Jupiter Ascending (2015)
February 8, 2015 12:12 AM - Subscribe

Jupiter Jones, an undocumented immigrant working as a maid in Chicago, finds out she's the heir to an interstellar fortune including the ownership of Earth. This is the latest film by the Wachowski siblings.
posted by Small Dollar (133 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I'm somewhat ashamed to admit I kinda want to see this, when though the leads have a very limited toolset, the wachowskis have made more bad movies than good by quite some margin, and it's been shunted to the dead zone of February.

It's got a Fifth Element vibe to it and goddamn I loved that movie.
posted by smoke at 1:03 AM on February 8, 2015

i will fight anyone who doesn't like this movie.

no, my 14-year-old self who wrote glorious self-insert fanfiction in space will fight anyone who doesn't like this movie.

*more intellectual thoughts to follow*
posted by cendawanita at 2:04 AM on February 8, 2015 [10 favorites]

I didn't hate this movie but it is a complete mess of a film. It's fairly long but seems to be missing large chunks of narrative that might make the action scenes make more sense and flow better. I spent the whole movie going "wait, what?"
posted by octothorpe at 5:39 AM on February 8, 2015 [5 favorites]

Every time I read about Channing Tatum's character in this movie I think about this guy.
posted by valkane at 7:22 AM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

I might complain that this is now the fifth movie that they've made that involves a "harvesting humans" plotline.
posted by octothorpe at 7:31 AM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

Query: For people who've seen both, how does it compare to Speed Racer as weird, kinda trippy fun?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:48 AM on February 8, 2015

Having seen it, I did quite enjoy the brief interlude where it turned into a Terry Gilliam movie. Complete with Terry Gilliam cameo!
posted by nonasuch at 8:25 AM on February 8, 2015 [7 favorites]

Query: For people who've seen both, how does it compare to Speed Racer as weird, kinda trippy fun?

you can definitely see that it comes from the same spirit of fearlessness in committing to a vision (and a coherent one, providing you take it on its own terms), but the flavours are quite different, I would call it a successor to whatever it was that made The Fifth Element happen, it's much more closer to that movie, stylistically speaking.
posted by cendawanita at 8:32 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

except Korben Dallas is played by Mila Kunis, and Leeloo is Channing Tatum, but Leeloo is also Mila Kunis and Gary Oldman is played by Eddie Redmayne. Eddie Redmayne is also Ruby Rhod.

it's a trip.
posted by cendawanita at 8:39 AM on February 8, 2015 [20 favorites]

Speed Racer is much more focused and the action scenes are better illustrated and composed.

I accidentally ended up at the 2D version instead of the 3D one which I wanted to see, but due to my schedule I sucked up my desire to shell out more cash and went ahead with it.

I have a very simple way of judging movies: 1) Was it worth the cost of admission? 2) Is it worth renting? 3) Is it worth watching on tv if it happens to come on? 4) AVOID AT ALL COSTS. Under this system, very few fours are out there and the twos are kind of a narrow space with the biggest areas being 1s and 3s.

Jupiter Ascending kept skipping along the barrier between see it in the theater and wait to rent it. Visually, it's creative and often times engrossing when the siblings delves into the world building of the galaxy above earth, and it's probably for nearly all the scenes concerning that part of the movie that the 3D would really pay off. Yet, at the same time, we don't quite benefit from learning enough about the major players and their cultural motivations to fully grasp why Kunis' character Jupiter is a threat or a boon to them soon enough.

One difference between this movie and Speed Racer is that Speed Racer fully committed to the nonsensical. It was aware it was a movie based on an anime franchise and totally ran with it, but did so without breaking the rules or conditions it had setup at any time. When ninjas attacked Speed Racer it was part of the flow of the movie. Jupiter Ascending, meanwhile, couldn't quite decide what type of movie it wanted to be, pushing serious summer sci-fi action pic versus something not afraid to be a bit silly. Luc Besson's Fifth Element was the latter, constantly unfraid to embrace the outrageous style of its premise and that confidence it applied to its world building. There's a scene in the middle of Jupiter involving a running joke on bureaucracy that could have been lifted from A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and it was fun, but it was also kind of out place based on the seriousness by which a lot of everything previously had been presented.

I think Jupiter wanted to be a much lighter movie, but its atmosphere and characters, as portrayed, were a bit too serious to make it happen. Thus, you get this mixed production that had a lot of promise to be an awesome movie, but it's bumping up down the highway on a flat tire or two the entire time. At moments you lose yourself in it as scenes come together or you marvel at the film production, and other moments you're jarred by the narrative or characters on screen behaving in a certain way.

