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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Review: Jupiter Ascending - Dune on Acid!

Title: Jupiter Ascending
Rating: 12A
Cast:
Mila Kunis ... Jupiter Jones
Channing Tatum ... Caine Wise
Sean Bean ... Stinger Apini
Eddie Redmayne ... Balem Abrasax
Douglas Booth ... Titus Abrasax
Tuppence Middleton ... Kalique Abrasax

Summary:
Illegal Russian immigrant Jupiter Jones, works as a cleaner with her mother and Aunt. However, her cousin convinces her to sell her eggs to make some money, only the doctors try to kill her rather than do what they're supposed to. She is saved by Caine West, a genetically engineered soldier and bounty hunter and finds out she is intergalactic royalty and her non-Earth family want her dead.

I really enjoyed this film. I'm not saying it's the best made, best plotted or even best acted film doing the rounds, but it is still highly entertaining. I enjoyed it from beginning to end, even if parts of it are utterly ridiculous.

This is space opera making no excuses for what it is. I have mentally started referring to it as Dune on acid, because that's the vibe I got. Rather than feuding great houses it has one great house who are looking to one up each other, and since they are functionally immortal the only way to do that is assassination with Earth the prize.

We learn in their first scene that the Abrasax 'harvest' planets and Earth is the prize plum, but I'm not going to reveal how or why because that would be a spoiler. This is actually part of the plot that makes perfect sense :).

The rest of the plot has holes you can drive a space freighter through. It felt to me as if they wanted to make the film another half hour long because huge bits of the plot are missing. Since the whole plot it completely obvious from beginning to end I can guess what they are and they might be saving them in hopes of a sequel, but they are definitely lacking. I may muse about them in a different post with spoiler warnings all over.

However, that being said, it really didn't matter a whole lot. It's not exactly a complex plot, so missing bits don't cause much of a problem and it's still an enjoyable romp. This plot is about as deep as a small puddle, but then it never claims to be anything else.

So, on to the characters:

I have seen Jupiter Jones being accused of existing only as a Mary Sue (a character who gets the guy, solves the whole plot and is simply extraordinary in all ways) - she's not. The only thing Mary Sue about her is her name. She's a really likeable, sympathetic character who is strong enough to survive, but is not the be all and end all of kick ass femininity. Mila Kunis is brilliant in the role and brings Jupiter warmth and humanity and courage.

Now if you want a Marty Stu (male equiv of a Mary Sue) let me talk about Caine Wise. He has a tragic back story; he's stacked; he's a human splice in that he has wolf in his DNA; he used to have wings; no one can beat him in battle. Now here we have a totally, one hundred percent, Marty Stu character - but I love him anyway. I have to admit I am slowly coming round to Channing Tatum - his movie choices have mostly turned me off in the past, but with this and Whitehouse Down, I have to say I rather like him. In JA he's kick ass, but vulnerable at times too without wallowing in man pain.

Sean Bean is great too. The two ladies sat next to me in the cinema had only come because Sean Bean was in it :). His character is part bee - I think it's supposed to give him really fast reflexes, but I was very disappointed he didn't actually have a sting. SPOILER (highlight to read) HE DOESN'T DIE!!!! I think the universe may be ending.

Then we have Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton as the slightly deranged Abrasax family - interstellar royalty. They're all very pretty and well turned out and slightly more evil than the next going from Kalique though Titus to Balem. They all pull it off beautifully and in different ways. Kalique is never actually proved not to be on Jupiter's side, although her main motivation seems to be the downfall of her brother Balem. Titus is an evil little shit of a playboy who uses lies and manipulation and Balem is a sociopath of the first order like a good Bond villain.

If I was going for Dune analogies I'd say Balem is the Emperor, Titus is Feyd-Rautha and Kalique is Alia before she went completely nuts. However, the actors do bring nice touches to their roles that make them their own.

The special effects are mostly superb. I was totally convinced by the cyborgs and various animal splices, along with the flying machines, the space craft and just about everything. There were only two things that I thought needed improving:
At one point there is a fight between Wise and a big dinosaur humanoid with wings and there were some long distance shot parts of it that just didn't look real.
Anti-grav roller blades - they looked ridiculous. I could have definitely lived without them :). I suppose they just didn't want him using repulsors or something like that.

There was really only one thing I didn't like and that was that a couple of the fight scenes were simply too long. There was one in particular that is the equivalent of a car chase and I was bored by half way through. It could do with cutting.

I would happily go and watch this again and it will be going on my pre-order list. It's silly, but it's exciting and fun and really easy to watch.

Have you seen Juptier Ascending? What did you think?

2 comments:

  1. In answer to your question - no, I have not seen Jupiter Ascending. Yet.
    In light of this review I will go to see it. I'm a fan of light and fluffy and the way you have laid it out here I think it's worth a look-see.

    I'll let you know what I think of it when I do.

    This was an enjoyable read - thanks!

    Cheers, Jenny
    2015 A to Z Challenge Ambassador
    @PearsonReport

    ReplyDelete
  2. So are you saying the movie is on acid or it is like watching Dune while taking acid?

    Either is fine with me.

    I did see and I enjoyed it in a big-dumb-movie way. It was a lot fun.

    ReplyDelete

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