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Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending PosterI’d seen a bit of buzz about Jupiter Ascending, both positive and negative. I didn’t get around to watching it until this week.

The science is absurd, the plot is completely over the top, and about 3/4 of the way through, I figured out why it was working for me.

Spoilers Beyond This Point

This is a movie that has zero f**ks to give.

  • Channing Tatum as a half-dog hunter who used to have wings? Sure!
  • Anti-gravity skates? Go for it!
  • Bees are genetically able to recognize royalty? Why not!
  • Sean Freaking Bean? Yeah … better yet, let’s allow him to live through the whole movie!
  • But wait, something’s still missing. Oh, I know! Let’s add some flying lizard dragon people!
  • Three villains, each more over-the-top than the last? Of course!
  • Not to mention dialogue like, “I am not your damn mother.”
  • And makeup/prosthetics people running around shouting, “Bigger ears!” and “More random circuits glued to his face!” and “More elephant trunk!”

In so many respects, this is a bad movie. It has a plot that’s less linear and more like an out of control lightcycle from Tron careening and ricocheting from one set piece to the next. The core premise that Earth is nothing but a farm, one of countless such planets, all so that humans can be harvested to make immortality juice? And also random genetic reincarnation? Calling this science fiction is a slap in the face of science.

Which is kind of the point. It’s not meant to be science fiction. It’s a space fairy tale, with dragons and villains and royalty and an evil prince trying to marry the heroines and a knight in a horrible blond goatee. It’s the heroine’s three challenges — fairy tales are all about the number three. Heck, Jupiter’s opening scenes where she’s getting up at 4:45 in the morning to go scrub toilets and clean houses is so Cinderella.

This is Lana and Andy Wachowski playing, making a movie not to win awards or revolutionize a genre or change the world. I’ve got to believe they spent many a night, possibly drunk, saying things like, “Wait, let’s set this part on a refinery on the planet Jupiter.”

“Awesome! Wait, why do we need a refinery on Jupiter?”

“So we can blow it the hell up!”

I really liked Mila Kunis’s portrayal of Jupiter, the mistakes she makes along the way, her sense of being completely in over her head, her fight scene at the end… (Thank you for letting her beat the final bad guy instead of having to be rescued. I mean, she gets rescued after beating the final bad guy, but that’s only because nobody bothered to give her some anti-gravity skates of her own.)

Then the ending is all, “And they lived happily ever after, dammit!”

“But what about the other two siblings who–

“Happily. Ever. After!”

“Her family has no money!”

“HAPPILY. EVER. AFTER!”

All right, then. They all lived happily ever after.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
deborahblakehps
Nov. 26th, 2015 01:50 am (UTC)
And now I want to go see this. I love a good bad movie.
(Deleted comment)
jimhines
Nov. 26th, 2015 02:46 am (UTC)
I was bummed we didn't get one last shot of Sean Bean.
davesmusictank
Nov. 26th, 2015 02:22 am (UTC)
Perhaps it is one to avoid unless you are in the mood for a bit of sillyness.
jimhines
Nov. 26th, 2015 02:45 am (UTC)
I suspect if you're not in a mood that's amenable to some silly, this one would fall very flat.
swan_tower
Nov. 26th, 2015 02:33 am (UTC)
I got sold on seeing it via a review I no longer have the link for, but from which I recall the main takeaway: at one point while watching it the reviewer's friend leaned over and whispered, "is this what it's like being a straight dude all the time? Like somebody took your prepubescent fantasies and threw a hundred million dollars at them?"

We have had countless equally gonzo nonsensical adolescent male extravaganzas, and often didn't bat an eyelash at them. I love Jupiter Ascending for being an equally shameless fantasy for girls. You're secretly a super-rich space princess with the power to save the Earth! Here's your genetically engineered instinctively loyal anti-gravity skating winged dog-boyfriend! Have fun!
jimhines
Nov. 26th, 2015 02:47 am (UTC)
I've seen similar comments elsewhere.

Not just the power to save the Earth. You actually *own* the freaking Earth! :-)
etherial
Nov. 26th, 2015 01:52 pm (UTC)
My assessment was "This came straight from Lana's inner Lisa Frank notebook."
dr_phil_physics
Nov. 26th, 2015 02:35 am (UTC)
Pretty much my assessment. Beautiful film. Big, long action scenes. Collatoral damage galore.

We saw it in IMAX 3D, and after turning our science filters to zero, had a glorious good time. The ending was a nice riff on the Cinderella fairy tale.

Mila Kunis was just right.

