Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending ★★½

February 2017: Flounder’s Scavenger Hunt #2
TASK #7: A film that’s unique yet simultaneously generic!

A film written, produced, and directed by transgender women with arguably the most useless female lead protagonist in action film history. How that works I have absolutely no idea, but it happened, and it’s... interesting, to say the least. Jupiter Ascending marked the Wachowskis’ return to original sci-fi after finishing their Matrix trilogy and adapting Speed Racer, V for Vendetta, and Cloud Atlas for the big screen, and it turned out a critical and commercial disappointment. This is one of those rare films where it’s incredibly original, unique, creative, imaginative, and ambitious yet at the same time it’s painfully generic, derivative, and run of the mill. It’s weird like that. However, unlike a film that’s also generic and unique at the same time, Doctor Strange, Jupiter Ascending fails to offer a compelling story or strong characters. The story is about three space siblings having a pissing contest over who gets to rule the Earth and a girl who cleans toilets for a living yet is played by Mila Kunis and still looks gorgeous whilst cleaning said toilets somehow turns out to be a reincarnation of the siblings’ mother so it’s she who gets to rule the Earth, but they don’t happen to like that one bit, no siree. Toilet scrubbing Earth owner also falls in love with handsome genetically engineered wolfman soldier Channing Taint-Yum and has to be saved by him on countless occasions because fuck strong female characters who can take care of themselves, right? Damsels in distresses are totally where it’s at, bruh! Ugh. Like with their other films, the Wachowskis prove themselves capable of directing fun and stunning action and masters at visuals. The action set pieces are all beautifully shot and edited and the effects and sets designs all look fantastic throughout. However, action, stunning visuals, and imagination can only get you so far. The story is so boring and uninteresting that it takes away from the Wachowskis’ attempts at world-building. The characters are all horribly written, especially the useless damsel that is the ridiculously named Jupiter Jones. The acting also is iffy. Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum try the best they can but they’re unfortunately bland and soulless and their romantic chemistry is sorely lacking. On the other hand, Eddie Redmayne goes full on Nicolas Cage as the oldest of the three space siblings and his performance is absolutely hilarious. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awful, but in a way that makes it even more enjoyable. It’s like he knew how bad and ridiculous this shit is and decided to go all balls out. Watching this guy go batshit crazy with each line he speaks and each expression he has on his face made me roll on the floor laughing my ass off. It’s definitely entertaining in areas, but Jupiter Ascending is nothing short of a misfire. Here’s hoping the Wachowskis get their shit together the next time they make an original big-budget sci-fi epic.

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