'Jupiter Ascending': What the Critics Are Saying
Mila Kunis stars as janitor Jupiter Jones who discovers she is heiress to a powerful intergalactic dynasty in The Wachowskis' latest epic.
Jupiter Ascending casts Mila Kunis as humble janitor Jupiter Jones who, with the help of genetically engineered space bounty hunter Caine Wise, played by Channing Tatum, discovers she is heiress to a powerful intergalactic dynasty.
Co-written and co-directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski, the epic space opera also stars Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Douglas Booth and Tuppence Middleton.
The film's delayed release from summer 2014 to this weekend puts it in direct competition with family-friendly The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, which is expected to out-earn Jupiter at the box office.
Read what the top critics are saying about Jupiter Ascending:
The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy writes, "Once again, the Wachowskis are nothing if not ambitious, as they create a theory of existence that posits the notion that we're even smaller pawns in a cosmic system than we might have imagined, mere “livestock” to a ruling clan based elsewhere in the cosmos." But, "unlike The Matrix, certainly, there is nothing conceptual here that catches the viewer's fancy, only the spectacle of an ordinary young lady being swept up into extraordinary circumstances."
The "romance between Jupiter and her guardian may sweep young fans of Kunis and Tatum along up to a point but, while the characters swing through the air with the greatest of ease, thanks to Caine's late-model boots, the love story never becomes something to swoon over; there's something about the strapping man's little blond goatee and elfin ears that's a bit weird." Kunis "maintains her composure and doesn't have quite as hard a time as she had in her misbegotten role in Oz the Great and Powerful. We now know from Foxcatcher that Tatum is capable of much more than this sort of he-man role, while Redmayne can hope that balloting for a certain prestigious award is finished before voters get a load of his melodramatics on display here."
Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips notes, "The Wachowski siblings relish their van-art science-fiction landscapes, packed with scary urban development and gunfire. But visionaries often lose their way in their own visions," adding, "The script struggles to tell a dull story straight. The sibling rivalry afoot in the House of Abrasax pits the sniveling Balem (Redmayne) against Titus (Booth) and Kalique (Middleton), and when Redmayne whispers lines such as "I have not crossed the vastness of space for your pleasantries," you know you're in for another uninteresting round of expository catch-up."
The Washington Post's Stephanie Merry echoes, "It seems that Andy and Lana Wachowski have never lost that childlike ability to dream. But they also haven’t mastered the grown-up power to rein it in." The film does have "some fun detours that further illuminate the Wachowskis’ spectacular visions. One wry diversion involves a robotic 'intergalactic advocate' named Bob, who ushers Jupiter through an endless bureaucracy to claim her inheritance. It makes the DMV look like Maui." However, “Jupiter Ascending often feels primarily like a love story,” and “like everything else in the movie, it’s too much too soon.”
The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw says, "It’s all very chaotic and entertaining, like a bizarre cult sci-fi TV show that somehow survived a threat of mid-season cancellation." Redmayne steals the "limelight, playing the scheming space-lord Balem, an epicene pharaoh of intergalactic evilness — languid, lip-pursing and sporting the kind of makeup that must take him hours each morning to apply. Cinemas may need to have specialist audience-participation screenings: Pout-a-Long-a-Jupiter-Ascending."
USA Today's Claudia Puig argues if audiences want their views of Oscar-nominated Redmayne to "remain intact, stay far away from this movie. The creepy, whispery voice he affects for his villainous role is one part Don Corleone, one part Lord Voldemort and several parts absurdly melodramatic." The film itself is "convoluted, design-happy space opera whose special effects are underwhelming and whose story grows ever more absurd as it goes along," but "the eye candy is sweet."