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March 24, 2023

Jupiter Ascending

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My first mistake was to see this in 2D and not 3D, for without the visual skullduggery it has little to offer.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that my second mistake was to see it at all when I could have been at home clearing leaf-litter out of the guttering.

Darwin’s theory of evolution is given the boot at the outset, when it is revealed that earth was ‘seeded’ long ago by people from a planet called Borus.

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis, with rather alarming lip implants) has a menial job as an office cleaner in Chicago, not knowing that, in reality, she is a lost heiress who is in line to be part of the ruling elite of Borus.

She learns this from Channing Tatum’s Caine Wise – whoever brainstormed that name should be dispatched in the Tardis – a genetically modified warrior from the planet.

Tatum and Kunis work well together, despite the mayhem and cacophony, but the trouble with sci-fi movies such as these is that the ideological or philosophical ideas that underpin them – admittedly, they are usually flimsy and unoriginal – are nearly always trampled underfoot by the drunk and disorderly crew in the effects department.

To give them and the costume people their due, however, the futuristic cities and kooky outfits are great to look at – for a while, at least – but inevitably, the film is reduced to the most primitive element of storytelling – the battle for power.

In this case, Jupiter is up against Balam, played by a husky-voiced Eddie Redmayne who, now that he’s won an Oscar, will probably be hoping that he does not have to bother with too much more acting with a green-screen. Which is not to pile too much derision on directors Andy and Lana Wachowski.

They are experts in their field (The Matrix, and as writers of V For Vendetta), but could perhaps find more fertile material in the story of Lana as a crossgender woman.

~ John Campbell

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