Saturday, February 7, 2015

Jupiter Ascending is visually impressive with a messy script

PG-13, 2 hours 5 minutes

Grade: A- for visually amazing
              C- for story and dialogue

In a Nutshell:  Wow.  Talk about sensory overload.  The special effects are amaze balls. I went with some friends to see this in 3D at a Galaxy DFX theater which enhances the sound and offers those awesome reclining chairs.  One of the ladies I sat with said she had to close her eyes several times because she couldn’t take it all in.  I wonder if you get a free vomit bag with your ticket when you watch this in those Dbox motion chairs.

This fantasy adventure feels like a visit to the cantina scene in Star Wars with crazy aliens coming together to fight over power and the ownership of planet Earth.  One of the scenes looks like it actually could have been filmed on Star Wars’ Naboo. The script is messy, but the costumes, set design, make-up, and CGI are extremely creative and impressive, surely eating up most of the reported 175 million dollar budget.  The Wachowski brothers (one of them is now female) brought us the epic The Matrix magic, but have now created a story that mere earthlings can’t quite comprehend.  Even still, it’s an entertaining ride if you don’t mind the odd moments.

Uplifting Theme:
·         “It’s not what you do.  It’s what you are.” – Stinger Apini (Sean Bean)
·         What would you do with your time if you had an endless amount of it? What price would you be willing to pay to get more time?
·         There is an awkward exploration of capitalism, greed, and morality.

Things I liked:
·         If you like action, this movie includes the non-stop variety.
·         I LOVE LOVE the hover boots that make Channing Tatum look like he’s ice skating through air.  I hope I can buy a pair on Amazon soon.
·         Beautiful aerial views of Chicago.
·         There is a somewhat humorous attempt at explaining crop circles and dinosaurs.  I always wanted to know the scoop on those two things.  Now I know.
·         I loved the see-through floor on Balem Abrasax’s space ship.
·         I didn’t know Tuppence Middleton was so pretty when I first saw her in The Imitation Game.  Her character as Kalique Abrasax in Jupiter Ascending looked obviously fake in the beginning, so I was glad when we got to see her true beauty later on. 
·         There was so much to see that I would like to study some of the images frame by frame.
·         The gay robotic bureaucrat scene was odd, disturbing and funny at the same time.

Things I didn’t like:
·         Mila Kunis plays Jupiter Jones who falls in love with Caine in less than 30 seconds.  It’s embarrassing how quickly she throws herself at him.  Caine, by the way, is played by a blonde Channing Tatum.  He goes shirtless for a longer than necessary and the blonde scruff makes you wince just a little bit.  Two good-looking people should create sparks, but their romantic dialogue falls flat.
·         One of the guys I watched the movie with noted that the musical score by Michael Giacchino was too overpowering.  That could have been because we were in a sound-enhanced screening, so it’s hard to know if others will experience the same effect.
·         There were some attempts at humor, but not nearly enough successful ones.  Want to see a sci-fi fantasy flick that will make you laugh out loud a LOT?   Guardians of the Galaxy!
·         Mila Kunis’emotional range as Jupiter Jones is pretty small in this movie. Even after her entire world is shaken, all she can muster is a “Holy Crap.”  Years ago I took a jungle tour of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.  The tour guide’s name was Jupiter.  He explained to us that it was because he was so “far out.”
·         I adored Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and hope he wins an Oscar to go with his Golden Globe for it, but his performance in this film was odd and vacillates between monotone whispers and screaming, with nothing in between.
·         The elephant man alien appears out of place in what should be serious dramatic moments.
·         SPOILER ALERT: There is an icky Soylent Green moment.
·         Why were there so many bald women in this movie?
·         There is so much going on in the action sequences that it’s often hard to figure out exactly what’s going on.

Interesting lines:
·         “Technically speaking, I’m an alien, and from an immigration perspective, I’m an illegal one.” – Jupiter
·         “Off the record, I will tell you that you are a man of rare courage and I pray that your aim is true.” – Diomika Tsing (Nikki Amuka-Bird)

Lines that make you sneer:
·         Men do not like smart women.” – Jupiter’s uncle
·         “My mom says true love is just a fairy tale for little girls.” – Jupiter
·         “I will never complain about the DMV again.” – Jupiter
·         “I am not your mother.” – Jupiter
“No, my mother never cleaned a toilet in her life.” – Balem Abrasax

Tips for Parents:
·         Some profanity, but no F-bombs.
·         You see the naked backside of a female and male in two different scenes, as well as a girl in her tiny underwear.  (She has amazing abs.)
·         There is a short orgy scene, but you don’t see details, other than faces.

·         There are sexual innuendos, lots of violence (some bloody), and evil motives.
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