Truth is an Illusion: Jupiter Ascending (2014)

Truth is an Illusion:

Jupiter Ascending



Possibly if the Wachowskis had, for whatever reason, never made another film after The Matrix, then that one, combined with their directorial debut with the brilliant Bound would have been enough for both critics and fandom to hail them as authentic geniuses bordering on strange philosophers.  I can envisage a scenario whereby we would have been arguing over what kind of great work they would have done had they continued to make films.

Well, that is of course a little slice of altered history that the Wachowskis themselves might have been intrigued with; but of course they did indeed carry on.  They made the two Matrix sequels back to back, but after the sheer exuberance and unexpectedness of the first one, they failed to truly satisfy anyone but the hard core Wachowski- heads.

Then came Speed Racer (2008) which in fairness did exactly what the artists wanted it to do;  but unfortunately for them everyone was still waiting for another Matrix.  And as artists I respect their right to not do that if it doesn’t suit them.  By this time, however, it seemed to have become fashionable to bash them; and that certainly didn’t change with their 2012 outing, co-directed by Tom Tykwer and which I personally found to be utterly fascinating:  Cloud Atlas.

Now comes their latest, Jupiter Ascending, also written by them. The knives are really out in force this time; and for the life of me I can’t understand why.  Were people expecting another Guardians of the Galaxy?  Because it certainly seems like it; but listen, folks, that one came out of nowhere and knocked everyone out.  That lightning isn’t going to strike again for a while, that’s for sure.

Jupiter Ascending is a great big joyful ear blast of a grand space opera that takes its insane scenario seriously and if you accept that and buckle yourself in then you can look forward to a sometimes bumpy but always enjoyable ride.

It is the story of Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), a young lady of no country, having been born in the middle of the ocean.  In Chicago she pretty much spends her time hating her life and cleaning out other people’s toilets.  However, she doesn’t know it yet but she has become a pawn in a huge galactic Game of Thrones where rather vile people are fighting for ownership of the vastly important Planet Earth, since she is in fact the legal inheritor of that planet.

As a result she finds herself being pursued by various groups of bounty hunters whilst being perpetually rescued by hugely resourceful Cain Wise (Channing Tatum), a sort of non- silver surfer of the airwaves.  It is all wonderfully, unapologetically over the top and I think that the fact that all concerned play this high camp comic book utterly straight is one of its strengths.

The entire film is really about trust (a word that is used over and over in various permutations) and betrayal; and you can use the image of the harvested humans to draw in comparisons with The Matrix or the hazy not-quite reincarnation concept with Cloud Atlas – but that would be pointless.  Sure, it is interesting to also tie it in with Lana Wachowski’s own sex change; but again, it doesn’t really matter unless you’re doing an in-depth study of the work of these two.  And it’s too soon for that.

The performances of the three siblings who are squabbling for the Earth are excellent.  Titus (Douglas Booth) has one of those entitled rich boy faces that you just want to punch.

Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) is – hard to judge – perhaps the most devious.  Her performance is a revelation to me. I had no idea this actress was so good or so strangely gorgeous.  I would love to see her in a spin- off!

I have to ask: what the hell was going on with Eddie Redmayne as Balem?  Don’t get me wrong now: he is repellent and slimy, as well as being another of those entitled creatures. But was he deliberately sounding and acting like Prince Charles, he of the House of Windsor?

It was unnerving.  God knows I’ve no time for the Royal Parasites but I hope PC isn’t quite this evil!

I have to touch on a couple of things that seem to be a big gripe against Jupiter Ascending:  one is that the plot is muddled.  Well, I must have seen a different film because I felt that with a reasonable amount of concentration it was pretty much straight forward.  The other thing is that the lines were hilarious with a couple in particular being singled out.

Can I ask you something?  What was wrong with that scene of the crushed and demoralized Jupiter stating:

“The more you care, the more the world finds ways to hurt you.”

Did you never feel like that? Or that when you look up at the stars you realise that the sky is filled with miracles?

If so, then I’m sorry for you.

If I have one complaint it is that the special effects seem to be filmed in such a dim light that we can’t really appreciate them.

But for the Big Screen spectacle that I enjoyed last night, that’s something I can overlook.





Author: Charley Brady

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