21 feb. 2015

Jupiter Ascending (6/10): The comedy exceeds the sci-fi in the Wachowski's latest film


“Your Majesty, I have more in common with a dog than I have with you.”

With the exception of Speed Racer and The Matrix Revolutions I have always enjoyed the Wachowskis films and their unique vision. I haven’t seen Speed Racer since it was first released, but I have heard a lot of praise for it in recent years so I might need to revisit it soon considering many people have claimed it was way ahead of its time. Jupiter Ascending may be one of their weakest efforts because the plot is messy and convoluted, but the film still looked great and had an underlying sense of humor about it. When I watched the trailer for the first time my high expectations were tamed, but I actually ended up enjoying the movie more than I had anticipated due to the comedy. The Wachowskis have interesting and unique ideas and somewhere in Jupiter Ascending there are some, but the film fails to develop the story. The Wachowskis might have been trying to direct the Star Wars for this generation, but I’m sorry The Guardians of the Galaxy got there first. 

A lot of critics have claimed the film is so ridiculous that it’s unintentionally funny, but I have to disagree. I think they were aiming for a sci-fi comedy that isn’t supposed to be taken seriously. The Wachowskis are having a lot of fun with the characters Sean Bean has been playing in the past and he is great here. There are some great hilarious scenes about the bureaucracy in the Universe. There is another one taking place in a space ship involving an elephant man which reminded me of some of the wacky characters that had small roles in Star Wars. Eddie Redmayne is amping it up as a villain and has taken a lot of criticism for his performance, but he too is part of the fun the Wachowskis are having with the film. Everyone is so focused on the incredible Chicago chase scene at the beginning of the film, but I wasn’t really blown away by it. What stood out for me was the wacky sense of humor (the bureaucracy scene is my favorite). I may be reading to far into this film, but I felt they were also poking fun of Twilight with the love triangle in the middle of the movie involving the gorgeous Mila Kunis, the very pale looking Douglas Booth, and the dog man Channing Tatum. At times they also reference Beauty and the Beast, and the Terry Gilliam cameo proves they were influenced by his work in Brazil. 

I haven’t spent any time detailing the plot because it is hard to set up this expanded universe. The Wachowskis take their time to introduce this world and set things up. They have some interesting ideas, but they aren’t developed too well and the action set pieces take over. This had the potential of being The Fifth Element, but the Wachowskis were aiming a bit higher than that and missed the mark. Channing Tatum and Sean Bean give the best performances in the movie, while Mila Kunis was miscast in my opinion. Eddie Redmayne’s talents are also wasted by the way the Wachowskis wanted him to play the character. Jupiter Ascending looks great and the humor got to me, but the sic fi elements weren’t that great. This is a forgettable film, but I was entertained.


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