Jupiter Ascending thoughts
This past weekend I went to see Jupiter Ascending with my friend Fiona. Given its terrible rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and the general not-good buzz I’d heard, I went in with pretty low expectations. (You can read a bit more in depth about the plot, etc at the Wikipedia entry for the film, it’s a good overview.)
I’m a fan of genre, and I enjoy good science fiction. One of my favourite shows is Firefly, because it’s all space opera and jazz, and I love the big scale nature of stuff like Star Wars and Star Trek, too. Most of all I love to see original science fiction. Not just another reboot or whatever. Although I love some book-to-film stuff (Snowpiercer for instance), I love seeing new ideas and stories, and that’s what Jupiter Ascending does.
Yeah, it’s cheesy and there’s a lot of face-palming moments, a lot of “oh, she’s falling and screaming AGAIN” and hella scenery chewing from Eddie Redmayne, but it’s so fun and shiny. I was pleasantly surprised. This review on ABC (Australia) kinda nails it: a crazy, fun, infuriating, difficult, fun, bonkers, expensive, fun, ludicrous, romantic, fun flick. It is flawed but is full of fun.
I think what pleased me most, other than it being a fun new sci-fi story and lots of cool looking aliens (dragon dudes!) was the variety in the cast. Women and POC throughout! And even the poster – above – isn’t some kind of ridiculous trope or exploitation! Jupiter’s front-facing and in front of the dude. I love that, y’know? And while it is a tad frustrating Jupiter seems to be super naive/used as a pawn, and needs to be saved loads, she’s at least not the lone female character in an action movie for once, and the film does pass the Bechdel test.
I’ve seen mentioned elsewhere that this would have been a great concept pilot for a TV series, and I have to agree. I was a left a little disappointed in the ending considering the scale of the Universe and the underlying structure of power within. There was a lot of stuff crammed in to really get across the world-building the Wachowskis have done – like the scene of bureaucratic hilarity, and introducing all the factions of power, all of the players, etc.
The movie’s not perfect, I found Jupiter a little problematic, but I really did enjoy it as a popcorn-chowing big shiny fun and at least a little humourous couple of hours. If you can go in managing expectations and would like to be entertained while compartmentalizing what you see as being a little problematic, and have some tolerance for a bit of silly, I’d say check this movie out. I’d be likely to watch it again perhaps when it’s on DVD/BluRay.