jupiterascendingShakespeare Would Have Liked The Plot
Jupiter Ascending
Stars: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Ajala and Terry Gilliam
Directors/Scriptwriters: Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski
Composer: Michael Giacchino
Cinematographer: John Toll
Costumes: Kym Barrett
Weinstein Brothers
Rating: PG 13 for themed material
Running Length: 127 minutes
Film critics go to screenings ahead of opening days and sometimes months ahead of opening days. Sometimes they are held at 8 a.m. and sometimes at 10 p.m. However, for the critics screening of “Jupiter Ascending,” we were treated royally (reference to film plot) and saw a Planetarium show of the planet Jupiter in the winter sky, then went to the movie house in the area for a screening of “Jupiter Ascending.”  So earthlings, the Planetarium show was spectacular, and for science fiction/fantasy fans, the special effects in “Jupiter Ascending” are spectacular. Plot will be discussed later, but hold on to your popcorn for a wild ride in 3 D.
Channing Tatum, Sean Bean and Mila Kunis star in “Jupiter Ascending,” which presents a universe of gene-splicing for special people (wolf/man or deer/woman)  for special reasons, mainly military. Kunis plays Jupiter Jones, who doesn't know she has royal genes in her from when the Earth was seeded over 100,000 years ago. Tatum is Caine, a wolf/man gene-splice (shades of the “Twilight” films) who is a hunter and in this case, a bodyguard for Jupiter once her existence is discovered. Sean Bean is Stinger (a bee/man splice) a friend of Caine and he changes sides in this conflict constantly. The matriarch of the Abrasax family has died and it is discovered that there may be siblings in the universe who may take some of the inheritance away from Titus (Douglas Booth), Balem (Eddie Redmayne from “The Theory of Everything”) and Kalique (Tuppence Middleton. They start a search and discover Jupiter on Earth, a planet they covet and want for their own. Then the chase and protection begins. 
On Earth, Jupiter is of Russian descent and this is the humorous part of the movie, when the Russian family has a meal, there are at least 10 people there and they speak Russian (subtitles) or English, cursing the former Russian governments. Caine finds Jupiter first, and tries to keep one step ahead of the execution squad while trying to convince her that this is really happening. She catches on quickly, and it is a wild, roller coaster ride to new planets, treatment like royalty (oh, those gowns), seeing new species (a lizard as a General) and meeting her untrustworthy half-siblings, who all want to do her in. What is the prize on Earth? Something unexpected.
Acting is well done with a touch of humor here and there. Channing Tatum is a muscular guardian with slightly pointed ears and a need to hunt. Mila Kunis does bored-at-home. but around-the-universe she can hold her own in a fight. Sean Bean anchors his scenes because when he speaks, everyone listens. Eddie Redmayne looks like Caligula and the first time you see him you know he is up to no good. I think the cast must have had fun working on this movie.
I counted at least seven film/television episodes that are familiar here, but they are skillfully woven into the plot that goes from one end of the universe to another. How about “Macbeth,” “Star Wars,” “John Carter,” Spider-Man” with the “Green Goblin,” “Silver Surfer” and an old “Outer Limits” episode.” Special effects go from one battle to another and some soldiers are invisible. Caine travels by way of anti-gravity shoes (jet-propelled) and he goes through the sky like a bird with jet-packed feet. (Don't try this at home). It is scenes like this that remind one of  “Green Goblin” or “Silver Surfer.”
What makes this film interesting is the articulation of their lines. Sean Bean can command your attention and Mila Kunis has a husky voice that accents her lines. Eddie Redmayne decided to whisper his, perhaps as royalty he never had to raise his voice. Channing Tatum as a wolf/man gene/splice (makes a good soldier) has a soft “grrr” in the background of his lines. Even the lizard general makes his words understood. The soundtrack by Michael Giacchino is heard in just the right spots. For all the dazzle, escapes, improbabilities, costumes and familiarity of script, this film is entertainment. Enjoy.
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner
For more science fiction fantasy film reviews, see the following:
Pacific Rim