The Wachowskis have released their most disappointing film yet by crafting a prime example of “all style, no substance.”
The creative minds behind the “Matrix” are once again demonstrating that they seem to be more interested in visual spectacles than coherent storylines. While they have had a number of excellent films, they’ve had an equal share that are muddled in nonsense. “Jupiter Ascending” accentuates these tendencies to a grandiose scale. We’re presented with some very impressive art production, but its laid over a story and characters we could care less about.
OK, so let’s try and make sense of this plot. Earth is just a speck amongst a myriad of other inhabited planets. Most are owned by a royal space family of sorts, currently made up of three bickering siblings. Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne) is the oldest. He sickly whispers most sentences like a Disney villain, except for the random moments where he violently shouts a word or two like a Luc Besson villain. Titus Abrasax (Douglas Booth) is the younger brother. He is youthful,arrogant, and enjoys taunting his older brother. Kalique Abrasax (Tuppence Middleton) is their sister. She is…well, we’re not really sure why she’s in the movie, except for a single scene where we learn why the actress spent most of her screentime in subpar elderly makeup. Each of the siblings own a portion of their late mother’s planetary holdings, Earth being one of them.
Mila Kunis plays Jupiter Jones, a Russian girl who cleans toilets for a living, but also just so happens to have the exact same genetic makeup as the Abrasax’s dearly departed mother. According to the beliefs of apparently all alien races, if the exact same genetic sequence creates a replica of a previous person, it is a form of reincarnation. Thankfully the Abrasax Matriarch left a number of provisions in her will for just such an occurrence. Jupiter soon finds herself to be Queen of the Universe, Owner of the Earth. This makes her a target for each of the siblings,but their true intentions are inconsistent.
This is where the film truly falls apart. There is a complete lack of logic behind every single character in the story. Some abrupt changes in tone hints towards editing issues, a theory that is backed up by the Wachowskis claiming their original script was over 600 pages long. (That’s enough material for a full trilogy.) Further drowning this overblown space opera are jarring changes in tone. At least half the character in the film are splicers, genetically altered humanoids. Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) is a lycanton, part wolf. Other characters resemble mice, rats, birds, and even… an elephant. It’s “The Island of Dr Moreau” in space. Caine (Canine, get it?) is a bit weird, yet still interesting, but when you see a guy with an elephant face screaming during a tense moment, it completely destroys your suspension of disbelief.
It appears The Wachowskis wasted all their creativity on the art design leaving none for the story. Recycling their “humans used as a resource” trope yet again, they offer nothing new in terms of themes. Although, there has never been a movie that featured as many people falling perilously. In fact, it could have been more aptly named “Jupiter Descending”