Sunday, February 8, 2015

Jupiter Ascending

Movie Name: Jupiter Ascending
Year of Release: 2015
Director: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Stars: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Doona Bae, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Christina Cole, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tim Pigott-Smith, James D'Arcy, Kick Gurry
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5

The Wachowski siblings are back, following the fantastic "Cloud Atlas" with another foray into science-fiction. "Jupiter Ascending" follows the story of Jupiter Jones, a young woman, descendant from a Russian family, who suddenly finds herself in the midst of an inter-galactic battle over her destiny. Jupiter is a reincarnation of the dead monarch of the Universe, and the descendants of that monarch are battling over the reigns of different planets, one of each is Earth. Jupiter gets abducted, and hot on her trail, is her savior Caine Wise, a former military hunter enamored of her.
The Wachowski siblings have always been intelligent film makers, mixing interesting theories and complex scenarios, with a comic book sensibility, which has allowed them to walk a fine line between art and big budget action extravaganzas. "Jupiter Ascending" is however a minor effort in their careers - the film focuses on the dynamics between the innocent and naive Jupiter Jones, who unbeknownst to her is an all powerful monarch, and the genetically engineered hunter Caine Wise who falls in love with her. The problem with this apparently simple scenario, lies in the fact that the heroine has a lack of an apparent life and seemingly, of any sense, reason or intelligence (it doesn't help that the character is played without any real sense of interest or dynamics by Mila Kunis). The story has interesting elements, and it's clearly influenced by David Lynch's "Dune" and Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" (who has a great cameo), but sadly these are not expanded enough to make the film compelling. Visually the film is stupendous, featuring the beautiful cinematography from John Toll, while the production design from Hugh Bateup and costumes from Kym Barrett are simply gorgeous. It's a film that anchors itself in a heroine devoid of personality (a sad throwback to heroines who do nothing but get in danger and hope the male counterpart saves them), and regrettably that mitigates all the interest and compelling narrative points that the script sets in motion. For all the sound and fury the film beautifully displays, it ends up strangely hollow.