FTF Boo Rating
1 is good, 5 is bad.
Although only one of them admits it, it’s clear from Jupiter Ascending’s hilarious play it safe attitude that both Wachowski siblings have had their balls cut off since making the first Matrix film. This is one of the funniest, most ridiculous movies I have ever seen in my entire life. The whole audience laughed the entire way through the film,
shocked and delighted by how completely stupid every aspect of this total train wreck is. I implore you all to watch (but don’t pay for) Jupiter Ascending when you get the chance just so that you can appreciate how totally and utterly $200 million can be wasted by just a few people.
The Washowskis have clearly thought way too long and hard about this universe they’ve created and as a result they’ve tried to fit too much weird history and politics into this monstrous space opera. This means that in order for the audience to keep up with what’s happening the entire film had to be filled with so much expository dialogue that even the actors seemed sick of the sound of their own voices by the end. Past a certain point I just stopped caring about the barrage of tedious monologues so I can’t tell you why there are giant lizard people or how Eddie Redmayne’s lips came to be made of uncooked beef patties.
The premise of the film is that the universe is run by a select few human families who control the production and sale of some blue gloop that allows people to live greatly increased lifespans (in the region of tens of thousands of years). This is a billion year old, highly advanced civilisation so you’d assume the blue gloop is wildly futuristic, genetically engineered nanotechnology, right? Wrong. Each gallon of gloop is made of 100 mashed up humans and all you have to do is bathe in it and you’re young again. Seriously though, when the main tenant of your film is so spectacularly flimsy you really have to wonder why anyone even bothered to write a story around it. But I digress. In order to get enough humans to mash up, this civilisation seeds human life on as many planets as possible, then leaves them alone for a few millennia so the population can grow and the crop can ripen. Once there are so many humans that the planet is having trouble sustaining them, they’re all painlessly slaughtered and placed in an industrial sized blender ready for gloopification.
Mila Kunis plays a damsel in constant perilous distress, undermining years of strong female leads by being too weak to look after herself as she falls face first out of a mile high danger tree, hitting every branch on the way down. What starts this chain reaction of danger is that Mila just happens to be an exact genetic copy of the (now dead) head of one of the Gloop families. This means that she inherits a load of planets including Earth that are actually really big gloop farms. In layman’s terms this is the equivalent to making a cow the CEO of a burger company. I would have thought that a highly advanced civilisation would understand the negative aspects of nepotism but what do I know? Fuck the shareholders!
The film is a race against time to get Mila to a place where she can claim her birthright and save Earth from destruction. To this end she is aided by Channing Tatum who is a wolf-man genetic hybrid. His elbow turns into a shield, he has boots that allow him to fly everywhere “surf differential equations of gravity” and he used to have wings but they were taken away because of something I didn’t care about.
Tatumwolf spends the majority of the film in various states of undress either chasing things or being chased by things, just like a dog. These scenes were so cataclysmically boring/pointless/confusing that the film makers had to give us musical clues as to how we were supposed to be feeling. Dun dah dah (This bit is tense!)……Dee doo doo (That was too close!)….Baa bu buuhh (The chase is over). The person sitting in front of me said the best part of the chase scenes for them was when I kicked the back of their chair out of boredom.
If you’ve never been stung by a bee then there’s a good chance you’re royalty, because bees have been genetically engineered to recognise royalty. I’m not even going to give that statement any context; even with the context provided by the film it is still exactly as stupid as it just sounded.
I’m not going to have a go at the Wachowskis for having everyone in the film speak English, they probably didn’t want to alienate their illiterate fans. Or at least they didn’t want to alienate them any more than the rest of the audience. And who knows– maybe everyone in the universe has a Babelfish implant that allows them to understand all languages – in a universe of interstellar travel and forever gloop, anything is possible. What I am going to have a go at them for is using Earth idioms. At one point a space princess tells our heroine that something is “as easy as changing a lightbulb”. Why does this advanced species still use lightbulbs and why the fuck is a princess changing them?
Halfway through, the film becomes a bizarre Brazil bureaucracy homage – even going so far as having Terry Gilliam appear to do a turn as a bumbling STEAMPUNK office clerk. Someone (my guess is Lana Wachowski) has some serious trouble getting through airport customs and decided that this film was the perfect way to let us to feel their pain. It really worked – this scene made me feel like I was actually going through intergalactic STEAMPUNK spaceport customs. In a movie that struggled to find the time to explain anything sufficiently, it is mind boggling that this tediously long affair was allowed to take up so much screen time without adding anything at all to the film as a whole. You might notice that I wrote STEAMPUNK a couple of times in this paragraph. Why was there a STEAMPUNK customs office in Jupiter Ascending? We may never find out since no one will ever care enough about this film to bother asking its creators.
What else? The overuse of action movie clichés like “Quick! The portal is closing!” which was on screen no less than 10 times. There must be another way to intelligently build tension in a sci-fi film without having to resort to this worn out platitude of a hole getting smaller – it’s the equivalent of running to catch a train before the doors close. I think most people will agree that situation is boring as hell and doesn’t get any less boring if you just make everything bigger.
This film was so exceptionally, extravagantly injudicious that I could criticise each and every moment of its tortuous 127 minute runtime…..I might even do that at some point in the future. But right now let me just wrap all this up by saying that the absolute best thing about this farcical space romp is how bad it is. It’s so bad that the Wachowskis will never get funding for another film ever again. That in turn means I’ll never have to sit through anything quite as shit for as long as I live and that’s a reassuring thought.