Jupiter Ascending (2015)

Jupiter Ascending isn’t a terrible movie, but it’s a mediocre one. I’m not exactly sure what makes it mediocre, because it has a lot of interesting elements. It certainly looks spectacular in IMAX 3D, although the look, like the story, is very derivative. (We even visit Peter Jackson’s Rivendell at one point.) The action isn’t as good as the action in The Matrix, which made me wonder whether¬†Yuen Woo Ping was the key ingredient to The Matrix. The dialogue seems pretty dull, I guess, and poor Eddie Redmayne, who plays the villain, is given very little indeed worth saying.

This is the story of a lowly housecleaner named Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) who learns she’s actually a princess. She is specifically compared to Cinderella. That’s kind of interesting. It’s different from the other Wachowski movies I’ve seen in that it’s a romance as well as a story of rebellion against tyranny. That’s kind of interesting too. Jupiter Jones doesn’t make much of an impression as a character, however. She’s humble and compassionate and uninterested in power, and I think we’re supposed to see that that’s why she wins the conflict. She doesn’t have to kill anyone. Other people kill for her — mostly Channing Tatum as her love interest, Caine Wise — or bad guys just die because shit happens. In a way this is another variation on The Wizard of Oz, and the moral of the story is that there’s no place like home and nothing’s better than cleaning a toilet. Maybe that last part is a little hard to believe? Maybe it would have made the point more forcefully if she had defeated Eddie Redmayne by cleaning his toilet. But I suppose the crux of her character is discovered when she has to choose between her family and her planet. Could more have been made of the fact that Eddie Redmayne made a similar choice in the past?

I dunno. I’m not much of a Wachowskis fan anyway, but I thought this would be worth seeing on the big screen for the $176 million dollars worth of space opera eye candy. It was.

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