Yes, Cinders, you shall rule the planet
Release Date: 29 June ( download OUT NOW!)
2015 | 12 | Blu- ray 3D/ Blu- ray/ DVD/ download Directors: The Wachowskis Cast: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton
bullshit,” says Jupiter Jones, loo brush in hand, crouching over a toilet in Jupiter Ascending. That’s as may be, but the film itself appears to have been born under the sign of the turkey.
It’s a shame, because the intentions are good. Jupiter Ascending is a cheery attempt to produce a good old- fashioned sci- fi romp – fastmoving, witty, spectacular, actionpacked. It’s all those things and less.
In the extras, directing duo the Wachowskis mention how one of the biggest influences on their work is The Wizard Of Oz. Never has this been more the case than it is here. Not so much because Channing Tatum plays Toto ( well, sort of… bear with us) but because once you lift the veil of awesome visuals you’re left with dull disappointment. ( To flog this metaphor to death, the film could also do with a brain and a heart... though you could never accuse the Wachowskis of lacking courage).
Jupiter Ascending is a sci- fi/ fantasy smörgåsbord, splicing together Cinderella, Oz and Alice In Wonderland and giving them a space- based makeover. The Cinders/ Dorothy/ Alice here is Jupiter Jones, played with the same perky, spunky, wide- eyed wonder Mila Kunis brought to Oz The Great And Powerful ( coincidence? Or a very expensive meta- gag?). Jones is the stargazing, toilet- cleaning daughter of a Russian immigrant to America. Notably, we only ever see her clean toilets in very posh apartments, because the last thing the Wachowskis want in this film is grim reality. Hell, even when we first go into space to meet the film’s bad guys on a post- apocalyptic planet, the ashes in the streets glisten.
The bad guys are two brothers and a sister from the powerful Abraxas family, which runs an intergalactic business harvesting planets. They’re also very competitive, and each wants control of Earth, a valuable planet on the cusp of harvesting. Currently, Balem Abrasax ( Eddie Redmayne in stare- and- simmer mode) owns it, but his claim could be scuppered because, would you credit it, their long- dead mother has been reborn on Earth in the form of Jupiter Jones, and the forwardthinking matriarch bequeathed herself Earth in her will should she ever reappear. So now the race is on between the siblings to find Jupiter and either marry her, kill her or hand her over to the space police, depending on which sibling you are.
On Jupiter’s side is Caine Wise ( Channing Tatum), a mercenary who’s been genetically- spliced with a wolf ( see, we told you he was Toto) and Stinger, his old military mate who’s been spliced with a bee ( Sean Bean with a stripy black and yellow haircut). The make- up on these two is quite subtle, as they’ve clearly got good agents. Actors further down the pecking order look more like creatures from The Island Of Doctor Moreau. ( Bean even seems slightly embarrassed in the Blu- ray extras that he got off relatively lightly while fellow thesps suffered.)
So it becomes a magical journey into space for Jupiter as she travels from Dune world to Harry Potter world, to Brazil world, to Blade Runner world ( some of these worlds are actually ships, but you get the idea). Extras from the 1980 Flash Gordon film pop up everywhere. All credit to the Wachowskis – and their design teams – for creating so many different exotic cultures and locations. The problem is, none of these feel fresh or new; there’s a whiff of generic familiarity to all of them. It must have seemed like a clever idea to hire Brazil director Terry Gilliam for a cameo on a bureaucratic world but all it really does is highlight how much of a Brazil rip- off the entire sequence is.
The action sequences are serviceable enough but uninvolving. While the Marvel and The Fast And The Furious franchises effortlessly
Two minutes in, the tension in the staring contest was reaching unbearable levels.