Review - Jupiter Ascending (3D)

Jupiter Ascending (2015), PG-13, 127 minutes - Jupiter Ascending is the latest film from the minds of the Wachowskis (Andy and Lana, creators of The Matrix trilogy), and was originally set to be released last summer.  After realizing that more time was needed to complete a large number of special effects shots, it was pushed back to early February of this year.

Jupiter Ascending revolves around the aptly named Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) and her unknown place within the bloodline of the alien Abrasax empire.  The Abrasax treat the countless planets throughout the galaxy like crops to be harvested in order to create a serum that allows them near immortality.  Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne) inherited the Earth like a piece of real estate when his mother passed away.  It is considered extremely valuable and highly sought after, creating a rift between he and his Abrasax siblings Titus (Douglas Booth), and Kalique (Tuppence Middleton).  After genetically engineered bounty hunter Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) brings Jupiter's true ancestry to light, rightful ownership of Earth comes into question and the sibling squabble quickly turns into a convoluted series of chess-like moves to see which of them can best use Jupiter and her naiveté of the situation to their advantage.  In their efforts to get Jupiter recognized as the rightful owner of Earth (and stop its impending harvest) she and Caine receive some Lando Calrissian-like help from Stringer Apini (Sean Bean), another genetically engineered warrior that Caine had served with in the past.

The delay in release may have allowed the effects to be completed satisfactorily - it actually is a pretty good looking film, and the 3D is well done - but the story and tone of the film are undermined by the inclusion of a handful of seemingly unnecessary juvenile bits of dialogue.  It feels as though this universe was created with potential sequels in mind as it ends in much the same way the original Matrix did (it stands alone but could be expanded upon), but I'd be surprised if that were to happen considering the less than stellar box office performance Jupiter Ascending has shown thus far.  

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't say that this is a bad film, I just don't think it lives up to its potential.  The story is relatively unique and intriguing (although it certainly borrows bits from other well known stories) but doesn't feel executed as well as it could have been.  If you enjoy sci-fi/space opera-like films, it may find a place in your heart that is generally reserved for guilty pleasures, but even then you are probably best served waiting for this one as a rental.


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