Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending ★★★

I really struggled with whether to see this film on the big screen or not. When I first saw the trailers in late 2014, I put it on my Watchlist and resolved to catch it soon after its release in 2015. But then I saw some bad reviews. And some worse reviews. Finally, on the very day I had picked to watch it, Senior Discount Day, I read a half-star "this should never have been made" review, and I changed my mind. I decided to save the $4 it would have cost me.

Of course, on Monday this week, I read yet another review, this one written by someone whose opinion I've grown to trust -- StarklyReviews -- giving it a 4.5-star rating while raving about the acting and the visuals. So I went back to my original idea. I plopped down $6 to see it on the big screen on Discount Day (resisting the aroma of the $6.50 popcorn), hoping my flip-flop decision-making was worth the extra couple of bucks, since it will most assuredly be gone from theaters here next week ... there were only four of us in the audience at the 1:10pm screening.

Impressions? Mila Kunis is hot, but she's been hotter ("Friends with Benefits," "Black Swan"). Channing Tatum is studly, but he's been studlier ("Magic Mike"). For a recent Oscar-winner ("The Theory of Everything"), Eddie Redmayne mumbles, whispers and slurs his lines almost to the point where they can't be understood. And the Wachowskis have done better, so much better ("Matrix," "Cloud Atlas").

The film certainly could have done without the stupid "bureaucracy" sequence. There's an arranged marriage segment that made no sense to me at all. And although Chicago gets half destroyed and then magically reconstructed in the blink of an eye, the aliens with the technology to do that can't keep an important processing plant from imploding in slow motion. Go figure.

But then there's supervising art director Charlie Revai and his team, who obviously had more fun making this picture than anyone else. Some of their designs are like futuristic cathedrals. Others are just beautifully otherworldly. Frankly, if the sound system at the cinema had failed, I could have just sat there watching the images flash across the screen. What a truly mesmerizing display of artwork.

So although this isn't going to replace "Interstellar" as my favorite space opera of late, and although I can't give it a high rating, I certainly disagree with all the haters who graded it a single star or less. It may not be a great movie, but it certainly made for a fun matinee, and I am really glad I saw Starkly's review. It's very much worth watching, and I would have regretted missing this on the big screen.

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