Starring: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne, Tuppance Middleton, Sean Bean, Kick Gurry (Rated M 127 min).
The month of February has always been a traditional annual DOA dumping ground for cinema lemons. Mordecai was the first flop off the blocks and beware in the coming weeks of The Seventh Son, a lame dragon-slayer fantasy. But right now we have an extravagant $175 million space opera Jupiter Ascending that was originally set for release mid 2014.
Full of ambition and visual ecstasy, I would expect nothing less from the creators of the Matrix Trilogy, however after a pair of monumental failures (Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas), I would have thought film studios would not be so financially generous. Reasonably entertaining, no matter how amazing the special effects look, writing is key and this plot does nothing but set the bar low early.
House-cleaning for the rich and famous in Chicago, a gorgeous Russian immigrant (Mila Kunis) is intercepted by nasty aliens and almost abducted until she is rescued by her intergalactic saviour, a far more friendly pointy eared alien (Channing Tatum) who informs her she is a chosen one. As a genetically manufactured ‘splice’ of human and wolf bloodlines, Tatum is a far cry from Magic Mike. At least Mila Kunis looks the part sporting a galaxy of space gowns and jewels.
Apparently humans are unaware of true earth origins and her dust-buster character, aptly named Jupiter Jones, is next in a long line of destiny to be a ruling Queen of an elaborate alternate universe. Unconvincing romance and quiet moments are a mixed bag, as is the whole film really.
The villain who is not happy about the situation comes across like a creepy accountant rather than a menacing dictator. Actually the whole scenario turns out to be little more than a dysfunctional family feud over who owns the planet. Sibling ties argue on the rightful heir, boring. Selected action sequences give hope of more exciting things to come, they don’t.
For a unique vision, many science-fiction fans will appreciate the choreographed flair of the outer worlds reminiscent to classic Dune and Flash Gordon, but this is no Blade Runner.
Shane A. Bassett