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JUPITER ASCENDING

SYNOPSIS: Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people's houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along-her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.

Review by Louise Keller:
The scale and visuals of this high concept sci-fi spectacle are as extraordinary as the plot is confusing, but you have to hand it to the Wachowskis, in their creation of Jupiter Ascending, there is no shortage of imagination. At times, simply watching the onscreen creativity explosion with its dazzling effects and production design is enough; at others, it frustrates with the hammering of too many elements and far too much information to grasp. And then there are the central characters - beautiful Mila Kunis with her saucer eyes and fabulous wardrobe and Channing Tatum with his well-toned body, goatee and few words. Theatrical and imposing is scene-stealing Eddie Redmayne as the whispering villainous Balem, who wants power, control and the planet Earth for reasons we will discover.

The beginning groans with heavy-handedness as it tries to establish plot and character: the characters are an unfathomable collection of humans, aliens and hybrids. It is easy to wonder how they will all fit together, when its glamorous protagonist named Jupiter Jones (Kunis) cleans toilets and bemoans how she hates her life, living with her extended Russian family. The plot? These are some of the elements: alien royalty; the secret of eternal youth; human harvesting; the Earth's significance; Jupiter's genetic make-up.

The film grabbed my attention when muscly Tatum's genetically engineered hunter Caine Wise appears from nowhere to save Jupiter at a critical moment (she is donating her eggs to raise money to buy a telescope, as organised by her ratbag cousin, effectively played by Aussie Kick Gurry). The extensive sequence in which they jump from a 100 storey skyscraper, with Caine 'skating' through the air aided by his gravity boots is an attention grabber and one of the film's highlights. Caine and Jupiter perform a stunning midair ballet that is a mix of trapeze and acrobatic - above speeding trains, cars and massive explosions. There is no dialogue, just Michael Diacchino's thrilling score, whose operatic feel enhances the entire dramatic tone of the film.

The romance between Jupiter and Caine is endearing in a quirky way - there are some funny lines and references. I laughed when Caine states he has more in common with dogs than with her and Jupiter muses how she loves dogs. The final climactic sequence is a visual marvel, putting a full stop on a bewildering, albeit creative endeavor that occasionally offers only a faint echo of the brilliance of the Wachowski's masterpiece - The Matrix.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

JUPITER ASCENDING (M)
(US, 2015)

CAST: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Vanessa Kirby, Terry Gilliam, James D'Arcy, Gugu Mbatha-Raw,

PRODUCER: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, Grant Hill,

DIRECTOR: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

SCRIPT: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Toll

EDITOR: Alexander Berner

MUSIC: Michael Giacchino

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Hugh Bateup

RUNNING TIME: 127 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 19, 2015







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