Movie: Jupiter Ascending
My Rating: 2 stars
Oh boy, is this movie ever a doozie. But, then I knew that going into it. In fact, I watched this movie specifically because it had a reputation for being so atrocious. I love watching movies that are unwittingly terrible. That kind of thing is always way more funny than one that is trying to be bad on purpose. And, this movie is trying really hard to be a spectacular, profound, space epic.
Jupiter (Mila Kunis) is an undocumented worker in the United States. She spends her dismal days cleaning hotel rooms, but she dreams of the stars. We know this because she spends a fair amount of time in the movie looking at telescopes on eBay and gazing into the heavens. Also her dad, a dead Russian astronomer, named her Jupiter because !!space!! This movie is huge on clunky exposition and hitting you over the head with really blatant symbolism. Jupiter hates her life. In fact, she spends a god portion of the film saying that outright. But, what Jupiter doesn’t know is that she is secretly the reincarnation of the queen of space! How’s that for irony? She loves space and wants a better life, but all this time, she was secretly the supreme leader of the universe! Anyway, once the secret’s out of the bag, a few of Jupiter’s space minions head out looking for her. The good ones want to find her and install her in her rightful place on the throne. The bad ones want to kill her in bid for power (mostly her asshole previous-life kids).
Now Jupiter’s got to figure out who has her best interest at heart, and who just wants to bump her off to steal her planets. It really isn’t all the difficult to figure out. The bad guys are usually, sleek, hairless types who spend their days lounging shirtless in open silk robes and heavy jewelry (e.g. Eddie Redmayne). The good guys are scruffy, muscled, hunks with inferiority complexes (see Channing Tatum). Tatum is a sexy, roller-blading, half-dog/half-man hybrid and he’s supposed to be Mila Kunis’ love interest. Being half dog is supposedly a good thing in this context—loyalty, heightened senses, and all that—but it still kinda gives one the heebie jeebies, doesn’t it? Nevertheless, the good guys must escort Jupiter through all the bureaucracy, and etiquette of this sophisticated new space society so that she can step up and claim what’s rightfully hers.
This movie is very heavy-handed and cheesy. But, I think that’s precisely why it delights people so much. The acting is overwrought and grand. The costumes are bonkers. And nothing in the story makes any kind of logical sense. The best part is that I think the studio really thought they had a winner on their hands. It had all the ingredients for a hit—sexy, popular actors, super powers, a star war. But it’s just such an amazingly perfect flop. So, I think you’d probably have a pretty fun time watching this silly film. Don’t go into it expecting pure garbage. You’ll only end up disappointed. The best way to approach this movie is to go into it knowing that the studio thought they had the makings of a super-popular, summer blockbuster.