You know those types of movies that are sometimes “guilty pleasures,” the ones that are so bad they’re good? This isn’t that. Jupiter Ascending is just plain bad, and this is coming from someone who can find positives in almost anything. Okay, so the production design and the visual effects are cool, but everything else is a jumbled mess. The Wachowskis really outdid themselves here, and not in a good way. I have nothing against them, I loved The Matrix and it’s still one of my favorite movies ever (although the sequels aren’t so good), I never got around to watching Speed Racer or Cloud Atlas, but it seems they both are very polarizing. Jupiter Ascending, though, wow.
Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is a poor immigrant who cleans the toilets of rich people for a living until one day she finds out she is the reincarnation (or something) of a member of a royal intergalactic family called Abrasax, who own various planets throughout the galaxy. She eventually finds out that she is the rightful heir to the planet Earth, which is worth more than most planets for whatever reason I don’t know, but Balem (Eddie Redmayne), who wants Earth for himself (to harvest for a youth serum or something) has plans to kill Jupiter so he can gain the rights to his deceased mother’s fortune.
The basic story has potential, but it never really goes anywhere interesting. The characters are awful and boring, Jupiter is probably the worst heroine I’ve seen on screen next to Bella from Twilight, and the acting is atrocious. Eddie Redmayne, who is Oscar nominated for an incredible performance as Stephen Hawking, gives what will probably go down as his worst performance ever here. Aside from the parts when he would try to be scary by shouting, I couldn’t even understand what he was saying 95% of the time because he whispered and mumbled all of his lines. The amount of ridiculous over-acting he did in this movie was laughable, as in the all of five people who were in my theater watching this laughed whenever he was on screen, not because he was actually funny, but because what we were all watching was so ridiculous that it was almost hard to believe.
The dialogue was horrible, especially that between Jupiter (“Please, call me Jupe”) and Caine (Channing Tatum). It was like watching a spoof of the corniest on screen romance ever. Caine, who is some kind of a space werewolf (really? I thought he was an elf), is hired by Titus (Douglas Booth)–d-bag Balem’s d-bag brother–to bring Jupiter to him. But, (surprise!) they fall in love, and it’s just so romantic because Jupiter just has a thing for falling for guys who don’t fall for her (sure, in what galaxy?) and all that generic nonsense. Well now she’s hit the jackpot because she has Magic Mike’s lycan brother (who also takes his shirt off and has smooth moves on his flying boots) saving her at every turn. He’s probably the most useful character in the movie, not just because he’s a seemingly invincible white knight and is always in the right place at the right time, but because he delivers all the horrible exposition we need to make sense of everything that doesn’t make sense on its own.
Sean Bean plays Stinger, some guy who lives in a house with a lot of bees. He might be part bee, I really don’t even know to be honest. He’s a pretty useless character, unless you consider delivering some more horrible dialogue as being useful. As much as I love Sean Bean, I just didn’t find him to be particularly memorable. There’s actually a lot of inconsequential characters in this movie, including Tuppence Middleton in terrible old woman make-up playing Kalique, the sister in the Abrasax family. Other minor characters include large talking lizards with wings, robot people who look like the thing from Ex Machina, Asians with horrible wigs, women with gigantic mouse ears, Terry Gilliam (wtf?), oh yeah, and Jupiter’s weird Russian family including a cousin who tries to get her to sell her ovary eggs for money so he can buy himself a big TV.
The Wachowskis greatly missed the mark with Jupiter Ascending. It’s ambitious, but it’s badly executed. Some of the visuals were very pretty, but it wasn’t enough to make up for everything else. You can’t mask a piece of poo by wrapping it in a pretty box. The 3D was also unnecessary and horribly under utilized. I would give this movie more credit if it was just dumb fun, but it was too dumb and not enough fun. Terrible characters, acting, story and dialogue overshadow the few fun moments in some of the overlong action scenes. I just can’t get behind this movie, but if you see it and actually enjoy it, then consider yourself one of the lucky ones.