Jupiter Ascending

jupiterGenre: Action/Sci-Fi Certificate: 12 UK Release Date: 2nd February 2015 Runtime: 127 minutes Director:  Andy WachowskiLana Wachowski Writer: Andy WachowskiLana Wachowski Starring:  Channing TatumMila KunisSean BeanEddie Redmayne Synopsis: A woman in a dead-end job is targeted by a powerful galactic ruler, as she tries to avoid him with the help of a genetically engineered soldier. Rating: 4 stars.

Warning this Review may contain Mild Spoilers.

I did find this a very hard review to write, having only seen the film the night before, much like most epic Science Fiction I think this is a film that will take several re-watchings before the all nuance has been absorbed by the viewer, but I will try my best as it is nice to review something that is still in the cinema. Alright so, cards on the table if your not sure if you want to see this just think it’s like the matrix if they raided the wardrobe and sets from Flash Gordon. and yes that’s including Brian Blessed’s,Hawkman wings. Now don’t get me wrong the Matrix is in my top five films of all time so I trust the wachowskis with this but the compairsons are inevitable. So, Mila Kunis is cast as Neo, I mean Jupiter Jones, a woman in a dead-end job, discontent with her lot but lacking the motivation to change this. The one difference between the characters is unlike Neo she doesn’t think that she is the worlds most special snowflake. When hunted by aliens she is protected by, Caine (Channing Tatum) in the Trinity role. Having never seen Tatum  in this kind of role, he really shows he can play the hero role and has good action chops. Tatum and the plot is the biggest matrix comparison as he then proceeds to spend the next 127 minutes following Trinity’s exact plot act from the first film. I mean there is sticking to what you know and then there is recycling dialogue. If there is one thing ‘missing’ from the film it is Morpheus, here cast as Sean Bean. He does appear and the riff on Morpheus explaining to Neo the plot, is some very well directed suitable humor that went down well with the audience. I would have liked to have seen Sean Bean in a bigger role. Although the Wachowskis had clearly spend a lot of time building the universe a lot of this was pushed to the background for the fast paced action scenes, a bit of Morpheus style exposition wouldn’t have gone amiss would would have really helped flesh the film out and really helped make it ‘about’ something. The one weak link in the film is the films primary antagonist Eddie Redmayne as (there is no matrix comparison so lets call him Ming the Mercless) Balem Abrasax. I had two problems with Redmayne, although he is a good actor he seemed to be channeling Ralph Fiennes’, Voldemort so intensely I do have to ask why the didn’t just cast Ralph Fiennes who I think would have played the role better. The leads me on to my second problem, unlike the films other named antagonists, who were both younger actors made up to look older, so they could be rejuvenated, Redmayne is never regenerated, and since the makeup is no where close to being as good as in the Wachowski’s ‘Cloud Atlas’ I really do have to ask why an older actor wasn’t cast in the role, say Ralph Finnes. The action scenes themselves were well done, well directed and well acted, although were a little cluttered and blurry, although that may have just been the 3D and no where near as Iconic as anything in the matrix. That being said they were fun enjoyable and Channing Trinity’s Gravity Boots are easily one of the coolest pieces of Sci-Fi hardware since the Ironman Suit. The one downside of a lot of this is the effects, which dont get me wrong were excellent, however, I do generally prefer practical effects over CGI which I find tends to look poorer quickly. But I do understand practicle effects do have their limits and without CGI you might as well just re-watch Flash Gordon. To me the real revelation in the film was the character Jupiter Jones, I found it very refreshing to see a contemporary female antagonist that is neither Badass or Wimp. She asked as a real person might, not running to get escape or cowering waiting to be saved, but running to survive. That being said she went along with big revels and revelations very easily although this may have been due to heavy editing to put the actions scene to the foreground of what could have been otherwise I top class film. Maybe this may be changed in any future squeals but I feel by then Jupiter will be comfortably set in modern, more familiar Badass territory. Kunis herself shows her true acting ability, reminding us why was Golden Globe nominated,easy navigating her way through the scenes and showing some good chemistry with Tatum. In a similar vane, without wishing to spoil too much of the ending, it was also a very refreshing ending with Jupiter choosing neither one life or the other as SHE had not truly come to terms with her new understanding of the universe and her role in it. When all is said and done, I really did enjoy this film and do hope the Wachoskis are given the green-light for the sequels, here’s hoping the sequels involve more world building and less recycled matrix plot line. Overall a solid 4 Stars.

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