When a movie is based on a plot that plays across galaxies, you need more than just a great landing and stunning visuals to pull it off and convince the audience of its authenticity. Unfortunately, Jupiter Ascending fails on this front, thus pushing into the background the brilliance of some of its elements.
Starring Channing Tatum as Caine and Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones with Eddie Redmayne, Tuppence Middleton, Sean Bean and Douglas Booth among others acting as their supporting cast, the Wachowski duo of Andy and Lana are the directors as well as those responsible for the screenplay of Jupiter Ascending. The Wachowskis are well known for the stretches of imagination their screenplays can delve into and this has always been a strength that fans as well as critics have admired in the team. This time around though, the foundation necessary for the story to take root in the minds of the audience is surprisingly absent and although the concept of Planet Earth being merely a bolt in the universal machinery does come across, the depth of it all simply fails to reach us.
The fight between good and evil exists throughout the movie except that we don’t quite grasp what each one wishes to do next. Yes, we understand the larger scheme of the power struggle but what actually goes down in the movie is hardly sewn together in the narrative. No, it isn’t only about the Wachowski brilliance that is missing here. It is about the absolute absence of any sane link between the beautiful graphics and the incoherent ramblings in the storyline.
“Your Earth is a very small part of a very large industry”, goes one line in the movie, and the biggest disappointment lays in the fact that the narrative in this one never gets strong enough to convince us of this. Good movies lure us into the plot and make us believe that what’s happening is indeed real. Great movies make us forget everything else. Movies like Jupiter Ascending simply make us believe that we should have read the reviews before actually spending money on the tickets!
The only saviors are the beautiful cinematography and eye-catching sequences that run throughout the movie. Some of the sequences on Earth too are beautifully shot while there is no dearth of extravagance in handling the ones that depict the scenes outside our planet. The movie deserves full marks for its visuals but sadly, indulging in great moviemaking isn’t only about the visuals. If only Andy and Lana Wachowski had given Jupiter Ascending the narrative it deserves, this one would have blown every other out of the waters. As far as movies set in space and those with alternate existential theories go, this one truly had potential.
Sadly, this aim remains unfulfilled and Jupiter Ascending remains a visual treat that does little to rein in any of the other senses, and therein lays its misery and failure.