It’s been downhill for the Wachowskis after The Matrix Trilogy, and fans have spent a decade waiting for the siblings’ retribution, but it’s sadly not here yet. In their latest work, Jupiter Ascending, the two directors try so hard to reclaim their days of glory; they fall short on almost everything they were intending to achieve.
The movie opens, for no reason whatsoever, with Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) recounting the story of her parents. She’s just a housecleaner with big ambitions who hates her life because it’s unfair. Jupiter is then somehow attacked by aliens and saved by Caine (Channing Tatum), another alien, who takes Jupiter to a third alien who tells her she’s royalty and that she’s the key to solving an intergalactic struggle between three heirs to a very wealthy alien family.
And just in case that doesn’t sound irrational enough, there’s more. Too many subplots, too many out-of-context situations, and too many irrelevant characters with too much screen-time are a better description of the movie. Granted, the Wachowskis tried to create this immense world and show the audience how immense it is, but too many pillars to support the premise left so little space for the actual story to breathe. By the end of the movie, it felt more like they were shoving this world down our throats than actually introducing it to us.
Jupiter Ascending is a fine example of ‘More is less’. The remarkably high number of subplots and background stories resulted in one huge mess of inconsistency and absolute mayhem. A mayhem amidst which the Wachowskis lost sight of what they were trying to reach and the movie kept going just so it could end. Seriously, they even ripped themselves off with ‘the chosen one introduced to the real world’ basis’ (Sorry Neo, you’re no longer the only one).
The plot was incomprehensible, the characters felt like strangers, and things simply did not make sense –seriously, what was up with the comedy and romance? –. Not one character was developed properly, not even Jupiter, the Disney princess version of Neo, or the oh-my evil villain played by Eddie Redmayne.
Which leads us to the following: Jupiter Ascending was a waste of talent. The talented Eddie Redmayne was given the role of a dandy villain with throat disease and Mila Kunis was given the lead role she obviously wasn’t cut out for. The only accurate casting the movie presented was that of Channing Tatum who played his role well.
Well, to be fair, the movie had some silver linings alongside Tatum’s performance. The visuals were impressive, the CGIs were well invested, and the action scenes were rollercoaster rides. None of these features really outdid another movie, but they were enough to save Jupiter Ascending whatever pride it had left.
Jupiter Ascending is not the Wachowskis redemption rather than another fail try. It’s a mess that tries to climb so high it falls so bad. Wasted castings, immensely numerous subplots and unnecessary sequences can make this movie painful to watch for some. But through all that mess, others can find guilty pleasures in the action and the visuals, which can turn the movie into a watchable hurricane of chaotic mayhem.
Ultimately, it may be fair to call the Wachowskis a one-time wonder.