Jupiter Ascending review: This film is so bad, it is good

  • Jyoti Sharma Bawa, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 07, 2015 12:46 IST

Jupiter Ascending
Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne
Director: The Wachowskis
Rating: 1.5

She is a bathroom scrubber par excellence. He is an inter-galactic bounty hunter with pointy ears. They have dinosaurs in leather jackets chasing them. And these are not even the reasons why this film goes down the toilet.

The Wachowskis, who hit their creative prime with The Matrix, have been giving us one dud after another (Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas). They have now delivered a film which is visually dazzling but, unfortunately, this reason is not good enough to like it.

A sci-fi extravaganza, the film's script goes to pieces within the first half hour. After that, we are bombarded with dialogues so cheesy and inane that they are unintentionally hilarious.

Here's a sample: 'I have more in common with a dog than you'. And another one: 'Bees are genetically designed to sense royalty'. One more comes your way: 'My mother never cleaned a toilet in her life'. And this one's just priceless, "Take these pills. Travel is rough on royal bowels". Gettit?

Here's taking a stab at the story: Russian immigrant Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), living with her extended family and cleaning toilets, suddenly starts being targeted by aliens. Part-human, part-wolf Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) lands on Earth and immediately becomes Jupiter's knight in shining armour. We find out why Jupiter needs knights: She is the genetic duplicate of the last queen of the universe and is the next 'Her Majesty'. The only problem is that this dynasty already has a king (Eddie Redmayne) who is part capitalist CEO, part mass murderer. He is the one sending all kinds of aliens (dinosaurs in leather jackets, bounty hunters with weird hairdos) to find and destroy Jupiter.

Made at almost $170 million, this film has every kind of CGI wizardry you can expect from Hollywood - big bangs, vibrant alien worlds and beautifully choreographed fights. It is also a great lesson in evolution. Apparently, dinosaurs were killed off by the ruling dynasty so that humans could be set up here. What these rulers and their ilk is looking for is nectar which could give you 'endless time', for which they harvest humans. "Think of it as a cattle farm," a character advices.

With hardly any science to back it up and a script that is riddled with holes, this film is a visually-appealing mess. Especially Eddie Redmayne, the Oscar-nominated actor who thrilled us as Stephen Hawking just a few weeks back, as the villain of the piece here. Thankfully, this film didn't come out last year otherwise Redmayne would have had the dubious distinction of being nominated in both the best actor and worst actor categories in the same year.

Looking downright silly as the black-robed lord of the realm, he swerves between whispering and bad-natured shrieking throughout the film. Even Tatum, who gets to say the silliest lines of his career (and he starred in 21 Jump Street), and Kunis fare better than Redmayne in the film.

As long as you suspend disbelief, you may enjoy this film that enters the so-bad-it's-good zone. And keep a pen around, it will help you keep a tally of the films that Wachowskis pay a nod to in this mess of a sci-fi proportions.

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