I can scarcely remember the last time I went into a movie theater with such strong hopes for a movie. I'd read some reviews, but the gist of them was that it was still enjoyable despite having kind of a weak plot. Yeah... no. Jupiter Ascending is bad. The Wachowskis should feel bad. I picture them sitting at a dining room table, having gone through most of a bottle of wine to take the edge off how bad they should feel. Which is a lot. Spoilers below.
First off, I have to say: the movie is freaking gorgeous. It is so, so pretty to look at. But much like a supermodel stuck at a party with people she doesn't know... when she opens her mouth, you realize there's almost nothing going on, inside. Which is a shame, because so, so pretty.
The plot makes very little sense (despite a remarkably clever idea for its foundation), Jupiter Jones is less a protagonist and more of a plot device, the romance comes out of absolutely nowhere, the villains are all the same brand of skinny shampoo commercial-looking douchebags, the hero has to be reminded of his own feelings, the supporting cast are all a distracting waste of time, Sean Bean is in it and he doesn't even die. I... I just don't know which way is up, right now.
So Jupiter is an illegal alien (ha ha) living in Chicago with her Russian stereotype family. Her entire family cleans houses / apartments for a living, which she hates. Her idiot cousin has somehow convinced her to sell some of her eggs to a fertility clinic while planning to keep most of the money himself. Because of reasons. She puts up with it, which is good, because a LOT of entitled pricks are gonna be trying to profit from her genes for the foreseeable future, so she should get used to that.
Gray aliens attack her at work, namely an apartment belonging to a wealthy, hungry-looking friend. She immediately forgets about this, as the Grays have watched Doctor Who and are apparently big fans of the Silence. Jupiter goes to the clinic, where Grays dressed as doctors ID her as the one they're looking for. Enter Werewolf Channing Tatum, sporting hover boots and an energy shield he stole from Halo's Covenant.
The shield thing is impressive, as apparently its chief function is to ruin the aim of whoever's shooting at you. That is the only explanation I can think of, since he manages to destroy three aliens ships, on foot, when the enemy ships are faster, more maneuverable, and have significantly better firepower. If I try to employ logic with this picture, I'm going to give myself an anger headache, so I'd rather not.
Sean Bean plays an old comrade in arms of Channing's. He apparently has bee DNA, to justify the fact that his house is more hive than home. Bounty hunters catch up with them in time to kidnap Jupiter. They take her to the second of three obscenely rich space jerks.
Tuppence Middleton puts on clothes long enough to drop a few bombshells on our
heroine walking Macguffin:
- She's genetically identical to Tuppence's dead space mom
- This completely random coincidence means that Mila Kunis is her reincarnation (they keep using this word; I do not think it means what they think it means) and essentially owns Earth
- Humans are from space, and planted the 'seeds' of mankind on Earth about 100,000 years ago
- Earth is basically a giant breeding habitat that's ripe for the harvest, since
- Tuppence and other obscenely wealthy space humans bathe in liquefied essence of human to extend their lifespans by thousands of years
Channing grabs her and takes her to the Space Bureaucracy for a mildly amusing bit of comic relief while she gets Space Certified. She gets stamped, giving her all the agency (and personality) of a bill of sale.
The middle brother of this delightful trio of Space Jerks picks her up for dinner and a chat about harvesting Earth, and why it's a bad idea. Keep in mind, she is the physical duplicate of his mom. We good? Good. So yeah. Creepy Oedipal Creeperson asks her to marry him. Douglas Booth brings some personality to the role, but all three of these clowns are about as bland and vague as they are pretty, and they are extremely pretty.
Jupiter almost gets Space Married, until Channing Tate smashes into the Space Church to stop the wedding. Turns out Creeperson is lying, he has no plans to save Earth from the harvest. After the wedding is thwarted, he actually lets Channing and Mila go, despite having no reason whatsoever to do that.
It is at this point that Eddie Redmayne, eldest of the Space Jerks and in dire need of a lozenge, kidnaps Jupiter's Russian stereotype family, and threatens to give them the Maybelline treatment (i.e., turn them into youth and vitality products), unless Mila signs over her Space Inheritance to him. Also, he killed his Space Mom, coming as a surprise to no one.
Meanwhile, in one of the most hate-inducing scenes I've ever seen, Channing Tatum is sitting and brooding over Mila Kunis until Sean Bean comes in, describes to Channing what Channing is already feeling, and essentially just hot wires the next beat of the plot. "You already want to go do the thing! Go do the thing!" The only reason this scene exists is because a previous one engineered a delay— a delay lasting long enough to put Mila in jeopardy, when she would need rescuing again. Seriously, she's been rescued four times before this already.
Mila manages to save herself from the eldest Space Jerk, yet still needs rescuing from being sucked into the gas giant that is Jupiter. She returns home to resume scrubbing toilets, vs. doing literally anything else. Her Russian Stereotype family returns to Earth, remembering nothing. They spend thousands of dollars on a telescope for Mila. This is supposed to illustrate that they care about her and will start showing her more respect, but the moment comes off as flat since she doesn't need a telescope anymore. She can literally go to space, presumably any time that she wants.
She no longer hates her work, content with the knowledge that she secretly owns the entire planet— according to paperwork no earthling has ever seen, nor will ever see. Her situation has not improved in any way, shape, or form— except having Winged!Werewolf Channing Tatum for a boyfriend.
Going to see Jupiter Ascending would be a colossal waste of your time. It's a bad idea, and you just shouldn't do it. What's infuriating here is the absolute waste of such grand potential.
Humans are aliens! There's billions and billions out there, but we're only going to meet three of them and they're all complete assholes! See! Wacky Space Paperwork! See! Mila Kunis change outfits half a dozen times for no explicable reason! See! Eddie Redmayne arrive on a floating gold chaise that must have been deliberately ripped off from Futurama's Hedonismbot!
The movie is bad. Appallingly bad. It is a gross disappointment. Lana and Andy Wachowski should go their rooms and think really hard about what they've done. They should be ashamed of themselves.