Jupiter Ascending

[1.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Folks dump on the Wachowski (uh) siblings for not making a single good movie since The Matrix. Not me; I liked Speed Racer just fine, and Cloud Atlas even better. Even though both were box office duds.

Not so with Jupiter Ascending; it was yet another B.O. bomb and its dudditude (or bombosity) was richly deserved.

Jupiter is a young lady (Mila Kunis), a Russian immigrant living in Chicago, whose barely-above-poverty-level life is consumed by her drudge-filled job in the family cleaning business. But (suddenly) she turns out to be the genetic duplicate of the deceased matriarch of a rich family, part of a spacefaring civilization that routinely "harvests" the inhabitants of planets by turning them into attractive blue powder, used in manufacturing longevity drugs for the elite.

Now, there's a lot of mumbo-jumbo here. Jupiter's genes make her, according to the rules, the monarchical owner of Earth. This poses a threat to the existing members of her genetic family, and each makes a play to either do away with her, or to co-opt her (and then do away with her). Fortunately a studly young bounty hunter/mercenary, "Caine Wise" (Channing Tatum) gets on her side.

A number of things irritated me. And I'm going to tell you about them, sorry:

  1. The movie seemed to be aimed squarely at the fantasies of a 14-year-old girl: plucked out of her menial existence and suddenly everyone's calling her "Majesty", and she gets to wear nicer clothes and make goo-goo eyes at Channing Tatum.

  2. Over and over again, Caine (literally) swoops in to save Jupiter's bacon at the last possible second. (When I say "literally": he has special boots that allow him to swoop.) I lost track of how many times this happened.

  3. Gratuitous swipes at capitalism throughout. The baddest of the bad guys has a soliloquy extolling the system that just happens to be built on the sudden termination of billions of innocent lives: the human population is a "resource waiting to be converted into capital", whose purpose is "to create profit." The Wachowski's need to read some stuff from my other favorite sex-switcher, Deirdre McCloskey.

    But most of all:

  4. The movie managed to put me to sleep both times I tried to watch it in the evening. I finally managed to see the whole thing by waking up early and watching at 2x normal speed. I certainly believe the filmmakers dropped a bundle on special effects; unfortunately, they also managed to make spectacular palacial sets and epic battle scenes utterly boring. At least for me. YMMV, as they say.

Watching this movie made me wish they made a movie based on Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy instead. Sort of a similar plot. Go ahead and make Thorby a girl if needed. It would be difficult to do worse than this.