The Horror Honeys: Jupiter Stumbles and Then Kind of Falls and You Feel Bad...

Jupiter Stumbles and Then Kind of Falls and You Feel Bad...

A Head Honey Moonlight Review by Kat

Jupiter Ascending (2015)

I like this poster better.
There's something to be said for passion projects. They're often an expression of high art, and a look into the soul of the people who created it. For most, passion projects usually lie fallow for years, or have to be crowdfunded, or are forgotten entirely and live in the realm of "what if." The most ambitious passion project I've ever seen come to fruition is Jupiter Ascending, and I'm still baffled that it was made. From a troubled beginning, insanely ballooning costs, reworks of CGI and pushbacks on release dates, to a VERY ill advised advance screening at Sundance, Jupiter Ascending finally made it to theatres in early February.

I really wanted to love it, you guys... I really did.

The story [edited for my amusement/the true true]: Jupiter Jones was born in a shipping container on the way to America from Russia (stay with me), but had a really great horoscope and a birthmark like the people in Cloud Atlas. Now a whiny, vapid "adult," Jupiter dreams of living a life of luxury and ease but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people's houses and an endless run of bad luck, including agreeing to sell her eggs "like a chicken" at the request of her cousin (Seriously. Idiot.). Only when Caine Wise (I feel like I'm in a really bad comic book), 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, plus finding a great boyfriend. But, through a series of REALLY bad decisions that you'd expect from a 17 year old, shit gets crazy really fast and everything falls apart. Literally.

What it was: Beautiful. Utterly beautiful. The time spent on CGI re-workings and extra care taken to tweak all of the visuals made Jupiter Ascending a visual feast. The costuming was incredible and was at different times modern and ancient, making the entire cast look literally ageless. It was impossible to decide what time frame they were channeling specifically, and that made me love it all the more.

The modern elements were done with style and a unique flair, such that I didn't feel like I had seen it before, which was also a welcome surprise. Sci-Fi has the unfortunate quality of at times being a tired re-hashing of older work because, quite simply, it's the future and no one really seems to know how far they can push their technological limits. I'll hand it to the Waschowski's that they might actually have one of the more unique visions out there in the Sci-Fi genre. There are also some wonderful explosions and at least one unique fight scene that would make Michael Bay pop a woody.

Unfortunately, that's where it all ends.

Check out that range.
What it is: Jupiter Ascending suffers from some painful casting in all the wrong places. Actors who are better at their craft are relegated to minor roles, or are completely misused. Jupiter herself is a horrifyingly hollow character, and Mila Kunis is a dishwater dull leading lady. While I *do* enjoy Kunis as a comedic actress (Family Guy specifically), or in a nefarious supporting role (Black Swan), as a lead she doesn't shine, and the role of Jupiter is all about SHINING. At least, it was supposed to be. Falling back on female stereotypes and delivering some of the most trite lines I've ever heard on screen, Jupiter is pretty much the last person I'd want speaking for me or my species... let alone my gender. I *get* that she supposed to be naive and kind-hearted and blah blah blah... but it felt contrived and stiff coming from Kunis, who shows better range and more comfort in her sassier roles.

I heard that line.
Likewise misused, newly minted Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, should have gotten an additional Oscar for voice modulation ability... he whispered his dialogue throughout the entire film, and his breathy delicate delivery made the majority of it unintelligible. Except for a few awkwardly timed tantrum shouted lines: those were gold.

Channing Tatum - Hoo boy. I'll sum up Tatum's "far too complex character and backstory for what he actually is" role with one statement. "I'm a MOG. Half man, half dog... I'm my own best friend."

*Spoiler* Sean Bean is in this film. 
He doesn't die. 
That made me happy.
But I wanted to slap him for that line about the bees.

Only Spock gets to wear those ears. It's Sci-Fi law.
The inherent problem with Space Operas is that no one really knows what the fuck you're talking about, and if they say that they do, they're lying to you. Jupiter Ascending's complex lineages, histories, intrigues, eternal battles, origin stories and everything else that you should care about are utterly wasted as they are smashed together and explained in minimal detail in casual passing or not at all. However, we the audience are supposed to remember every little detail because it all comes back around at some point. If Jupiter Ascending were a book instead of a film, with appendices and lineage tables, I'd read the FUCK out of it forever. However, I might not watch the movie again.   

Where was THIS???
The verdict: The core concept of Jupiter Ascending is BRILLIANT, and I adore it... and it's very much linked to The Matrix and the unique ideas of that universe.  But, it is poorly executed and seems to be forgotten amidst the avalanche of beautiful images. Add to that a weak lead with zero charisma... and you've got yourself an opera fail whale. Like Cloud Atlas, which was also poorly received, but beautiful to look at... the issues with writing are where they both fall down. And for Jupiter, that fall is a loooong way down.

Head Honey Verdict: 2.5 narrowly escaped Sean Bean deaths out of 5