Sunday, June 5, 2016

Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending is a science fiction space opera. Lots of special effects, various aliens, threats to end the world...the usual.
The story follows Jupiter Jones, a Russian immigrant girl in Chicago who happens to be the genetic reincarnation of a space queen. Various people show up to capture or kill her, she falls in love with a hard-bitten mercenary type, many things explode, and in the end she goes back to her plain-old-Earth-girl life. It's about as engrossing as it sounds, which is to say, not at all.

Which is too bad, because I think Jupiter Ascending had some promise. There's certainly plenty of action, and the effects seemed mostly to be well done. The sound effects could have used some more work, I thought, since all the high-tech alien weapons sounded like they came out of a cartoon. But the visuals were solid, and no more ridiculous than what you see in every movie of this kind.

As a backdrop, the idea of a universe run by mostly-immortal humans intent on living forever didn't seem too terrible. Their plan to "harvest" the Earth by turning everyone into immortality-body-wash makes an interesting way to threaten the planet, but I never really felt any suspense over the possibility.

Largely that was due to the villains being incredibly bland and inept. Three siblings take a run at getting Jupiter-reincarnated-as-their-mother to either join them or go away, but none of them felt like a serious threat. Even the guy who steals Jupiter's family and holds them hostage was so transparently planning to wipe out the Earth (and them with it) that it was impossible to believe that she'd ever go along with him.

The heroes weren't much better. Jupiter pretty much just wanders around wherever people lead her, gets into trouble, and waits for Caine (the mercenary-type guy) to save the day. For his part, Caine has basically no personality, but of course he can survive anything and overcome any obstacle. There are hints of more interesting character development, such as Jupiter being desperate enough for money to sell her egg cells to a fertility clinic, or Caine's need to belong to a larger organization. But after establishing those things, there's not really much in the way of followup.

You expect over-the-top heroics in space opera, but usually there's some attempt to surprise the viewer with a twist or two. I didn't feel like any of that happened in Jupiter Ascending. Maybe I'm just jaded from seeing too many stories of this type, but this one didn't stand out in any way. Every step along the way felt predetermined.

Jupiter Ascending isn't bad, exactly, just generic and uninspired. The world-building was serviceable, the characters did what they needed to do, the special effects were pretty...but none of it made me want to see more. If you like the genre and you happen to have the opportunity, Jupiter Ascending is worth watching. But I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

No comments:

Post a Comment