Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Film Review - Jupiter Ascending

Universal Problems
Film: Jupiter Ascending
Cast: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne
Directed by: The Wachowskis
Duration: 2 hrs 5 mins
Rating: * * 1 / 2

Considering that Jupiter Ascending is based on an original screenplay and not a book, there is a lot crammed into it in a little over two hours. A bit too much actually. As a science fantasy, it is quite ambitious and hits bulls eye when it comes to the visuals and special effects but all those other elements in the story about the universe is a bit of a yawn.

Directed by The Wachowski’s (Andy and Lana) whose previous Cloud Atlas was a commendable effort but bombed at the box office, Jupiter Ascending has two popular stars of the current generation.  Mila Kunis plays Jupiter who is living a very routine life on earth till the aliens strike. They are no ordinary aliens but they belong to a family of Royal aliens. Wise (Channing Tatum) a genetically modified ex-military hunter rescues her and the action shifts to another part of the universe after they are attacked along with their sympathizer Stinger (Sean Bean).

Apparently the earth has been seeded and harvested by aliens so that make a serum that will keep them young and make them live forever. The villain of the piece Balem (Eddie Redmayne from Theory of Everything), he is in this serum business with ambitious plans.
There are many characters in the film but hardly any of them are developed. Except for Jupiter, who we are told has an ordinary life, none of the outer space characters have much of a background.  There is also a lot of talk about different planets and the creatures that live there and most of it is not particularly interesting.

A scene that stands out is Jupiter’s endeavor to prove that she is royalty- she has to run from pillar to post getting her ‘documents’ and even in outer bureaucracy doesn’t work till you pay a bribe. Terry Gilliam plays a cameo in the scene in what is a tribute to his masterpiece Brazil (1985).

Some of the action scenes are above average and the 3D effects are not as jarring as they usually are. On the whole this is not the kind of film that fans of the Wachowski’s might be expecting but it is okay for a one time watch. 

Published in The Navhind Times, Goa on 8th February 2015

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