Jupiter Ascending

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(2015) ★½

Sky Box Office: PREMIERE Monday 29 June, 8.30am

“Tonight, the sky is completely full of miracles…” Mila Kunis is Jupiter Jones, born on a boat in mid-Atlantic, without a home, without a country, without a father. He was an astrologist murdered by hoodlums while attempting to save his beloved telescope (and his heavily pregnant wife). He was the one who named Jupiter after ‘the biggest and most beautiful planet in our solar system’. Working as a cleaner in Chicago, Jupiter calls herself an alien. An illegal Russian immigrant, she means. The real aliens, watching Earth from afar like Greek gods, have big plans for her. Mainly to get her out of the way of their big plans for Earth, a farming resource used for refilling their eternal life gene pool. Yep, it’s shallow. Mila’s the unwitting gene queen of Abrasax, rescued from a hit-squad in the nick of time by mutant dog-boy Channing Tatum. A feat he’ll need to repeat a fair few times before Mila’s mission is over. “Just call me Jupe,” she says when people (and other things) address her as ‘your majesty’. At which point, Warner Bros executives might’ve been thinking ‘Just call us dupes’. They’ve backed the Wachowski siblings through thin box-office (Speed Racer) and thick scripts (Cloud Atlas) since the completion of their blockbusting Matrix trilogy. Even the Wachowskis recognise they’ve been lucky. “People at studios have been interested in our crazy, strange brand of complexity. And we’ve been allowed to keep making them. Will that continue? Probably not,” admitted Andy Wachowski soon after Jupiter Ascending opened and shortly before his sister Lana’s 50th birthday in June. Not sure muddled ‘Mars in conjunction with Uranus’ incoherence counts as ‘complexity’ but, with gizmos and gimmicks galore, Jupiter Ascending’s plenty crazy – daft’s the same as crazy, right? If Wes Anderson ever made a sci-fi movie, it might look like this overdressed folly. The script, though – that’s strictly dumbed-down Dune (and look how well that turned out on film). This isn’t sci-fi, it’s Syfy, a pile of familiar fantasy film plot points toned down and tarted up airy fairycake fashion. Terry Gilliam has an irrelevant cameo as a bumbling bureaucrat because, you know, he made Brazil back in the day. But the Wachowskis aren’t revisiting Brazil here. They’re resurrecting Ice Pirates. The main villain is the mumbling immortal who owns the Earth, Eddie Redmayne (who also owns an Oscar). He plays it drearily straight, which makes him look ridiculous. Quite a feat, in this set-up.

Certificate: 12

Duration: 128min

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