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Synopsis


Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning toilets and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), 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. [From Warner Bros. Synopsis]

 Jupiter Ascending
From the first trailer Jupiter Ascending was met with a whole lot f head scratching. Internet buzz didn't seem to quite know what to make of it with it's odd make up designs and it's seemingly huge scale. I was sort of the same but something else hit me. This looked a whole lot like European comic book series Skydoll to me and I dug the hell out of that. It shared so many similar visuals I assumed Jupiter Ascending was a straight up adaptation of Skydoll that the Wachowskis renamed or at the very least stolen the idea and made it their own. This element excited me. Skydoll's mix of religion, politics, sex and flat out fun could very well have given the Wachowski's similar results with bringing Europeon comic worlds to the masses like they'd had with The Matrix, when they pillaged the best of anime and repackaged it for a crowd that were good and ready for it.

Sadly though this isn't Skydoll at all (though it's clearly stealing parts still) and even more upsetting it takes Jupiter Ascending about 15 minutes to collapse for all the wrong reasons. Nothing here quite fits. Cane's hover skates are so awkward and hard accept as a cool visual and the alien characters here, flying about in an Earth based city is just a smidge too much like the Masters of the Universe film to take seriously at times. Add this to some pretty bad voice choices for Redmayne's un-effective bad guy and nothing ever quite hits but it's not really until the story hits Jupiter square in the face that this all starts losing its footing and slipping into real disappointment.

 Jupiter Ascending
Dramatic beats just feel awkward, everything moves too fast and Jupiter becomes vastly uneven and hard to like. Yes, she's sort of a Disney Princess, so the initial scenes with her are forgivably wide eyed and an overkill of fairytale type situations (shitty family and a less than princessesq lifestyle) but her underwhelmed reactions to her revealed intergalactic royal background and her adventures in space are so underplayed and sort of dumb with a series of really dumb semi-sarcastic one line responses to things, she becomes more like a pretty cardboard cut out moving through events rather than a character.

So anyway, the moment it goes wrong. Jupiter goes to donate her eggs for money, in a monetary deal that almost makes no sense to be involved in but the actual procedure goes from normal to full on sci-fi weird in a heartbeat and it gives us literally no time let that sink in. That continues throughout the film. The largely out of nowhere, unconvincing but always expected love story, the curve balls that hit with a dull thud rather than weave in naturally and really the whole thing begins to rely a whole bunch on very well staged action sequences that are often too long and wash over you rather than invite you in to enjoy the fun.

I know Jupiter Ascending was bumped back six months or so from its initial release and I can only imagine it was because it was too long and there was a battle for the final edit or something because the Wachowskis are so much better than this usually. I mean things like the Matrix Sequels, Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas landed with mixed opinions but at least structurely they tell a cohesive and engaging story (I totally love Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas by the way).

By the end Jupiter Ascending is sort of a beautiful mess. I know and appreciate what the film is trying to be, I don't really dislike any of it either but it hurts that barely any of it works. It feels like being at a party where the music just isn't getting the crowd going but the host has all the best intentions for this to be the best party ever. It's so disappointing because I so wanted to be the one voice in the crowd defending this one, I wanted this to be a visual treat that keyed into European comic books it's clearly celebrating and let the rest of the world see the beautiful stories they hold within their pages but even now on my second viewing (that I actually went into with a positive feeling that I'd just not 'got it' the first time around) was met with me scratching my head asking why doesn't this damn thing work?!

 Jupiter Ascending

Video


From the opening Warner Bros. Logo (which looks glorious with its themed etchings) this is a pin sharp image full of razor sharp edges, bright colours and crisp rich detail. Wider shots have a great sense of depth, even though it's all quite digital looking but it's gives everything a sharp edge and modern bright HD glow that never fails to impress.

Heading to space, the image gets even crisper. Black levels are deep and often full of colourful details peering out of them. The sharp edges of the alien cities and the layers of detail and textures they hold within them are so good to look at. Even the the flashy costumes and sparkly decorations really manage to twinkle with well placed lighting and the image consistently feels bright and alive.

This is a real show off modern HD presentation and it looks absolutely fantastic no matter the wacky or real world setting.

 Jupiter Ascending

Audio


Initially quite simple with a voice over and character dialogue, there's a nice depth and power to the track. The score hovers lightly in the rears and then BOOM the bad guys bust in and the volume hikes and the track hints at the power it has up its sleeve.

The score is of course super powerful, as are the booming sound effects at times of utter shooty chaos, thumping on the bass and using every speaker to great effect. The rear speakers balance well with the fronts at all times and all in all this is an incredibly playful and lively audio presentation as you'd expect from the Wachowski Starship but it balances smaller, quieter moments with the exact same precision.

Extras


'Jupiter Jones: Destiny is Within Us' (06:56 HD) focuses in on the films main character and features the Wachowski's and the cast run through her journey.

'Cane Wise: Interplanetary Warrior'(05:18 HD) is much the same but for Channing Tatum's character that is described as charming and full of charisma, something sadly Tatum is neither of in the film.

'The Wachowskis: Minds over Matter' (07:25 HD) is alot of celebration of the siblings work in the film.

 Jupiter Ascending
'Worlds Within Worlds Within Worlds' (09:36 HD) looks at the large scale of the film and it's many designs and styles.

'Jupiter Ascending: Genetically Spliced' (10:25 HD) looks at the creatures and the spliced hybrids of the film's many quirky looking aliens.

'Bullet Time Evolved' (09:35 HD) hooks into the go to buzz word linked to the Wachowskis and really just looks at the special effects featured in the film.

'From Earth to Jupiter (And Everywhere Between)' (09:34 HD) talks of the original sci-fi idea and the in depth script. It ventures into the scale, some elements of space and it's wonder and generally celebrates the film's landscape.

 Jupiter Ascending

Overall


This was my second viewing of Jupiter Ascending and the second time that I came away disappointed and baffled as to why this could be so sloppy and miss the usual focused Wachowski mark. The editing here just feels rushed, loads happens in this vastly scaled space based tale but none of it feels all that important or interesting, despite the mad set up and wild sci-fi adventures.

Original sci-fi storytelling is suffering in the world of superheroes and sequels and the Wachowskis certainly went big with this attempt to break the trend of adaptations, reboots and sequels but sadly this one just didn't work for me, even though the stellar video presentation, the super powerful audio presentation the fluffy albeit enjoyable extras certainly made up for that.  

 Jupiter Ascending


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