After a quick set-up that depicts the tragic short life of Jupiter’s father, we watch Mila Kunis in the latest Wachowski blockbuster cleaning toilets. A sudden cut to another planet, a homage to the Star Wars universe, has three siblings plotting, before the film moves back to a repetition of Jupiter cleaning toilets. "I hate my life." Cut to the arrival of Channing Tatum and three bounty hunters from another planet battling it out in the streets of modern day Chicago. Cut to another planet and the awful Eddie Redmayne lying on a levitating sofa, softly hissing his lines in a monotone voice. Cut to a beautiful blond wearing lingerie asking Jupiter her advice on dating. In the first fifteen minutes, the Wachowskis have packed so much onto the screen however little of it makes sense. In 3D the images are glorious, however the narrative is problematic to say the least.
Kunis plays a Cinderella type named Jupiter (Mila Kunis) who cleans other peoples homes for a living, she lives with a large bickering working class Russian family. One day she visits a fertility clinic only to be operated on by aliens. She is saved by Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), he is her protector and surprisingly as it turns out, Jupiter is revealed as the Princess of the Universe. Wrapped up in a complex web of intrigue involving three siblings who happen to be members of a royal family. Jupiter happens to share their dead mothers genetic identity. They rule planets in a galaxy far far away, though I think Balem (Redmayne) resides on Jupiter. The characters in space recall a roman opera, perhaps Redmayne is going for an IClaudius characterisation, who knows. The film shifts between Earth and Space for the first fifty minutes before the space portion takes over. This allows the miniature Kunis to be draped in some flamboyant costumes and Redmayne to continue his hissing with the occasional bouts of histrionic shouting.
Jupiter Ascending is rarely boring, and the homages to other classics abound. From Back to the Future 2, checkout the levitating speed racing boots worn by Tatum, to Superman, The Terminator, Star Wars, Star Trek, Brazil (lookout for Terry Gilliam) and of course The Matrix trilogy. The box office returns on Jupiter will most likely ensure the Wachowskis are never afforded the artistic license to spend 175 million dollars without the intrusion of the suits. In an era of an assembly line of Marvel films and by the numbers sequels that is a sad reality. However for all its ambition the film rarely soars except when Eddie blesses us with his theatrics.