02-03-2015, 05:40 PM
Short Version: Not Jupiter Ascending nor Jupiter Descending but more Jupiter Middling.

Long Version:

The Good: John Toll's cinematography is gorgeous. When the color scheme goes bright, the scenes pop with a candy colored palette that's good enough to eat and when it goes dark the blacks swallow light. It looks like every penny of the 175 million dollar budget went up on the screen and that includes the special effects which are pretty damn spectacular. As for the action scenes, something the Wachowskis have always excelled at, they are easy to follow, no shaky cam. And the music is some of Giacchino's best. In fact, the music and the cinematography are the true stars of the movie.

The Bad: However, the stars of the movie don't shine that brightly. Oddly, for a movie genre that depends energetic performances, everyone dialed theirs back. The most notably is Mila Kunis. Her Jupiter is not just the linchpin of the film, she is the axis upon which the movie revolves. Yet her character is an almost absolute cipher. We, the audience, know nothing about her. We meet her as a young woman in her twenties stuck in a job as a cleaning woman, a job she hates but she does nothing to get herself out of her rut. She has no goals other than earning enough money to buy a telescope similar to the one her murdered father owned.

Jupiter should be a spark, like Fisher's Leia, instead she's a damp squib who has things happen to her instead of her making things happen. (Channing's Caine - as in canine? - constantly saves Jupiter.) Named for the solar system's largest planet, Jupiter has no gravity or gravitas.

The Ugly: And then there's the true villain of the movie: the script. The pieces never come together to make a whole and there's some lazy writing on the part of the Wachowski's most notably the "chosen one" motif which they exhausted with their Matrix trilogy. (Jupiter is the "one" because of her genes not because of anything she has done.)

Some of the film's other pieces seem cherry picked from other films, some better, some not. The familial struggle that drives the film mirrors the political one in Star Wars episodes one through three, JA's is equally convoluted and equally uninteresting. There's a ten minute segment that is The Wachowski's homage to Brazil but serves no purpose except to slow the film dooooowwwwwnnnnn. (For a two hour movie it feels a lot longer.)

And JA's purported Big Bad, Redmayne's Lord Balem, DAK's favorite character, seems to be channeling Commodus from Gladiator. Phoenix played him as a dangerous man-child, his psychotic nature just lurking under Commodus's languid mask. Balem is also an ennui saturated royal who rarely speaks in anything other than a whisper except when he explodes in anger but he never does anything in anger. He never dirties his hands, well not until the film's conclusion, unlike Commodus who murders his father and can handle a sword fairly well.

As Colin Firth's Harry Hart says in Kingsman a film is only as good as its villain and a villain needs to do villainy. Monologuing is not villainy, it's just hot air.

Finally, there are the action set pieces which are spectacular but not visceral. You feel the violence in John Wick and will it feel in the upcoming Kingsman, it's physical, it has heft and power. Not so in JA. The action is well done in an artistic sense but it's so distant it never pulls you in. (Probably because the characters aren't all that interesting.)

Bottom line: this Jupiter has no pull and no attraction.

02-03-2015, 08:17 PM
Thanks for the review Killgrave.

As a standalone the OST is quite spectacular, but how does it sound as heard in the movie?

02-03-2015, 11:31 PM
The music sounds good. The audio mix, at least in my theater, was well balanced between score and effects.

the marvin
02-04-2015, 07:24 AM
Can't wait to listen to the score!
The real question though is, does Sean Bean's character die?

02-05-2015, 06:06 PM
That would be telling.

02-15-2015, 10:40 AM
Nice review! I must say, I agree in all points!