Contributor: Rick McGimpsey
So yesterday I went to the theatre and watched Jupiter Ascending. To be perfectly honest I enjoyed it. The visuals and cinematography were excellent and the story, although simple, had a nice fairy tale-esque feel that reminded me of the great visual sci-fi films like Star Wars or Avatar that didn’t need complexity or depth to be enjoyable.
The complaints I heard about the film were mostly directed at the acting, cast, or the “childish” story. And, although, I understand where those criticisms may come from I will choose to ignore them in understanding what it was that the Wachowskis were trying to accomplish here. They weren’t trying to make another Cloud Atlas or Matrix, but, instead they were trying to make a space opera with epic plot, visual worlds, weird alien designs, and fun action adventure. And for all that the Wachowskis did well. If I may be so bold, Star Wars did not always have a superb cast or acting either so I think Jupiter Ascending deserves a pass here.
Some complaints I do have, however, regard some of the pacing and certain flaws in the story. The film seemed episodic in places where Jupiter seems to move from one crisis to another. The wedding scene for instance felt more like something that would happen toward the end of a movie rather than the middle. The pacing is a bit off so we get several build-ups and climaxes that end and then the story just moves on.
I also disliked the Cinderella elements. Jupiter’s family life, although not perfect, does not give me the impression that her folks despise her. So the whole chores and Cinderella subplot they had going made little sense. Her mother as far as could tell loved her and the rest of the family seemed to be pretty fine with her as well aside from some typical squabbles young restless people have with their elders. I was never convinced that she was abused or hated by her family. It felt like the Wachowskis were trying to tack on a Cinderella reference but had little room for it in their massive space opera to fit it properly in a way that made sense.
Otherwise I loved the film and will look forward to its blu-ray release.