REVIEW: Jupiter Ascending  

jupiter-ascending-tatum-kunis-rocket-bootsInsane space opera a candy shop of delights (★★★★ Written and directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski.)

Moderation is good, it’s true, but even the most hardened health nut needs a little indulgence from time to time.
So it is with cinema.  Film fans can be as virtuous as they like right now with all the Oscar hopefuls  – the cinematic equivalent of a high-fibre diet – at the theatres.
Which is why, dropped into their midst like a giant golden gobstopper, the Wachowski siblings’ Jupiter Ascending is such an out-of-this-world treat.
It follows Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), a Russian illegal who scrubs the toilets of the rich for her sprawling family’s cleaning business.
The stars were aligned when Jupiter’s parents met, however – despite her humble life, she is the unlikely genetic reincarnation of a long dead intergalactic queen.
Hold onto your hats, because said queen’s greedy, warring descendants have been waiting for her to pop up in Earth’s genetic soup for a while.
Not because they miss her, but because, naturally, they want to kill her and take her stuff.
That stuff includes Earth itself, rich with the universe’s most precious commodity – people – the raw ingredient for an elixir that prolongs life.
With Earth’s unwitting-yet-rightful Queen Jupiter in the way, however, eldest son and heir Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne) can’t harvest it.
Luckily Jupiter gets a heads up on her impending assassination from Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a genetically manipulated warrior or ‘‘splice’’, sent to retrieve her and deliver her to her throne – or her execution.
Talk about complex carbs, Jupiter Ascending is pure candy for the eyes, ears and mind.
A mash-up of Borgia politics, Flash Gordon shenanigans and Frank Herbert’s Dune, all hopped up on red fizz and set at the Louvre, it is Space Opera at its most insane, unfettered and wild.
This is a movie in which Channing Tatum plays a winged, half-wolf, albino assassin from another galaxy with pointy ears and a really questionable goatee. So, if you’re not prepared to check your brain at the door, then forget about it, you’ll hate this film.
If you want your head entertained right off your shoulders, however, then step this way, because Jupiter Ascending is pure entertainment, from go to ‘‘holy shamole, is that a talking dragon?!’’.
Yes, it has talking dragons. It also has gravity skimming space boots, exploding gas giants, glittering space ships that look more like the gilding on a baroque painting than a vehicle, a fantastically on point cameo from the legendary Terry Gilliam and Eddie Redmayne chewing up the scenery.
In fact, it might be easier to tell you what it doesn’t have, which is a brain in it’s pretty little head.
But who cares? Watching Tatum and Kunis’ mid-air Torvill and Dean routine while pursued by aliens through the canyons of Chicago, you won’t. You’ll be having too much fun on this gold-covered-jet-powered romp to care.
And it’s all done with the usual class by consummate filmmakers with no limit to their imaginations or budgets.
Thinking you deserve the ultimate treat, the Wachowskis have cooked up an original with billion dollar ingredients in their maniac kitchen. Tuck in.

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