In Defense Of ‘Jupiter Ascending’

To date, I’ve read at least two-dozen reviews of this movie–some before I saw it, some after. I think the Wachowski’s nailed it in an interview with CSM:

“There’s directors like John Ford and Christopher Nolan who find a tone and stick with it throughout their careers,” said Lana. “We’re not like that. We’re always looking for the range of what we see in life. That creates a tension between us and our audience because they don’t know what to expect. It makes people excited, but it can also make for frustrated consumers.”

<snip>

“The summer is built around familiarity,” said Lana. “Many cultural critics who shape awareness for films are obsessed with sequels and derivative material. They wildly crave it. That kind of environment is hostile to originality. It only makes space for derivative material and rejects originality. I think Warner Bros. was uncomfortable with that environment.”

<snip>

“The cultural obsession with equating a movie’s success to its box office is incredibly damning to this industry,” said Andy. “It’s pushing the industry more and more to making pure product, which is another reason why you constantly have reboots. It’s McDonald’s. People know what they’re going to sit down and watch. Inherently, it’s unhealthy for your brain.”

Unlike the professional critics, this reviewer felt Eddie Redmayne’s performance as the (generally) soft-spoken, tightly-wound and completely irredeemable Balem Abrasax was terrific. I didn’t find the performances of Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, or the venerable Sean Bean to be wooden or two-dimensional, as so many critics did–in a two-hour action flick with a large primary cast, a lot of deep character development is an impossibility.What those reviews don’t tell you is that this movie makes big statements about the extreme dark side of unbridled capitalism combined with a genocide-driven quest for eternal youth, all played out among three royal heirs who would give any of the characters in “Game of Thrones” a run for their money in terms of sheer amorality and ruthlessness. The sci-fi backdrop is indeed visually spectacular and it left this viewer very much wanting a greater opportunity to explore those worlds.

Overall, a generally fast-paced and entertaining sci-fi ride. Four stars.

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