Jupiter Ascending - DVD Review

'just when they were getting started so fluidly, the directors regress into 'Matrix sequel mode''

The Wachowski's Jupiter Ascending actually starts off with an incredible amount of promise. Jupiter (Mila Kunis) is set up as a well-storied down-trodden heroine (even if you never quite believe Kunis as 'down-trodden') and, before you know it, Channing Tatum has turned up as a wolf hybrid with anti-gravity boots, shooting things out with Wachowski regular Doona Bae, amongst others. Things progress markedly in fleeting scenes of Eddie Redmayne channelling Paul O'Grady and a dying aesthete.

But, just when they were getting started so fluidly, the directors regress into 'Matrix sequel mode'. The second two acts of Jupiter Ascending are marred by possibly the most plodding storytelling we'll see all year, as galactic treaties are explained, broken and re-explained. When that isn't happening, double crosses are teased, teased some more, made obvious, reversed, teased again and then revealed. The action skips from one sightly locale to the other, for no other apparent reason than to give the set designers something to do. Slowly but surely, everyone loses any ability to have any impact on the plot, as Jupiter is shuttled between powers with Caine (Tatum) and others in hot pursuit.

Somehow, in all of the shuttling, there are things that, whilst perhaps not good, do at least emerge as interesting. Michael Giacchino's unrestrained score might not befit the film, but it does scream 'space opera' particularly during a battle late on. Said battle, which takes place amongst Earth's rooftops, might not be refined, but it does have the base Action thrills The Wachowski's search for elsewhere, largely without success. A short segment taking its lead from the films of Terry Gilliam has absolutely no place here, but in isolation it is probably one of Jupiter Ascending's best moments, featuring a cameo which indicates a lightness of touch missing elsewhere.

There is also perhaps something about cultural acceptance lurking at the back of the script (Jupiter is described as an 'illegal alien'), but quite how that idea was ever going to get developed in amongst the space guff is anyone's guess. This is largely a turgid trial of a film, from directors who urgently need to take things less seriously and rediscover their sense of fun.




Jupiter Ascending is released on UK Blu-ray and DVD from Monday 29th June 2015.


By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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