Jupiter Ascending has a couple of hot leads in wide-eyed beauty Mila Kunis and the often-shirtless Channing Tatum (sporting too much eye-liner). But the movie itself is a hot mess, of inter-galactic proportions. Picture a confusing mish-mash of sci-fi and superhero flicks, with a bit of Princess Diaries thrown into the mix.
Kunis plays Jupiter Jones, a discontented 20-something who lives with her mother and extended Russian family in Chicago and spends her days cleaning other people’s houses. Her life is kind of like Groundhog Day, until a genetically-engineered ex-military hunter from another galaxy (Tatum) tracks her down and puts her in the middle of a royal family squabble over an inheritance that includes the estate known as planet “Earth”. Turns out Ms. Jupiter Jones is the reincarnation of a queen who ruled over a galaxy – or a planet… I’m not really sure – that likes to “harvest” the inhabitants of other planets so they can live a few extra eons.
As fate would have it, Jupiter and her genetic code hold the key to restoring the balance of the cosmos. It’s a matter of life and death! But wait – there’s more! Romance, of course. Jupiter falls in love with Cain (the hunky mercenary played by Tatum) and he with her, but their path to happiness is littered with miscommunications, deception, bad guys, bad girls, and lots of fighting and falling through space.
The acting as a whole comes off flat, even from (or especially from) Eddie Redmayne, who was so good playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything and Marius in Les Miz. Perhaps the folks behind Jupiter Ascending (including the Matrix makin’ Wachowskis) thought they were making some potential campy cult classic. If that’s the case, they should have committed to the camp and gone all in. Instead, the movie is just plain weird, and occasionally so bad it’s funny. When a theater patron yelled “Whaaaaaaht?” in the middle of the movie, the entire audience chuckled in tacit agreement.
Seriously, Jupiter Ascending is a long, hot mess – not to mention a waste of good eye candy. If there’s any justice in the movie universe, it will not ascend to the top of the box office.