Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum in Jupiter Ascending (2015)


(director/writer: Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski; cinematographer: John Toll; editor: Alexander Berner; music: Michael Giacchino; cast: Channing Tatum (Caine Wise), Mila Kunis (Jupiter Jones), Sean Bean (Stinger Apini), Eddie Redmayne (Balem Abrasax), Douglas Booth (Titus Abrasax), Tuppence Middleton (Kalique Abrasax); Runtime: 125; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: the Wachowskis and Grant Hill;Warner Bros. Pictures; 2015-3-D)

“An empty viewing experience, that promised much and delivered little.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Ambitious but awfully wacky space fare junk by the Lana andAndy Wachowski sibling team, noted for the Matrix series. It left this viewer aghast at how ill-conceived and emotionally bankrupt the long-awaited film is. It has no such Matrix magical charm. Great visuals alone do not necessarily guarantee a good film, as the siblings can still dazzle by putting on a good show but really stink at putting together an involving story and characters manifesting real human emotions. The pic is not appealing, as its presentation is heavy-handed, its plot is chaotic, and the narrative is never even remotely credible. It proves to be an empty viewing experience, that promised much and delivered little.

The astrological signs at the birth of Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) pointed out she was destined to carry out great things in life.The adult Jupiter turns out to be a lowly cleaning lady, but still dreams of overcoming her bad breaks in life to achieve greatness. Things take a surprising turn with the appearance on Earth of the alien Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter. She deems this is the time for those predictions at her birth to come true– the visit signals that her genetic signature marks her as next in line to change the cosmos. Jupiter soon learns that she’s of intergalactic royalty, who is destined to be the Queen of the Earth and will have the power to save it from destruction. To do this, she has the alien Caine at her side as she confronts the evil greedy profiteering overlord Balem (Eddie Redmayne), dwelling in Jupiter, to protect the Earth from his intrusions.

The action starts in Chicago and takes off to faraway planets, but bogs down in the telling of its tiresome narrative. But when it comes to costumes, action sequences and a bang-up visually stunning climax, the sci-fi thriller is on the money. The problem is when the characters talk, it sounds unintentionally funny. It’s a chore putting up with the awkward romance transpiring between Kunis and Tatum and listening to the Redmayne baddie character give such a hammy performance.

It’s a diverting film, with minimal entertainment value, that probably reaches its target fanboy audience–but I’m not one of them



REVIEWED ON 12/26/2015 GRADE: C+