Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is a lowly Chicago maid who lives with her extended Russian family and spends most of her days scrubbing toilets. Suddenly, she discovers she’s the rightful heir to an intergalactic empire. Like Anne Hathaway in “The Princess Diaries,” she’s skeptical at first. But hunky, chivalrous Caine (Channing Tatum), a wolverine space warrior wearing hover boots, literally sweeps her off her feet, soaring above the Loop to escape evil forces that are in hot pursuit. Read on…
Caine and his cohort Stinger (Sean Bean) convince Jupiter to fight aristocratically evil Balem (Eddie Redmayne) for control of the planet Earth. It seems Earthlings are, basically, bred as DNA livestock waiting to be ‘harvested’ to prolong the lives of a decadent Royal Family.
Jupiter is a ‘recurrance,’ the genetic reincarnation of the previous Queen, the deceased mother of three squabbling siblings (Redmayne, Douglas Booth and Tuppence Middleton).
Inanely scripted by Neville Kiser and flamboyantly directed by brother-and-sister Andrew and Lana Wachowski, it’s a ludicrously pulpy ‘lust in space’ saga, studded with elaborately vivid, eye-popping visual effects more suited to video games. There’s even a cameo with “Brazil” director Terry Gilliam.
Poor Eddie Redmayne – brilliant as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” – whispers his malevolence; he must be praying that Oscar voters don’t see this debacle before they cast their ballots.
Having shown his acting chops in “Foxcatcher,” Channing Tatum deserves better. He’s saddled with lines like, “Your Majesty, I have more in common with a dog than I have with you.” To which, giddy, clueless Mila Kunis replies, “I love dogs! I’ve always loved dogs!”
So why did Warner Bros. give the Wachowskis $175 million to squander on this cosmic soap opera? They made “The Matrix” (1999), creating a wondrously profit-making sci-fi world that begat several sequels. While their subsequent “Speed Racer” (2008) and “Cloud Atlas” (2012) were disappointing, they were still able to command enormous sums. That’s today’s movie industry.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Jupiter Ascending” is a preposterous 3, a cinematic disaster.