Jupiter Ascending is wow. I’d heard nothing good about this movie but was prepared to be pleasantly surprised when I watched it over the weekend.
Despite its flaws (namely Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis’ lack of chemistry or apparent acting ability), this was one of the most amazing and ambitious SF films I’ve seen. Even more impressive is that the Wachowski Whatevers were willing to throw nearly $200 million at a Planetary Romance, one of the rarest sorts of sci-fi to ever make to the big screen.
Stunning scenic vistas and vile decadent villains in their gorgeous palaces where they essentially bathe in human blood for immortality, all surrounded by weird gene-spliced humans that look like stuff right out of the pages of pulp and the covers of mid-century paperbacks… Where do you ever see this sort of thing?! Certainly not in big budget Hollywood movies that aren’t part of an already established multi-billion dollar media franchise, that’s for sure!
For all of its flaws, I want more of this! I hate that it is both critically panned and a commercial flop, because it means even fewer directors or studios would be willing to take the sort of risk to give us truly amazing and unique sci-fi visions like this. It’s hard to think of a movie that tried to do what Jupiter Ascending tries and was successful. Though it was another branch of pulp sci-fi (the blue-collar guy stumbled onto a crazy galactic space adventure vein), the only one that springs to mind is the 5th Element, and that was ages ago. Gary Oldman wasn’t an oldman!
Please, please try again! Sure this would’ve been better with different actors, and sure there were scenes that should’ve been left on the cutting room floor (ironically, many of the lengthy action scenes), but this really IS the sort of movie I want to see more of!
If my Worldcon PIN ever shows up, I’ll be nominating Jupiter Ascending for Longform Dramatic presentation. I know it will probably lose to Star Wars even if it gets the nom, but really, we need less franchise blockbusters and more genuinely visionary weird sci-fi epics.