Sometimes a movie comes along that is so powerful, brilliantly realized and massively entertaining that it makes you re-think the possibilities of cinema. That flick was made by these filmmakers once. Then, they decided to take a shit inside my mind. They give it the newspaper horoscope-centric title of Jupiter Ascending – or as the cleaning lady in this movie would call it, “Yupiter.” This flick is so bad it’s giving me notions of a massive conspiracy behind it to ensure that the Wachowskis’ name is sullied forever. Compared to this, M. Night Shyamalan has been cranking out kick-ass material for the last ten years or more.
Let’s talk sex changes. It clearly has impeded these siblings’ filmmaking ability. Before Larry turned into Lana, they were referred to as the Wachowski brothers and knew how to deliver on the screen. Now, after one of their penises got converted into a vagina, they’ve made three garish and horrendously ill-conceived bombs in a row. This new one they may never recover from. And now they are referred to as simply: the Wachowskis. In other words, there is no more soul-brother in them. The message is, keep your dick if you want to make good movies. Just to be clear, this isn’t a statement on transgenderism. Maybe it’s the brother who’s still - you know- a brother, but I felt like I got cock-slapped in the face while enjoying this piece of film entertainment in the theater.
This may be the worst movie ever made. Now, let me qualify that. There may be other flicks that have even worse writing, poor camera work, or lesser or no special effects. But given the wannabe ambition, huge budget, and partially fantastic pedigree provided by the writer/directors, this flick fails in such a way that you cannot believe what you are looking at. The only thing that I or anyone else who watches this movie is going to ask themselves is, “You jive turkeys went from The Matrix to this!?” In a rational, linear world, I don’t think that’s scientifically possible. It would be like Scorsese doing a shot-for-shot remake of Pootie Tang, or Christopher Nolan announcing the sequel to Bio-Dome (the realistic version). And honestly, both of those movies sound way more entertaining than this joint is.
Why does this movie blow goats? Well, let me count the ways. There’s no sense of reality or grounding at all. When Channing Tatum flies around in gravity boots, or lizard people threaten to kill Mila Kunis, it feels faker than a Sony executive’s apology in a press release. The plot makes zero sense. At one point, Channing Tatum explains that he’s a human whose DNA was spliced with a wolf and we sit back thinking, wow, how cool is that – I’m kidding. Why was he spliced with a wolf? What powers does it give him? Who did it? Where are they from? Who does he work for? What’s his background? Where did the gravity boots come from? Why doesn’t everybody use them? And also, why did he used to have wings? If he’s human and wolf, where do the wings come into play? Do you see how many questions I just created based on one or two lines of crappy dialogue?
The acting is 100% on the nose, and in no way is it credible. Surely all the actors know how bad of a production they are in. Mila Kunis takes her That 70’s Show persona to the outer reaches of the solar system. And boy does it sizzle – kidding, again. Channing Tatum also has a shield. Why is that relevant? So he can block stuff. Do you see how awesome the concepts behind this movie are? Who are the bounty hunters trying to kill him and Kunis? Why don’t they have shields that block the laser projectiles? Why does the Asian female assassin have these metallic circles on her nose that look like warts and are of course never explained? Are you starting to get a sense of how God-awful this tale is? From the people who brought you some of the most iconic action scenes in film history comes set pieces that would have Uwe Boll laughing them off the screen. Michael Bay is a titan of craft compared to this offering.
Eddie Redmayne competes with Channing on who can appeal more to the West Hollywood tranny demographic. The best scene is probably when a female humanoid alien who looks middle-aged gets inside a bath and becomes young again. It doesn’t mean anything to the plot or anything you’re seeing for the rest of the movie, but hey, it’s a neat concept. There’s some nice set design in there. And a shit-load of candles – outer space candles, man. The space police don’t register at all: it must have just been an excuse to give a role to Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the outer space police commander. The lines delivered by her and everyone else in the movie drip with more cheese than a Chicago deep dish pizza. And they are less thoughtful than a roomful of frat boys watching hookers perform lewd acts.
Another scene that I thought was okay was when a bicentennial man-like robot helps Mila Kunis secure her space passport. She needs to have identification to prove that she is a galactic princess, and by gum, she gets that ID. Then the robot disappears. And all the other weird mechanical space bureaucrats fall by the wayside as well. Channing Tatum is very happy for her that she got proof of being a galactic sugar-momma, or at least the reincarnation of said entity. Terry Gilliam has a cameo as some sort of document authenticator who works on a space station or something. You see, this movie is about a girl named Jupiter who is Ascending – She goes from cleaning toilets to kicking butt at the edge of reality. It’s quite a ride: Ace work. Catch it on your hotel video service when you are out of town after a semi-productive business meeting outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you dig themes about female empowerment, this may be your winning ticket. Obviously what I just said is extreme sarcasm; this flick continues to boggle my mind.