The Wackowskis changed cinema forever with The Matrix when it burst on our screens in 1999. They followed it with two sequels which were certainly a step down and at times seemed unnecessary but on repeated viewings they showed virtues of their own. Speed Racer was next which was like eating cotton candy on acid. Cloud Atlas was an overly ambitious but was narratively challenging in unique way along with strong performances from the cast in multiple roles who is some cases played male and female characters and even different ethnicities. The latest is Jupiter Ascending which is sadly a really nose dive in quality.
Jupiter Ascending is a frankly ridiculous film but that’s not its biggest problem, I have plenty of time for camp silliness as anyone. It’s a total bore and for the mostly part is horribly cast which can’t be said for their previous films. Mila Kunis is an awful actress first and foremost, she can’t act herself out of a paper bag the only reason she gets roles is because she had a fluke of a good role which consisted of her making out with Natalie Portman in Black Swan. Channing Tatum on the other hand in recent years proved time and time again he has really range with his work with auteur Steven Soderbergh. Tatum has recently threw Jupiter Ascending under the bus admitting he didn’t even get it.
The plot is a muddled mess if I’ve ever seen one; it’s like The Wackowski took bits of all their favourite Sci-fi films and comics threw them in a blender but left it on too long so it becomes sludge. There are bits of Star Wars and Star Trek, more Trek than Wars though. Eddie Redmayne plays a inter-galactic overload which is camper than Freddie Mercury at Live-Aid and he runs the earth from space and needs to harvest the earth so they can live for centuries but Mila Kunis is the chosen one who has a claim to Earth. If that sounds convoluted it’s because it is and the film’s highlight is when for ten minutes it becomes Brazil in space where Mila Kunis’ Jupiter is escorted by a androgynous robot thought inter-galactic bureaucracy which ends with a cameo from non-other than Terry Gilliam doing a weird non-specific Eastern European accent with an epic fake beard.
I really wanted to like Jupiter Ascending but it ended up a muddled fiasco; who knows maybe on repeated viewings it will show its virtues. I initially couldn’t finish Cloud Atlas but on a 2nd go it bordered on a revelation. However Jupiter Ascending lacks the darkness and grit of Cloud Atlas or The Matrix and seems almost like an attempt to make a more kid friendly film its rated 12A and almost plays like a less fun spirited version of Guardians of the Galaxy. I do hope the box-office failure of Jupiter Ascending doesn’t hinder The Wackowskis making more films in the future because they are some of the most singular minded directors working in restrictive world of Hollywood.