Fanboy Movie Review #1 – Jupiter Ascending

[Note: I do not consider myself a movie critic. What follows is just one fanboy’s opinion based off of a single viewing of the film. Oh, and there are SPOILERS ahead, so take heed.]

As this is the first of this series, let me talk about the format. Knowing me, I could go on for pages and pages about a movie, but who wants to read a 12-page movie review? In order to keep things brief, I will use bullet points and short answers throughout.  I’ll finish up with a couple of paragraphs.  So, here go:

Jupiter Ascending!

Nice font choice!

First Impressions:  The movie struck me as a cross between Dune and a more serious version of The Fifth Element…with maybe a tiny bit of Doctor Who salted to taste. So far, so good.

What I Liked:

  • The effects are BEAUTIFUL, as well as the physical sets. There’s so much attention to detail that you could probably watch the movie many times and still catch new things.
  • The ships, the fighters, the holographic controls, all of it feels fully realized. I could buy that it could all exist given a superior level of technology.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam! Well, not really, but cool personal mechs.
  • The dragon men were pretty cool, even if they were CGI. Like the draconians out of Dragonlance.
  • The milieu feels rich, like there’s much more beneath the surface. This didn’t come from a book series, but it feels like it did.
  • Mila Kunis is in this movie. ‘Nuff said.

This frame looks like chocolate tastes. Yummy…

What I Didn’t Like:

  • As the central villain, Balem Abrasax is horrible. While Eddie Redmayne nails the rich, entitled part of the character, he looks and sounds like a fresh zombie who has just had Botox. If a villain is going to give lots of exposition, let’s try to have him enunciate clearly, okay?
  • Kalique is the most young-looking old woman ever. Oh, wait…she’s young now. Big surprise.
  • The love story is weak and underdeveloped. Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum are on screen together, so naturally they fall in love. Right? RIGHT?
  • The action sequences go on about 25% (or more) too long. The direction is often confusing, with lots of explosions, but not a lot of easy-to-define action taking place.
  • The Lady Gaga-esque wedding. Is this Whoville in space? And, Dude, you’re marrying the exact genetic replica of your MOM. *Cough, cough*… Oedipus…*cough*.
  • The Abrasax dynasty is one of the most powerful in existence, but Jupiter still has to go through the line at the space DMV like everyone else? Are we dealing with Vogons here? What does this entire sequence even add to the movie?
  • One Gundam suit crashing into the refinery is enough to bring about its eventual destruction. What’s the point in even having a shield? And shouldn’t they have a contingency plan for something like that?
  • The Queen of the Earth continues to scrub toilets even after all is said and done. Nope.
  • Get your forms address correct: Your Majesty, Your Highness, and Your Grace are NOT interchangeable.
  • If you are going to fly around in your grav-skates, with your angel-winged BF, maybe there are better places to do it than downtown Chicago…DURING THE DAY. The Watchers will be pulling extra shifts.
Mailing it in.

“Does this seem tacked on to you, Jupiter? Yeah, me too.”

Unresolved Questions (At Least in My Mind):

1.) What are Kalique’s motivations in this movie? We know what’s going on with Balem and Titus, but what about the only daughter?

2.) How many Watchers are stationed on Earth? Enough to blank the minds of potentially tens of thousands of people after seeing the flying battle with Caine, apparently.

2A.) If the Watchers caught Jupiter in her friend’s closet, why didn’t they just test her DNA at that time?

2B.) If the Watchers didn’t catch the photo on Jupiter’s phone, how did Caine know it was there?

3.) Why, exactly, are bees programmed to recognize royalty?

4.) Who were the guys who robbed Maximillian at the beginning of the movie? Were they random thieves, the mafia, or what?

5.) Why did Queen Abrasax (Jupiter’s genetic predecessor) want to die? Granted, we get that part from Balem, but why did she hate her life? Was it because the youth treatments required people to die so that she might live, or what?

5A.) If genetic reoccurrence is possible, what happens if more than one pops up at the same time? Who gets the inheritance then?

Captain Obvious

Great, so what’s the final word?

Conclusions:  I liked this movie overall. It has all the hallmarks of a pleasant, though ultimately forgettable sci-fi blockbuster.  The major story points could have been presented in a clearer fashion, but I enjoyed finding out things at the same time as Jupiter Jones, even if it meant sharing in her confusion at what was going on around her.

I can’t say that I’m a huge Channing Tatum fan, and I felt his portrayal of Caine Wise was just sort of ‘there.’ He was there to fill a role and did so adequately, but not brilliantly. But, he’s marketable nowadays, so in he goes.

This movie felt like it should have had deeper levels to it, but fell victim to the mentality that ‘we must have an action beat every 10 pages.’ It’s not anywhere in the category of Aliens, Blade Runner, or even the Wachowski’s own first Matrix movie, but if you’re in the mood for a visually appealing romp through the stars, go check it out.

And that’s how this fanboy sees it.

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