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Review of Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter ascending poster

The other night I went to see Jupiter Ascending, a movie that I hadn’t heard all that much about. Truth be told, I didn’t have high expectations for the film given most blockbusters don’t typically open in February. I was pleasantly surprised however and found the film to a fun and satisfying sci-fi adventure.

The Story

Jupiter Ascending tells the story of Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), a young unassuming Chicago maid who becomes the target of the Abraxis family, a powerful and ruthless monarchy from a distant galaxy. On the verge of being killed by one of their hitmen, she is rescued by Caine (Channing Tatum), a dangerous genetically engineered lycantant wearing flying boots, who swoops in just in the nick of time and whisks her off to safety. Thus begins her adventure. She is subsequently kidnapped and taken to another planet where she eventually, she learns the royal family’s horrible secret – a secret that threatens not only her life but the entire human race. She also discovers that she is not the simple woman she originally thought but is much, much more.

In this action-filled space opera, we learn of an entirely different reality – an alternative universe with technology advanced enough to create human-like lifeforms from animal DNA such as Caine (wolf) and Stinger (bee) as well as the ability to live milleniums without aging. But as we learn in the film, such technology comes at a steep price.

The plot is akin to a classic sci-fi fairytale – it’s the good guys against the bad guy and for the most part and it worked – although I felt that the story did get a bit bogged down at times by especially lenthy fight scenes.

The Performances

Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum gave, in my humble opinion, excellent performances and the chemistry between them worked well on the screen. Given that the two main characters are easy on the eyes, it’s not surprising that we saw several scenes featuring a shirtless Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis in skimpy, revealing outfits.

As the central character, Mila Kunis did an excellent job of portraying Jupiter Jones – a normal everyday girl who is forced by elements out of her control into a situation for which she was completely unprepared. Her character was likeable, sometimes sassy but always engaging. Likewise, I felt that Channing Tatum was quite convincing in the role of the heroic and athletic Caine, as was Sean Bean who played the role of Stinger, Caine’s rugged and reliable former comrade-in-arms.

The antagonists in the movie stood out due to their stellar performances – the enigmatic Abraxis family. Handsome and talented Douglas Booth played the hedonistic and shrewd Titus with expertise. Tuppence Middleton (seen recently in “The Imitation Game”) was quite evoquative in her portrayal of the extremely vain and eternally-youthful Kalique and Eddie Redmayne (who recently protrayed Steven Hawking in “The Theory of Everything”) gave an over-the-top performance in his portrayal of Balem, the power-hungry main antagonist. While his larger-than-life chilling performance as a vilian was effective, I found the back and forth between him whispering..and then shouting…and then whispering again a bit strange and off-kilter.

Breathtaking Visuals

Spaceship fights, explosions, flying boots, hoverboards, buildings blowing up, impressive new worlds, breathtaking cities, edge-of-your-seat chase scenes – there was no lack of eye candy in this fast-paced film. The visual effects as well as the CGI in the movie were top notch and eye-catching. Visually, this film was beautiful. While watching it, I regretted not being able to see it on our local theater’s super-large Ultra Screen because the effects were simply amazing.

Verdict

Jupiter Ascending was simply a fun movie! Though a tad over the top at times, the premise of film was believable and well-developed. The setting was breathtaking, the acting excellent and the exciting actions scenes got my blood racing and I found myself literally sitting on the edge of my seat. There were funny moments, riveting moments as well as moving, heartfelt scenes (the scenes with Jupiter and her family as well as several tender scenes between Jupiter and Caine come to mind).

If you enjoy fun sci-fi adventures or action films with a touch of humor – and perhaps a bit of tongue-in-cheek as well, then Jupiter Ascending is definitely worth a view. Recommended!