The Wachowskis’ 2015 film, Jupiter Ascending, contains an original and expansive universe filled with a variety of alien races and conflicts. Yet, this vastness quickly loses audiences.
The film focuses on protagonist Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), an “ordinary girl”, who encounters several aliens who whisk her off world. Little known to Jupiter, this is all part of an alien species’ belief that she is the reincarnation of their royal mother.
Early on, Jupiter comes across as a relatable character with a quirky, but loveable, family. However, character development quickly falls to the wayside as the alien concepts are introduced and expanded action sequences become the mainstay. While the film attempts to show a regular person overcoming her inner feelings of worthlessness by putting her into a situation bigger than her, it focuses more on Jupiter’s value to the alien characters, objectifying her as little more than a plot device. Thus, audiences have little to emotionally invest in. Unbelievably, Jupiter readily accepts most of the foreign worlds, creatures, and character machinations without question.
In some of the Wachowskis’ other films (The Matrix and Cloud Atlas), foreign worlds and characters are cohesively introduced while maintaining the audience’s emotional investment. However, in Jupiter Ascending, too many alien concepts are introduced too quickly with little emotional resonance, leaving audiences feeling dejected.
That said, Jupiter Ascending contains some innovative ideas and concepts, like seeding and harvesting planets, and clipping an alien’s wings for his past sins. Unfortunately, these are not enough to save it from being a concept driven film with little emotional substance. Nor is the excellent cast of Kunis, Sean Bean, Channing Tatum, and Eddie Redmayne, who give convincing performances.
Science-fiction fans may enjoy it as a curiosity.