The Wachowskis deliver another epic mythology filled with interesting characters, stunning visuals, and existentialist struggles. Sadly, because its main competitor this week shares similar characteristics, I predict that SpongeBox will ultimately soar above Jupiter Ascending.
The story is unoriginal, which isn’t surprising for a Wachowski film. Their real talent has always been constructing amazing worlds around elements of other stories and ideas that inspire them. This story follows Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), the reincarnation of the murdered sovereign, who is caught up in a powerful family’s political games. Along for this ride is a genetically spliced warrior named Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), who ultimately acts as Jupiter’s protector and love-interest. The film contains moments of romance and humor, with tons of intense action scenes mixed throughout. The aerial chase through the Chicago skyline, for example, was one of the most exhilarating action scenes I’ve witnessed in months.
Unfortunately, the attempted romance felt uninspired and filled with sappy dialogue. Like most other Wachowski stories though, the remaining parts of the tale are intricately woven together with hidden meanings and somewhat clever reasons to explain away things like why no one would notice why a major city was practically destroyed.
The characters were my favorite part of the film. The Abrasax family members (wonderfully played by Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, and Tuppence Middleton) were especially delightful and manipulative. Redmayne’s facial expressions probably stood out the most for me, while the actor’s whispered delivery left me torn between like and hate.
I did enjoy Jupiter’s Earth family as well. It was fun to see the Abrasax become more manipulative and less supportive, while the Earth family became more supportive and less manipulative. Throw in the crew of the Aegis, and you have a pretty large cast of likable characters by the time the film is through.
From a production standpoint, this was an amazing film. Each scene was very well polished, especially those involving the star ships and vehicles. The props, costumes, and prosthetic makeup were also top-notch. I never once thought anything looked too much out of place, and that’s saying something considering those ears on Tatum’s character. The movie’s score was riveting and powerful. Though I would have to say the sound effects don’t live up to the visuals or the music.
In all, it’s interesting to explore a universe that is absolutely obsessed with genes and with genetic engineering. The movie suggests that advances in such technology would make time the most precious resource in the universe. When such a commodity is so closely linked to your longevity and immortality, what would you do to keep it?
I give this film a 3.4 bowties out of 5.