter is the lost heir of their mother- I’m not exactly sure why, but I think reincarnation is involved somehow. When she witnesses some extra-terrestrials who mean to hunt her down by the orders of Balem she’s saved by Caine- played Channing Tatum looking like a sun soaked Christmas elf. Caine is a genetically engineered warrior, who came to Earth to reveal that her genetic signature makes Jones royalty and heir to the planet.

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With visual elements cherry picked from David Lynch’s Dune, and The Fifth Element the Wachowski siblings get major points for creating beautiful visuals to surround their players. The real problem with the movie is that it can’t help but get in way over its head at times. Throw in an unnecessary romantic subplot between the chemistry-free Tatum, and Kunis, the story suffers greatly from thin characters.

However when it’s all said and done Jupiter Ascending could have been far worse, and it’s never boring. It’s fun to see the directors give the wacky premise a blown out of proportion big screen treatment with actors like Tatum and Redmayne clearly embracing the schlocky material. It’s also good to know that nobody in the movie takes it too seriously, and any movie featuring a ripped Tatum running around shirtless for nearly a quarter of the running time can’t be all that bad.

Rating: 2.5/5

@oscarscott