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Jupiter Ascending (2015)

A Review

First things first: Jupiter Ascending (2015) is not the candy-colored disaster you may have read about on social media. This isn't jet-booted Cloud Atlas (2012). Yes, there's lots ripe to be ridiculed by the 140-character satirists: Mila Kunis loves dogs! And dog men! Spaceman roller blades! Soylent-ever-after is people! But that is being glib and dishonest to the entirety of what made it to the screen.

The early chase across the skies of Chicago during pre-dawn light is amazing. The establishment of Mila's character and her family is touching, funny, and interesting. There's some big concepts that make the larger space opera unique. The space sets are dazzling.

There are problems but they are quibbles compared to the complete lack of chemistry between the two leads. The relationship between Dog Boy and Toilet Girl must work to drive the vehicle forward. Unfortunately, every time the two leads were left alone I found myself checking the time on my phone. The audience has to believe that Tatum is so in love with Kunis that he'll risk his life (repeatedly) to save her. His emotional shrug as he goes off to do so, ultimately, is mirrored by the audience.

It is a shame because I want to see the Wachowskis continue to create daring, unique cinematic visions. There's fun stuff here. Per usual with their work, the visuals are amazing. They're just not enough to overcome the very real human problem at the core.

See it if: You got a thing for odd tangents into steampunk, byzantine bureaucracies, awkward "romantic" exposition, or villains encouraged to not only chew scenery, but devour it. The world building is unique, but can probably safely wait until the movie comes up for free as part of a Netflix or Amazon Prime account.

Seen on: A theater big screen.