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Jupiter Ascending (2015) - An Entertaining Space Opera

I have a confession to make. I seem to be drawn towards seeing and liking the movies the critics bash. This is one such film. Critics found the movie ridiculous and had very few nice things to say about this however I knew that given the opinions of people I did trust, this would be a must see for me.  

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) hates her life. Before she was born, her father was murdered back when her mother lived in Russia. Her father had a curious mind who loved the stars. His death left her mother heartbroken and because of this, she left behind life as she knew it for America. Now, all grown up, Jupiter works as a maid, cleaning the homes of the wealthly along with her mother (Maria Doyle Kennedy).  What Jupiter doesn’t know is the destiny the stars spoke of the night she was born is about to come calling in the form of a genetically engineered hunter by the name of Caine Wise (Channing Tatum).  
Caine was hired by one of three royal siblings to bring Jupiter back to their world. Titus (Douglas Booth) has his reasons for wanting Jupiter, but then so does his brother Balem (Eddie Redmayne). What Caine doesn’t know is that they may all have different reasons for wanting Jupiter but she is actually a royal herself. Her DNA signature marks her as the new ruler of Earth and as such, her claim is desired by more than one sinister plotter.  

Sometimes the silliest movies are the ones that are the most fun. That is exactly how I think of Jupiter Ascending. Its world is unique and fun to visit while at the same time, this is one film that didn’t wind up being anything I expected of it. The one thing I was wary of prior to seeing it was the setting. I’m not the biggest aficionado of space-set stories (with exception to the re-booted adaptations of Star Trek, which I love). However this movie keeps its feet firmly planted on Earth for longer than I anticipated and makes for a more entertaining piece of film work in my opinion. This is especially true since I felt like many of the special effects weren’t up to par. The sequence with Jupiter at Striker’s (who is played by Sean Bean) is really pretty as is the scene later on with Jupiter in Titus’ castle. (Seriously, that latter scene is visually gorgeous!)
Two things might rub some viewers the wrong way. One being the case of insta-love this presents. I didn’t mind Jupiter and Caine’s interaction in the least (it was subtle and barely there in the beginning) and then all of the sudden it was like Jupiter had an instant case of attraction. But if there is likely to be a lot of discomfort for a viewer with this film, it’d be the plot. It can be “troubling” though in my opinion, it’s not any worse than The Hunger Games. In fact, despite this being set in our current times, this film has more of a dystopian agenda. The plot takes away a person’s choice by giving the royals power over humans. They use humans to extract their DNA, using it for themselves and to grow more powerful over their subjects. Because of this, the plot takes a bizarre detour or two, however I found it too much fun to be bothered overmuch – especially considering the film has a kick-butt kind of heroine. And Caine. ‘Nuff said.  

That opener seems like as good time as any to brag about that cast. I loved everyone. Sean Bean is fabulous as always, Mila is really good, and I thought Channing played the role epically well. He may not be considered a real contender for Oscar wins, but he’s wonderful playing the roles he does, and Caine seemed tailor-made for him. I loved how protective and thoughtful he was of Jupiter. The balance was well played because as time goes on, Jupiter learns how to defend herself and comes to understand the “burden” that she now has to protect her people – and it gives her a second chance to wipe the slate clean and start again. What is so interesting about the supporting cast is the number of British talents that crop up. Everyone from Tuppance Middleton (The Lady Vanishes) to Douglas Booth (Great Expectations and he'll take on zombies as Mr. Bingley in the upcoming parody Pride & Prejudice adaptation) appear and of course, we see Maria Doyle Kennedy again who is well-known for playing Katherine in The Tudors and later, Mr. Bates wife in Downton Abbey.

If you like fun, popcorn films, this is the very definition of that. There isn’t a lot of substance to the movie (apart from the message of sacrifice and protecting those we love, no matter the cost), but it’s just the kind of late-night movie I wanted when I put the disc into my computer. If you like movies like Star Trek (not anywhere close to the story, instead this comparison comes from the world – i.e., space) or Cowboys and Aliens, then this is definitely a movie for you. It’s more romantic than either one of those, which means it’s definitely a swoon-worthy moment after moment of spectacular.  
Have you seen Jupiter Ascending? I'd love to read all about your thoughts.

(Content: there is one or two instances of full backside nudity. Otherwise, the rating is mainly for the sci-fi action sequences and multiple deaths that occur in battle. The finale in particular wracks up the death count. There are some “ceepy” looking dudes that are also a part of Balem’s army. The film is rated PG13.)
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  1. I thought the movie was visually stunning and the costumes and scenery was breathtaking. I thought the plot was a little silly and disturbing. I couldn't get over some of the plot holes but I would still buy this film just for the eye candy.

    1. Well said, Carlyn. I did think the plot could have been stronger (which I probably didn't really discuss above), but overall, as an entertaining piece of eye candy, this was really fun (hence my rating it four stars). Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

  2. It looks like an interesting film! I may have to get it from Redbox.;)

    1. That's what it was for sure, Amanda. Interesting... but also fun. :)

  3. It sounds just about what I thought maybe it was, if I disregarded all the stuff the critics said. Fun, full of eye candy, and entertaining. Not one to be watched to create food for thought, but just enjoyed for what it is. Great review! Now I think I'll definitely have to try and find a copy soon. :)

    1. Usually I have the opposite opinion of movies the ("important") critics bash. I tend to agree more with my "critic" friends than anyone else (i.e., Silver Petticoat, Ruth or anyone else who reviews films that I avidly follow). Basically, yes. This was a fun piece of eye candy and you say it best. This isn't meant to be a "food for thought" kind of story. That's part of what makes it fun! I'd love to hear what you think if/when you see it, Kara. Always value your opinion. :)

  4. I'm going to rent it when it comes out.

    1. Let me know what you think, Dawn... once you see it. I thought it was plain ol' fun. Sometimes that's just what I'm looking for. :)

    2. Of course I kinda fell in love with Eddie when he was Marius. I'd never heard of him before. So I try to catch most of his movies now.

    3. I've seen him in a couple of things, but am not sure what those productions are just now. ;) Anyway, Eddie is fantastic in this movie! He seems to have a lot of fun getting into this role, which makes it fun for us to watch.

  5. Like you I usually like the movies that get low ratings as well ('I Am Number Four' and 'Mom's Night Out' come to mind), but I have to admit. I was definitely a "hater" when it came to this one. Lol!! It was *too* silly for me, and I couldn't help laughing out loud at scenes where I'm not sure it was appropriate to haha (but then again, the whole movie theater was laughing at those scenes as well so who knows!). I think I may have been especially disappointed too because they filmed in my hometown, so I've known about it a while and was very much anticipating it. BUT I loved the actors (eye candy much?!) and it was visually stunning with the gorgeous costumes and makeup and awesome graphics! And, like you said, it was just light-hearted fun. ;) Great review, Rissi, loved reading your thoughts on this one! :D

    1. There's nothing wrong with that, Bekah. I know what you mean about this being too silly - and sometimes part of the fun of a movie that is *that* bad is giggling at the entire thing. Even if that wasn't the intended purpose. ;)

      I liked the Chicago setting, but totally get the anticipation only to be let down. Divergent was too, right?

      I agree. You summed this up perfectly, it is good light-hearted fun! Sometimes that's the only kind of movie I want and I think if a viewer doesn't take this too seriously, that's what they would walk away from. Plus, as you say, this cast...!? YES!

  6. I missed this one so I may rent it just for the scenery and costumes !

    1. Apologies for missing your comment, Deanne. I hope if you saw this one you enjoyed the costumes. :)


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