Monday, September 16, 2019

Jupiter Ascending (2015)

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) hates her life. Her family is obnoxious. She spends her days cleaning toilets for rich people who don’t appreciate her. And she can’t manage to get enough money to buy a lovely antique telescope she really wants. But don’t worry Jupiter, Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) is on the way to throw you into an intergalactic war between power-mad siblings. No seriously.

Turns out Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne) is obsessed with controlling earth, because it is a rich source for the most valuable substance in the universe. Of course he may have to enslave humanity to get it, but them’s the breaks. Turns out Jupiter is the key to complete control. Now intergalactic forces are trying to nab her and convince (or coerce) her to their side. Some insane combat explodes across the screen, Mila Kunis falls from great heights several times and hey is that Sean Bean? He is always great. In the end, Jupiter will have to decide how she can best help save the earth, even if she is just a normal girl who hates her life.

Good Points:
  • Full of amazing visuals and exciting action sequences
  • Creates a unique and engaging world beyond our solar system
  • Goes over the top in an entertaining way (including Redmayne’s performance) 

Bad Points:
  • Feels like it is a bit overstuffed at times
  • Jones isn’t a very pro-active character (but you could argue that is her story arc)
  • The over the top feeling may turn off some viewers.


Ok I had a good time with this one. I know it bombed in theaters, but I think it got a bit of a harsh treatment. Lots of new stuff on display here and the story is a unique one in modern space opera. I love Michael Giacchino’s score (one of his best). And I think Kunis does a good job in the role. But the movie moves at a breakneck pace and is so packed with craziness it does end up distancing you from the characters. I wanted to like them more than I did. That said, it was worth an evening’s viewing and I’m actually kicking myself for not seeing the flick in theaters – because… damn, those visuals are really something else.

Scores(out of 5)
Visuals:  5
Sound: 5
Acting:  4
Script:  3
Music: 5
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 4
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.

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  1. Wow. This is an awful movie…and yet… It is bad in the way the Flash Gordon serials of the 30s were bad, which, despite the impressively over-the-top modern special effects, is the comparison that kept going through my head. There definitely is fun to be had.

    For some strange reason, futuristic and alien civilizations most commonly have medieval political arrangements, though medieval/renaissance aristocrats didn’t actually harvest their subjects for bath oils. Well, Elizabeth Bathory did, but she was tried and convicted for it. It’s best not to try to make sense of the movie. Just watch the spaceships explode and cities crumble while Jupiter escapes in the nick of time. There is a lot of that. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it.

    1. Good call. The serial nature eluded me (not sure how). Especially with the constant captures and escapes for the main heroine. That happened ALL THE TIME in those old serials.

      Good point about the feudal/future society thing in space opera. Maybe because it is so far in the past that it seems alien to modern viewers, but familiar enough that it doesn't throw them for a loop. World building short hand. Nothing wrong with that, but it can feel a bit stale.

  2. Yeah, I couldn't get threw Jupiter Ascending. Mila Kunis for the most part just hasn't found good roles, imo. I think this movie is on par with Jennifer Lawrence's SF yarn, Passengers, though Passengers may be the worse of the two. I couldn't get thru it either. I might as well admit I really didn't care for Aquaman either--too cliched. :)

    Now I am curious about the new Brad Pitt SF movie, Ad Astra. I started to go see it the other day. Perhaps I can still get out to the show. As far as the SF I've seen lately, I'd say Annihilation was good, I enjoyed Arrival for the most part, Blade Runner 2049 was enjoyable. Ex Machina offered a lot to think about. I rewatched Contact the other day, and enjoyed it better the second time around than the first, although I think it's a bit long. A Quiet Place was pretty good too, although you had to stretch your threshold of believability.

    1. I actually think Mila did a good job in "Black Swan". But yeah for the most part she hasn't quite hit the right notes. She was Ok in "Jupiter Ascending", but I think the movie just didn't give her enough to work with.

      I still need to check out "Annihilation" and "Ad Astra" certainly looks promising.