Jupiter Ascending (2/4 Stars)
Okay, so, it’s the Near Future or Present and Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is your average modern-day cleaning lady in Chicago who lives at home and dreams about how cool space is. Her shithead cousin convinces her to sell her eggs at a fertility clinic in a get-rich-quick scheme, also there’s some picture of aliens on Jupiter’s phone that she can’t remember taking. Suddenly Caine Wise (Channing Tatum, as an albino half canine half human hybrid with an incredibly unappealing accent) shows up to save her from her mundane life and tell her that she is secretly… a very important person. Then there’s like a twelve minute over-long chase scene which explains the $175 million budget and delayed release date and then a bunch of bees and weird stuff in the middle of Iowa or something? For a movie that shows a lot of shots of space in the trailer, you’d be surprised how long it takes them to get to space. This is probably the Wachowski siblings’ magnum opus love letter to Star Wars. There’s a lot of space opera in here, and I’m not saying that it’s poorly done. If you enjoyed the themes explored in The Matrix Trilogy (the value of human life, dystopian future) and you’re ready for some weird hybrid animal beings and flimsy genetics discussions, here’s your blockbuster. And while the overarching plot isn’t so bad, the movie suffers one amazingly fatal flaw: really stereotypical characterizations. You have Wide Eyed Girl Who Is Suddenly Important But Still Treated Like Property Basically, along with her love interest slash bodyguard Strong And Heroic Grizzled War Veteran With A Mysterious Past. God, I don’t know, I feel like I’ve sat through this movie about eighty thousand times. Visual interest and overarching themes don’t make up for characters you don’t care about and dialogue that sounds like The Matrix fanfiction. It’s a shame, because you’ve got a great cast that doesn’t have much to work with. The movie feels both overly long and far too short, with the more important themes and ideas left unexplored. Honestly, The Wachowski’s work much better with a trilogy of films worth of time that they can fully explore- while they’ve built an incredible world, it’s almost too much detail to cram into a little over two hours. There’s genetic experimentation and animal hybrids (way less cool than Saga), Channing Tatum has these badass space surfing boots, and rich people get to be young and beautiful forever thanks to the power of science. And that’s the thing that bothers me the most about Jupiter Ascending: it’s not really about Jupiter, at all. In fact, if Mila Kunis had been a male protagonist, she wouldn’t be princess carried by Channing Tatum 24/7 or tossed around like a dryer sheet. She might legitimately have some powers and her own weapons and, god damn it, her own space surfing moon boots. No, she has... an inheritance, and a bunch of gorgeous clothes. She doesn’t have any friends, hobbies or interests in the film (until Space Bounty Hunter shows up, that is). Most of the conflict revolves around people either wanting to marry or kill her, for reasons that are almost inexplicable, and she just… goes with it, unquestionably. She’s an utterly bland protagonist, almost completely static, and practically an embarrassment. Jupiter, as a character, encapsulates an idea of a “female power fantasy” that doesn’t even exist: what woman sits around and wishes she could be abducted, fought over and treated like shit? Instead of Stinger (Sean Bean) acting as her mentor in any useful way, he just tells her that bees recognize that she’s Genetically Superior and decides he’s destined to protect her. Jupiter isn’t trained to fight any of her enemies, instead she’s just passed around from person to Space Government Agency to person like precious cargo. When she finally utilizes her intelligence, she still proves herself to be gullible and naive. Luke Skywalker got a lightsaber, Jupiter Jones gets a weird tattoo and the chance to borrow somebody’s moon boots one time. Just go watch Star Wars and lament the gender-swapped AU Jupiter Ascending sexy female bounty hunter that Mila Kunis would have made... if she had been given the opportunity to really be the hero. You Will Enjoy This Film If You’re high and at Redbox and you saw the trailer for this one time and it’s from the people who made The Matrix, right? I guess it’ll look cool. Maybe it’s worth a few bucks. No, real talk, you will enjoy this film if you want to see Eddie Redmayne absolutely exceed your expectations as the villain because wooooooww. He plays this slimy, repugnant, oedipal complex manbaby and wears high-neck jacket future shit and god it’s so good. Also featuring scary whispery voice. You Will Not Enjoy This Film If You thought those Animorphs book covers were dumb. Rating: (2/4 Stars)