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Review: Jupiter Ascending

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An all-star cast with a terrible script. Carmen Paddock explains why Jupiter Ascending isn’t worth a trip to the cinema. 

The Wachowskis’ latest film is an intentional piece of comedy gold.  The (largely student) audience at the Picturehouse’s Slackers’ Club screening was roaring with laughter at everything from otherworldly romances to massive space battles to tales of galaxy-owning dynasties.

Image Credit: Allure
Image Credit: Allure

There’s only one problem: it isn’t supposed to be funny.  Of course the fact that it’s clearly been made to be a new space epic – read: serious – adds to the gut-busting laughter, but it’s also the film’s major downfall.  Jupiter Ascending failed so badly that it is painfully hilarious and memorable for all the wrong reasons.

The plot is entirely predictable.  A young lady (named Jupiter) at the bottom of the social order doesn’t know she’s actually the reincarnation of the most powerful ruler of the universe.  Agents with crazy genetic mutations and/or technology are sent to kill and/or save said Earthling.  Cue extended action sequences and psychedelic special effects.  Hilarity ensues with lines such as ‘bees can detect royalty’ and Jupiter responding to her half-wolf bodyguard’s protests of affection with ‘I love dogs.’

Image Credit: abcnews
Image Credit: abcnews

The cast is surprisingly strong – Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, and Eddie Redmayne headline – but even their presences cannot save the atrocious script and ridiculous storyline.

The film’s saving grace (and perhaps only reason to watch it) is Redmayne’s deliciously over-the-top performance as Balem Abrasax, the film’s antagonist – a malicious, entitled, megalomaniacal twit with anger and/or mummy issues.  The Oscar favourite is clearly having a grand time with silly voices and a stately air that would put Laurence Olivier to shame; Mark Kermode’s review gives perhaps the most creatively accurate description of his character. (If you haven’t heard it, go listen to it. You’ll never get it out of your head.)

If you are looking for a completely ridiculous space romp, Jupiter Ascending is worth a watch.  But wait until it hits Sky.  It is not worth a cinema ticket.

Carmen Paddock

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