Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending PosterI’d seen a bit of buzz about Jupiter Ascending, both positive and negative. I didn’t get around to watching it until this week.

The science is absurd, the plot is completely over the top, and about 3/4 of the way through, I figured out why it was working for me.

Spoilers Beyond This Point

This is a movie that has zero f**ks to give.

  • Channing Tatum as a half-dog hunter who used to have wings? Sure!
  • Anti-gravity skates? Go for it!
  • Bees are genetically able to recognize royalty? Why not!
  • Sean Freaking Bean? Yeah … better yet, let’s allow him to live through the whole movie!
  • But wait, something’s still missing. Oh, I know! Let’s add some flying lizard dragon people!
  • Three villains, each more over-the-top than the last? Of course!
  • Not to mention dialogue like, “I am not your damn mother.”
  • And makeup/prosthetics people running around shouting, “Bigger ears!” and “More random circuits glued to his face!” and “More elephant trunk!”

In so many respects, this is a bad movie. It has a plot that’s less linear and more like an out of control lightcycle from Tron careening and ricocheting from one set piece to the next. The core premise that Earth is nothing but a farm, one of countless such planets, all so that humans can be harvested to make immortality juice? And also random genetic reincarnation? Calling this science fiction is a slap in the face of science.

Which is kind of the point. It’s not meant to be science fiction. It’s a space fairy tale, with dragons and villains and royalty and an evil prince trying to marry the heroines and a knight in a horrible blond goatee. It’s the heroine’s three challenges — fairy tales are all about the number three. Heck, Jupiter’s opening scenes where she’s getting up at 4:45 in the morning to go scrub toilets and clean houses is so Cinderella.

This is Lana and Andy Wachowski playing, making a movie not to win awards or revolutionize a genre or change the world. I’ve got to believe they spent many a night, possibly drunk, saying things like, “Wait, let’s set this part on a refinery on the planet Jupiter.”

“Awesome! Wait, why do we need a refinery on Jupiter?”

“So we can blow it the hell up!”

I really liked Mila Kunis’s portrayal of Jupiter, the mistakes she makes along the way, her sense of being completely in over her head, her fight scene at the end… (Thank you for letting her beat the final bad guy instead of having to be rescued. I mean, she gets rescued after beating the final bad guy, but that’s only because nobody bothered to give her some anti-gravity skates of her own.)

Then the ending is all, “And they lived happily ever after, dammit!”

“But what about the other two siblings who–

“Happily. Ever. After!”

“Her family has no money!”


All right, then. They all lived happily ever after.