REVIEW: Jupiter Ascending

Star Wars meets The Matrix? More like Flash Gordon meets Street Fighter. The Wachowskis‘ latest sci-fi epic to polarize the world is the extraordinarily bonkers Jupiter Ascending. It centres on Meg Griffin discovering that her day job cleaning toilets can’t block the fact that Earth is just one of several inhabited planets in a vast corporate solar system of power and greed, and that her unique DNA means that she’s the rightful heir to the planet, which she must save from the ruthless Abrasax siblings.

I don’t know about you guys, but our Year of the Mockbuster isn’t exactly kicking off to a great start. After the games of forced parody that Kingsman: The Secret Service played, Jupiter Ascending isn’t nearly as volatile as Matthew Vaughan‘s flick, but is it any better?

One good thing you can say about Jupiter Ascending is that it has drive, enthusiasm, and a fair amount of imagination. After the monumental scope of Cloud Atlas, Jupiter Ascending feels like the Wachowskis are having bags of fun with this flick rather than trying to do another Matrix on us, but one can’t help but feel that Jupiter Ascending, with its hammy feel and unoriginal plot, is a waste of some stellar potential.

Its plot, very much in the dull-individual-who-discovers-they’re-destined-for-something-great-with-enemies-to-take-down-along-the-way category, and it doesn’t add anything unique to it. Were this from another film-maker, maybe even a new and unknown one, this would be forgiveable, but because its from the Wachowskis we tend to always expect something on a par with The Matrix, and Jupiter Ascending is another subpar entry in their catalogue. Its so sub-par that rumours are now rife that Eddie Redmayne is having his Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything withdrawn because of what he does in Jupiter Ascending, and that should this film flop, the Wachowskis will find out nigh impossible to get another film off the ground.

But not everything in Jupiter Ascending hits the fan. Like I mentioned, there is spark and enthusiasm all round, and everything about the film is so delightfully recognisable and camp that your attention will never wane. The film’s appearance is downright gaudy yet mesmerizing – for every spaceship that surges out of a planet’s hurricane atmosphere at full throttle there’s a just worthy “wooooaaahhh duuuude!” to be emitted.

Mila Kunis plays the unassuming heroine without much gusty but is still watchable, and Channing Tatum remains as charming as ever, but the supporting cast of Abrasax trio of siblings, who wish to harvest the Earth’s population and sell it on as a sort of life force, are certainly more than worthy of having their Oscar nominations stripped from their clutches.

Overall, the film is a muddled affair or bland characters, unused-comic-book-fodder script that bears more holes than Joel Schumacher after a gun battle between himself and Batman fans, and some mouth-watering special effects. You’ll have a hard time recommending this flick to anyone with a straight face.

But what about you? Did you think Jupiter Ascending was nothing more than a Star Wars fanfic that somehow got a massive budget, or is it a jolly slice of camp sci-fi adventure? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Fred McNamara