Mila Kunis Channing Tatum Eddie Redmayne Sean Bean Douglas Booth
Jupiter Ascending has spectacular special effects, production design, and flying choreography, but the dialog is unbelievably bad, in that it sounds like it was written by a high school student without a modicum of talent. Writer/directors, Andy and Lana Wachowski, must have farmed the script out or thought that it was relatively unimportant next to the visual displays. But the poor script actually kills the film as far as I’m concerned.
The set-up is rather interesting; a ruling family from another planet owns earth—literally—and unknown to earthlings uses it as a farm to produce a valuable, highly prized serum. Now that the matriarch of the family has died, the three adult siblings are vying for her ownership of earth. A complication develops in that struggle when it is discovered that the title actually passes to an earthling, who is unaware that her genetic makeup is proof that she is royal and the sole heir to earth. Also unbeknownst to her, her life is now in danger.
One of the siblings, Balem (Redmayne), sends interplanetary warrior Caine (Tatum) “good at finding things” to locate her (Jupiter, played by Kunis), which he does. However, the other two (Middleton and Booth) have their own designs on the young woman, and much of the film is devoted to the warring clashes among these groups, both on earth and in space. It turns out that Caine has an interest in protecting Jupiter, and takes any number of risks to do so. It takes some time for Caine to convince Jupiter of her heritage, in that on earth she is just a lowly maid cleaning houses. Of course, romance has to be a part of the story, and part of her destiny is that not only is she now a queen, but she will also find true love. I think you can pretty well guess who that will be.
It is easy to stay interested throughout the film; the suspense is kept at a high level, and there are multiple times of great danger. It’s just irritating that we’re continually brought back to reality by the insipid, unimaginative dialog. This is despite a group of very fine actors in Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum (they have good chemistry), Eddie Redmayne (a truly creepy, deranged Balem), Douglas Barth (Titus), and Sean Bean (Stinger, Caine’s supporter).
Go for the resplendent special effects and try to ignore dialog and the lack of character development.
Grade: D+ By Donna R. Copeland