The last few times I went to the movies; I ended up seeing films I thought were original and then found out in the credits (opening or ending) that it was based off a book or shorty story or something else from someone else’s mind OTHER than the director’s. When I first saw “Jupiter Ascending”, I assumed it was based off some teen fantasy book series like most of the sci-fi/fantasy films have been based off of. “Jupiter Ascending” all in all is not the epic, groundbreaking spectacular that I am sure the Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix trilogy) wanted and hoped it would become…however that does not mean it’s not vital in a completely different way. What do I mean by that? Well strap on your anti-gravity boots and watch out for gargoyle lizard monsters: it’s time we take a look at “Jupiter Ascending.”
Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) may have been born under the astrological signs that she would do great things with her life, but all she really has accomplished is scrubbing toilets, making beds and a life/family that doesn’t seem to appreciate her. Her life takes an intergalactic change when a human/alien hybrid bounty hunter by the name of Cain Wise (Channing Tatum) takes her into space to reclaim an inheritance unlike any other: the Earth. However, the power hungry Balem (Eddie Raymane) seeks to add Earth’s entire populace to his universal body count and he will kill anything with everything he’s got to make sure he keeps Jupiter from reclaiming her rightful birthright and the lives of billions of lives; including her family’s.
At first seeming like a Cinderella story spliced with Star Wars, “Jupiter Ascending” may start off with humble beginnings but its reach and efforts escalate into colossal proportions so insanely grand and complex; the story practically collapses under the weight of the mountain sized story details that drag and destabilize this film into a jumbled mess. I mentioned this film being important though not necessarily great the very beginning and I said that because in an age where comic book super heroes and recycled classic films and TV shows dominate cinema chains year after year; true originality deserves more recognition and financial appreciation…even if it’s not the powerhouse payout you’d hope it was. “Jupiter” is 100% original; the history of the alien races, the terminology, the weapons, the spaceships, and the heritages, everything in here came from nowhere else except the imagination from its creators: the directors.
Sure, the movie is full of so many new terms and phrases that the cast speaks of as if we already know it by heart and there’s so much CGI magic going on that the pacing becomes too erratic to focus on, but still; you can’t help but truly admire the vast amounts of creativity literally bursting from the film’s seams. Mila Kunis is a likeable enough lead; she fits the “ugly duckling” turned space princess role well but nothing to make her character or performance seem anything more so than generic. Eddie Raymane is bizarrely whispery as Balem, it’s a deep enough persona that it makes him near unrecognizable but it’s not really worth it if you can barely hear whatever the Hell it he’s saying; especially with (as I said before) new terms were still learning as we go.
The biggest compliments anyone can pay to this film go to the spectacular special effects and Tatum as Cain. The alien creatures, spaceships, laser weapons and dog ship fights above cities are unmatchable at this quality level; there is literally so much extraordinary space eye candy that you’d choke on it if you tried to take it all in with one bite. Tatum is serious, stoic and strange; perfectly fitting the character and his estranged relationship with Kunis. Overall, “Jupiter Ascending” was too overloaded with ambitious sci-fi spectacles and jargon no one could wrap their minds and ears around the first time. There’s a lot of mess in here that needed to be cleaned up before being presented, but its supreme originality and potential packing characters warrant a second chance from studios executives and audiences everywhere. This isn’t the best original films have to offer, but it’s all we got so far and I say that’s definitely worth something.