From the streets of Chicago to the far-flung galaxies whirling through space, Jupiter Ascending tells the story of Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), who was born under a night sky, with signs predicting she was destined for great things.
Now grown up, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people’s homes and an endless run of bad breaks.
Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along. Her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.
One day, Her Majesty is scrubbing toilets in Chicago hotels; the next she’s being pursued across the galaxy by three greedy intergalactic royals — Balem (Eddie Redmayne), Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) and Titus (Douglas Booth). As the surviving members of the Abrasax dynasty, the trio are threatened by the fact that this less-enlightened human shares their dead mother’s genetic identity. So they each come up with their own way to trick Jupiter into relinquishing her title.
The decadent sibling tyrants are played as exquisitely camp by respectable British actors who relish raised eyebrows and model a succession of outfits that make them the most fashionable villains to date. Despite stiff competition from molten-eyed Booth and Middleton bathing in a tub of human goo, Redmayne triumphs as the baddie we love to hate and even manages to make ponderous, thudding dialogue sound elegant.
Jupiter Ascending isn’t a good movie. It’s a fairly conventional one; if you can see past the lizard henchmen and Channing Tatum’s pointy elf ears, you’re left with a well-trodden Cinderella story.
There are too many realms, which isn’t great when the main one doesn’t make sense. The narrative is utterly baffling and there’s a clear lack of attention to detail. This misfire from the Wachowski siblings is proof that good looks will only take you so far. A cast of hotties does not a good movie make.
Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum evidence little in the way of chemistry. Jupiter has to spell it out to Caine. Explaining how she always falls for the wrong guys, and that they don’t even realise that she’s in love with them. No, neither did we. We’re spoon-fed this notion for the remainder of the movie and it’s nauseating.
Caine: Your Majesty, I have more in common with a dog than I have with you.
Jupiter Jones: I love dogs, I’ve always loved dogs.
Urgh, it just wreaks of desperation.
At its heart, this movie is a ludicrous fantasy in which a cleaner turns out to be secret owner of Earth. But Mila Kunis’s Jupiter is so useless and ludicrously gullible that she needs her werewolf-with-flying-boots man candy to rescue her from certain death every six minutes.
Jupiter Ascending is pleasing to the eye, but painful to the brain. Avoid at all costs.
By Ruth Walker