Jupiter Ascending English Movie

Feature Film | 2015 | Action, Sci-Fi
Jupiter Ascending may not be at par with previous Wachowskis films like The Matrix and Cloud Atlas, but it makes for a satisfying watch if you go in expecting a reasonably smart pulpy action extravaganza.
Feb 6, 2015 By Piyush Chopra

In the interest of full disclosure, I should let everyone know: I love The Wachowskis. I love The Wachowski Siblings with all my heart and my soul. In fact, I love them so much that I wish I were an additional sibling of theirs. Their flair for creating dazzling visuals and mystical worlds and huge action pieces is probably unmatched.

The Wachowski Siblings, back in 1999 when they were The Wachowski Brothers, created The Matrix, a movie so cool and awesome and amazing and a few more adjectives that it could literally blow your mind. It ruined action movies for me, because nothing could ever match up to the elaborately choreographed action sequences, the densely-plotted narration and the overall ingenuity of that film. Which was of course tarnished by the third film in the franchise, The Matrix Revolutions.

They return this week with the long-delayed Jupiter Ascending, a film that is somewhat of a gender reversal of The Matrix. It revolves around Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), a toilet cleaner by profession, who realizes that she is actually royalty. And not just royalty, space royalty. With a trio of siblings (Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth and Tuppence Middleton) each wanting her inheritance for themselves for their own reasons, she is protected by Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) and Stinger Apini (Sean Bean).

Jupiter Ascending is basically Guardians of the Galaxy, with a more complicated plot and a lot more action, but with much lesser charm and smarts. A big part of the film, much like the latter, is spent shuttling between different planets that have their own little nitty-gritties and peculiar sets of beings. Here, the creatures range from a flying lizard man to a elephant-faced pilot to a man-werewolf hybrid.

Much like The Wachowski's 2012 epic Cloud Atlas (a brilliant film, by the way), it's Jupiter Ascending's ambition that is hard to overlook. Unlike most big-budget action extravaganzas, it has a thick and detailed premise. In fact, the casual and distracted viewers might find it hard to keep up with the film and its myriad of characters. Rather than just creating a world or a planet, there is an immense amount of attention to detail, from the planets' atmosphere to the dresses to the technology to the way of living. Instead of just creating a shallow mythology and throwing different words around, every single thing is explained in detail to provide an immersive experience to viewers, to make them feel like they know everything there is to know.

What helps further is that Jupiter Ascending is one of the most visually ravishing action films to have been made, courtesy of some inspired and breathtaking cinematography by John Toll. Whether it is the different planets like Osouros or Jupiter or Earth itself, or be it in the middle of nowhere in space, the level of imagination put into each sequence is mind-boggling. The visual effects during the action sequences, which are more in number than what you'd find in your average action flick, are astounding and one of the best that you'd have seen in any movie.

But while the plot may be unusually dense, that doesn't necessarily make it smart or impressive. The sudden blooming of love between Jupiter and Caine acts as a roadblock that slows down the proceedings a bit. Also, even though The Wachowskis try to distract you with their visual flair, they can't disguise the fact that the middle portions of the film is a bit lacking in terms of story, instead just trying to get all the characters into contention for the inheritance. There is also a distinct lack of humor in the film, something that might not have been out of place in such a movie. The film also never really manages to make you feel anything for the characters, which is never a great sign for a good vs evil film.

But who cares whether the characters live or die as long as you're getting a bang for your buck. Each action sequence is jaw-droppingly choreographed, with a lot of thought going into the buildings they want to destroy, the kind of planes they want to crash, the kind of gravity defying stunts they want to pull. Don't get me wrong, this film is complete, utter commercial fluff. But it's the right kind, the best kind of fluff that'll make you forget everything else during its crisply edited 2-hour running length.

Mila Kunis is quite decent in the role of Jupiter, an ordinary girl who finds herself out of her depth fighting wars in space. Kunis effectively portrays the fear and confusion that her character goes through at first, and the steely resolve that she develops as she realizes she's capable of much more than just cleaning toilets. Tatum seems to be in a good run of form, impressing with his performance in the recent Foxcatcher and doing reasonably well here. The part doesn't demand histrionics from him and he's more than up to the task.

Eddie Redmayne, who vowed one and all with his performance in The Theory of Everything, is actually very good as the film's main villain Balem Abrasax. He's devious, scheming and thrilling in the part, dressed up till his neck and talking in almost a whisper till he explodes in anger. He is one immensely watchable actor. Douglas Booth and Tuppence Middleton complete the trio of Abrasax siblings and they provide able support. Sean Bean doesn't die at the end of a movie, for a change, and he puts on his thickest English accent while he's alive and kicking.

To sum it up, if you're going into the theater expecting an intense cerebral experience, then you shouldn't be entering that theater. But go in expecting a reasonably smart pulpy action flick, then you're bound to enjoy yourself. It may not be The Matrix, but then nothing is.

Piyush Chopra