Thursday, February 12, 2015

Jupiter Ascending Review

I'm always down for a good sci-fi movie, which is why when I first heard of Jupiter Ascending I was actually fairly excited, especially since it was being made by the Wachowskis and had a fairly decent cast. While the Wachowskis haven't been on the greatest run since making The Matrix, I was still hoping for a return to form. After all, this was a summer movie, right? It should be really fun. But then it got delayed from this past July till now. That's when all kinds of red flags went up in my mid. They claim was they wanted to finish the movie, but in reading between the lines I began to worry if perhaps they didn't feel confident about what they were putting on the screen. Did they think that their movie wasn't good enough to compete with the other summer blockbusters? Is this why they chose to release the movie in February where they didn't have to compete with superior blockbusters? I mean, wanting more time to make sure the movie is as good as possible is something I can respect. But from July to February? I became nervous. But I was still hoping that it would be good. Then more trailers started to arrive and suddenly I began to realize that this movie is probably going to suck. But wow! Even with low expectations, I totally didn't expect the pile of garbage that I got when I saw it. This movie is terrible!

Let's start with the opening scene. Here we have a happy young couple where the wife is very pregnant. Nothing wrong so far. But then they start obsessing over the wife's bare pregnant belly. They lift up the shirt a bit so they can both stare at the belly and then the husband grabs Vaseline to rub it all over her belly and starts kissing it over and over and over. Maybe this is something married people do all the time, I don't know. I'm not a married person. But to me it started to get awkward. Not sexual or explicit. Just awkward. The kind of awkward you feel if your friend, roommate, or sibling just starts making out in front of you and they don't stop despite the fact that they can obviously tell you're uncomfortable. I was begging this movie to move on, but it didn't. It just dragged on. Then this husband brings up this weird idea of naming their daughter Jupiter while he's pretty much making out with his wife's belly. The wife doesn't like it and for good reason. Who names their daughter Jupiter? But of course, since you know the title of the movie already, you know what's going to happen next. I felt zero remorse when it happened because they just both annoyed the heck out of me in that opening scene.

Not a good start. But oh well. Perhaps the rest of the movie would be entertaining. Can't get any worse, right? Ha! By goodness it can! Mila Kunis, who plays Jupiter, is raised in this Russian household in Chicago where they treat her terribly by making her wake up at 4:45 a.m. every morning and do all the chores like make breakfast, clean the house, scrub the toilet, etc. Just like she's Cinderella. Then I got thinking. The opening was the exact same as Finding Nemo. Then we get Cinderella. I thought the Wachowskis were known for coming up with their original ideas? Negative points for being unoriginal. But let's continue. Shortly after watching Kunis' boring life with this not-so-fun family, she is in the room of a female friend(?) helping that friend pick out a dress. Friend is just standing in her underwear because she can't decide which dress to wear when suddenly aliens arrive in the room. Suddenly nearly naked friend is in a trance and is being lifted up in the air. What does Mila do? Run? Hide? Help her friend? Nope. Let's just get out our phone and calmly take a picture. Because, you know, that totally makes sense. Why would she help? And of course, she forgets the whole thing Men in Black style.

I'm not here to describe the whole plot scene by scene. But I did want to do that to paint a picture of how terrible this movie is when it starts off. I don't know how long it took to get to the main action, but it was all super boring and terrible. But perhaps this movie was going to be a lot of fun once it got going. Oh my goodness. Nope. In fact, I am here to tell you that it got a lot worse. This movie went downhill rather quickly. You know how I picked apart the opening of this film in the previous two paragraphs? I kid you not, I could do this for the entire movie. I mean, after we present in a terrible way of how Mila Kunis' life is boring, suddenly she is trying to buy a telescope for some reason, then she is doing this operation that has nothing to do with anything when the doctors turn into aliens and try to kill her when suddenly Channing Tatum, who is part dog (not as weird Sean Bean who is part bee) arrives to rescue her because for some reason she is like the most important woman in the universe which starts this absolutely freaking ridiculous plot of them fighting over her and earth and something weird and crazy with none of it being executed very well at all. Convoluted is a popular word being used to describe this movie and I'd say that's pretty accurate. This movie lost me really quickly and I never recovered or experienced even one sequence of entertainment.

I was told in a film class that I shouldn't just completely rip a movie apart and call it complete garbage. It takes a lot of time, effort, and money to make. Each film is someone's personal project that they spent a very long time on, so I should try to find the good in each movie. Ummmmm... ok. This movie looks really pretty, so long as you ignore the fact that visually it looks exactly like Phantom Menace. Channing Tatum is actually really good in the movie. Sure, I respect the amount of time it took to put this thing together. But I have to be honest. The final product was a mess to me. Speaking of Channing Tatum, let's talk about a few more the actors. Mila Kunis. She looked bored. That worked for the beginning because her character is supposed to be bored with life. But the problem is she never got unbored. She shows very little emotion the whole movie. Not to mention she was just a useless damsel in distress for the whole movie. I mean, how many times did Channing Tatum have to rescue her? A lot. That's not her fault, though. That's the writers' fault. If you're making a movie where the female character's name is in the title of the movie, she should probably be a strong female character that actually does something, especially if she's the most important girl in the universe.

Moving on to another actor that deserves his very own paragraph. Eddie Redmayne. The man did a decent job in Les Mis. His performance didn't stand out, but it wasn't bad. Then he did this movie called The Theory of Everything. Personally I thought the movie was a bit overrated, but I can't argue with the fact that Eddie Redmayne totally knocked it out of the park as Stephen Hawking. No I don't think he deserves to win the best actor award over the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Bradley Cooper, or Michael Keaton, but I'm not going to deny that he did an amazing job. The guy is a good actor and I'm excited for his future. But holy cow! Whatever he was told to do in this movie just didn't work out at all. I don't know who all to blame for this, but this performance was outright terrible. In fact, this is so bad that those people who didn't see Les Mis or The Theory of Everything just may walk out of the theater thinking that Redmayne is a really bad actor and regardless of what he does in the future, I really think that there are going to be a group of people that will be forever scarred by his terrible performance in this movie and may never forgive him for it. I really hope that this doesn't ruin his career.

Man, I've talked so much about this movie that I think it's time for me to wrap it up. However, the sad thing is that I feel that there is a lot that I have left out that I could've talked about. Alas, I do realize that people's attention spans aren't always that big when reading movie reviews, so I'm not going to say all that I could say because that would take way too long. Needless to say, this movie was a disaster. I was hoping for it to be good. Even though it was delayed to February, trailers looked bad, and reviews were coming in poor, I still went in hoping that I was going to be at least somewhat entertained, but I wasn't. I know people spent a lot of time on this project, but the honest truth is that the final product really isn't that good at all. In fact, this was a painful experience for me that made me feel trapped in the theater. Yes, the movie looked pretty and some of the acting (namely Channing Tatum) was good, but in the end I'm going to give Jupiter Ascending a 4/10.

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