Jupiter Ascending was a troubling piece of cinematic artistry. While it was visually stunning and engaging, it was little more than a highly complex video game. I think I deduced the story as follows: A brilliant astronomer marries a gullible young girl and after she gets pregnant he declares he wants to name her Jupiter, a name his wife detests. The husband’s home is invaded by the government police, who kill him. The wife leaves and Jupiter is born on a ship at sea.
As the story evolves (if you want to call it that—I prefer going to the next level) Jupiter uses a friend’s identity to get treatment in a clinic but things aren’t as they seem. The “doctors” are little ferocious aliens who are out to kill the girl who Jupiter says she is. All through this film there are flashbacks/forwards/and sideways to try to make it comprehensible, and as weird as this seems, although it appears to initially fail, it bonds the whole thing together and you don’t want to give up on it.
Jupiter’s savior is Caine, the possessor of wondrous shoes that allow him to fly and skate above the ground.. He also has unusual pointed ears, which he explains away as his genetic makeup is closer to a dog than a human, and when Jupiter (Mila Kunis) says she loves dogs, you know she and Caine (Channing Tatum) will eventually get together, although the eventual kiss doesn’t come along until near the end of the movie.
Writers Lana and Andy Wachovski are obviously aware of certain facts, specifically about the origin of life on Earth and what may lie beneath the clouds of planet Jupiter, and director Terry Gilliam, a Monty Python alumnus, has endless fun bringing it to the screen. As I said in the beginning, this is visually stunning, larger than life, but if you don’t pay close attention you’ll think you’re watching a video game on a really big screen.
Rated PG-13, it’s from Warner Brothers with help from Village Roadshow pictures. This is a production of the team that did the Matrix series, so you know the special effects will be spectacular, and they don’t disappoint. About the story, though……