Dr. Phil
(Deleted comment)
jimhines
Nov. 26th, 2015 04:52 pm (UTC)
That is an excellent description!
leadinggoalie
Nov. 26th, 2015 04:26 am (UTC)
Nice...!!
datista
Nov. 26th, 2015 05:04 am (UTC)
I had a love/hate reaction. It's BEAUTIFUL, the F/X are amazing, and then there's the "plot" which ends with every other planet in the universe being farmed for the space vampires, but that's okay because Jupiter has her not-quite werewolf (who she can't take home to the family) and the title to Earth, and when she dies, it's not going to revert to anyone, so we're free to ruin our planet and have extinction-level pollution in about 100 years.

I just hated how it ended. I wanted more. If she killed off all three of "her" kids, and got control of their shares and stopped the slaughter on other planets and there was air-scrubber tech she brought home... something other than the utterly selfish "I have a boyfriend, and I'm a secret princess, go me!" ending set up by the world building they did.
notalwaysweak
Nov. 26th, 2015 06:49 am (UTC)
It is an utter delight! I saw it with a big group of friends the first time and we were like 'I want a sequel?' 'Sequel? I want a FRANCHISE!' And then I had to go see it again because it was just that splendid.
dickgloucester
Nov. 26th, 2015 07:29 am (UTC)
It was spectacular, I'll give you that, and Sean Bean not dying was nice, but...

My seven-year-old declared that it was more interesting to look at the banisters; my fourteen-year-old went to sleep for a while, I think; and I spent half the film thinking about crochet.

It weighted rather too heavily on the bad side of the 'good-bad film' balance for me.
fantasyecho
Nov. 26th, 2015 08:24 am (UTC)
It made me go home and immediately start a fan Tumblr, which is kind of saying something.

To my delight I realized very quickly that I could use a basic formula for the tags: "space [noun]"

And I don't understand how it's a bad movie when equally terrible movies with just as little sense get hailed as cinematic masterpieces.
jimhines
Nov. 26th, 2015 05:18 pm (UTC)
Is there a link to this fan Tumblr? :-)
fantasyecho
Nov. 26th, 2015 05:55 pm (UTC)
http://ascendants-unite.tumblr.com/

I have not updated in AGES, not since the fandom took off so wonderfully, so completely, that it practically is not needed anymore.

fuckyeahjupiterascending.tumblr.com does a great job of curating cool JA stuff though.
ironed_orchid
Nov. 26th, 2015 10:14 am (UTC)
This was my favourite movie last summer (February is summer where I live). Thanks to friends who wrote reviews, I went in expecting an over the top ridiculous story about a space princess, and that was exactly what I got. I've seen it on big and small scenes, and adore it pieces.

I can't remember if I read this review on The Daily Dotbefore or after I saw it, but I love this bit:
And if the people trying to market it had realized it was a girl-friendly fairytale with the same appeal as cult classics like Flash Gordon, Labyrinth, and Barbarella, then perhaps they would have made some real money.
bigbumble
Nov. 26th, 2015 04:13 pm (UTC)
This movie earned my rating of "Good Solid Mindless Pulp". Sit back, turn off your brain and enjoy.
mt_yvr
Nov. 26th, 2015 04:31 pm (UTC)
Space Opera done right. That was, and is, my reaction to it. It's got tech that works "Because Reasons" and plots that are soap opera level "say what? she's your MOM?". I LOVED it for what it was.

jimhines
Nov. 26th, 2015 05:17 pm (UTC)
I loved the ships that were a bunch of pieces all connected by magnets/gravity/magic/who cares because they look COOL!
mt_yvr
Nov. 26th, 2015 05:23 pm (UTC)
The husband made noises at them and wants one, apparently.

I loved the sense that tech and wealth were so extreme that absolutely pointless things were made ... because they could. Statues on a ship... that had floating bits unconnected? SURE. Building a world... bees that recognize a genetic pattern? It's weird but ... SURE.

We have diamond contact lenses. Like I think it's impossible some wildly wealthy person with access to tech like that to say "no, really, I want dogs with wings... and human at the same time"?

AWESOME.
engelkate
Nov. 26th, 2015 11:28 pm (UTC)

I went to see it purely on a promo pic of Balem with the caption "space ballet Voldemort" and the titles of the soundtrack alone. No trailer, no summary, nothing. I somehow got exactly what I expected without even knowing what to expect in the first place, and had an absolute blast! (I mean. Have you read those soundtrack titles. I wasn't able to breath from laughter for a while. XD)
I do understand people who don't like it. But I love it to pieces, being never-stung-by-a-bee space royalty myself. *flicks hair and waits for the boyfriend to grow wings (or build space rollerblades, I'm fine with either)*

jimhines
Nov. 26th, 2015 11:50 pm (UTC)
I had not seen the soundtrack titles. Those were perfect!
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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