It seems the glory days of The Wachowskis have long since passed. These are the same people that revolutionized not only Sci-fi but film as a whole. They completely altered how to film action. Much like Steven Spielberg and Co. transformed how film utilizes computer generated imagery, The Wachowskis created a lasting masterpiece in The Matrix, and with a limited budget (one that potentially forced them to be more creative, one could argue). However, now they appear to be following in the same vein as Peter Jackson and The Hobbit Trilogy (i.e. a near limitless budget and then negate story for CGI generated everything). Aside from an appreciation for the more unique details of Jupiter Ascending, it’s as generic and forgettable as they come.
In Jupiter Ascending The Wachowskis appear to have lost whatever it was that made them special. Their last well-received film was released in 1999; at some point they need to re-examine how they operate. They need to resort back to when story was considered above all else, and in order to convincingly bring the story to life, fleshed out and original characters must be created. They showed their creativeness is not totally gone with their previous release, Cloud Atlas, but that film for most was simply too much to enjoy. With J.A. they show signs of it but it suffers from a severe lack of coherency or originality. The hero saves the damsel in distress and the planet while he’s at it. Mila Kunis’ character is simply a plot device to carry the other characters from point A to point B. She is a means to show how heroic and selfless Channing Tatum’s character truly is and by the end it is tiresome. Repetition is the name of the game here and there is plenty of it. For example; Kunis’ character falls off of escarpments and high rises at least five times and Tatum’s character must swoop in and catch her in the nick of time (much like Neo does in The Matrix Reloaded… Just saying).
The driving force is a singular character whose purpose is supposedly far greater than ever imagined. And yet this character (Kunis) is by far the most out of place person in the entire film. And her hero counterpart isn’t much better – the always shirtless Channing Tatum, the man who can’t seem to locate a shirt and never seems interested in finding one… he’s handsome, we get it! It wouldn’t bother me if they could just find a reason for it. There is an entire action sequence and scene transition where he shows off the nips and it has no purpose whatsoever. Do I get to see Kunis’ nips? Of course not! It isn’t fair! But I digress.
In summation this is a forgettable action flick that has the prowess to entertain if only one time. After a delay of nearly seven months all signs pointed to failure. The execs realized this was definitely more of a January/February kind of release which would explain the real reason behind its move. It is old style storytelling where the leading man is indestructible and the female lead is an absolute dullard. She has moments of humor and wit but these feel like veiled, half-assed excuses for creating such a two dimensional, useless character. She is there to be rescued, that’s it. Lower your expectations as low as possible and you won’t regret watching the movie. If you skip it however you should know you aren’t missing much. I should have been thrilled but I was nowhere near it.
Rated PG-13 For: some violence, sequences of sci-fi action, some suggestive content and partial nudity
Run Time: 127 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne
Directed By: The Wachowskis
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3/ Acting: 2.5/ Directing: 3/ Visuals: 5
OVERALL: 2.5 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer below:
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