One particular problem was the romance that was forced between Kunis and Tatum. For about half the film, the two were for the most part simply avoiding being killed by the bad guys, and while Kunis asked questions about Tatum to him, to Stinger / Sean Bean, they were questions that anyone might ask of the half wolf/human who showed up out of nowhere to rescue them. Nor were there moments in which Kunis seemed to be evolving romantic feelings for Tatum. This resulted in an awkward scene later in the movie when Kunis and Tatum have a moment when she confesses to always falling for the wrong guy and we're about a second away from a kiss between the two. It didn't feel organic, though, just as if the directors pointed everyone into their spot and said, "Okay guys, time to film a romance scene!" If we could have removed that scene from the movie, but then allowed the second half where both obviously are acting on feelings toward each other, THEN had a more romantic moment (such as the very end) it would have come across so much better.

Going back to the action scenes, the fight scenes weren't filmed all that great in the beginning based on the blurriness given to the camera following the action and its desire to stick close to Tatum. There was a failure to establish a situational awareness of the scene, who was involved, and how the fight was proceeding. This wasn't necessarily a major problem, there were obviously attempts made, but a lot of the time it just felt like Tatum was jumping around shooting his gun. It also popped up in what should have really been a great alien spaceship chase scene twisting and turning around the tops of the skyscrapers of Chicago, and perhaps the 3D actually would have provided some depth, but Tatum and Kunis weren't well defined or came across as CG through parts of it, and something that should have been an early in the film hallmark of how fun the movie was going to be fell kind of flat for being a bit confusing. These problems generally resolved themselves later, particularly in a fight between Tatum and a winged lizard dude, and perhaps some of them arose because the scenes were just too long.

There are some wonderful scenes, anything involving the Aegis force was generally pretty fun (ELEPHANT HEAD MAN), and the majestic array of creativeness thrown onto the screen is diabetic eye candy. It's an immensely frustrating film to a degree because there's a great movie just resting beneath its surface, but it only periodically manages to pop its head up.

It's a film that I felt I got my money's worth for going to see, but I think it really depends on one's own aptitude toward crazy sci-fi movies and the Siblings own style of film. If you didn't like Fifth Element, you probably won't enjoy Jupiter Ascending, at least enough to go see it in the theater. One odd observation I made to myself was that it kind of reminded me of Lynch's Dune in how there's a great story in that movie that's constantly wrestling with the film to come out around fascinating visuals and momentary scenes. (Jupiter Ascending is better than Dune, I thinks if you want a straight comparison...)
posted by Atreides at 9:06 AM on February 8, 2015 [18 favorites]

the funny thing is that most of the fannish women i know esp on tumblr are losing their minds over this movie. This one seems to be the representative reaction.

Here is my feeling about this movie: it is your garbage. It is garbage for you. “Is this how straight dudes feel at the movies all the time????” I hissed at Dae during this movie several times. “Like someone carefully noted down your early pubescent fantasies and then threw 100 MILLION DOLLARS at them?”

posted by cendawanita at 6:40 PM on February 8, 2015 [32 favorites]

This is bombing domestically, but actually doing fairly well overseas - which seems like the case for a lot of late era Wachowski movies. I guess that being a colorful sci-fi extravaganza helps with that.
posted by codacorolla at 6:59 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have no one to talk to about this movie other than the person I went to see it with! It makes me sad. I mean, I tweeted "Current sexual orientation: veering wildly among Mila Kunis' eyebrows, Captain Tsing, and Entitled spaceships" right after I got out, and everyone was, like, too into the Grammys to respond. Okay, or they haven't even seen it yet. WHATEVER.

I thought it was fun. Silly, but fun, and great to look at (so many lovely details just flew right past). Some fight scenes were too long, but I guess that's the Thing these days.

It's totally going to launch a lot of fanfic. Heck, I was almost tempted: Jupiter Ascending, Improved Version.

The Entitled ships were gorgeous. I loved them. (I love ridiculous baroque spacecraft! See also: Mouretsu Pirates.) Here's a page with some of the concept art, though for once, they look even better in the film (as they should, really).
posted by wintersweet at 9:14 PM on February 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

It wasn't quite the main line to the id for me that it was for some other people (that was Pacific Rim), but I did spend the whole movie sort of basking in its ridiculousness and thinking, "yes. this is for me. this glorious space trash is FOR ME." It wasn't good, per se. But that didn't really matter. Rave Sashayed speaks the truth!

But oh man, I did really wish the dialogue had a little more spark. I was hoping this would be the new The Fifth Element, but The Fifth Element was hilarious. Hilarious on purpose, I mean.
posted by yasaman at 10:01 PM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

are you telling me, "YOU DON'T TREAT YOUR COUSIN LIKE A CHICKEN" is not oscar-bait material???
posted by cendawanita at 10:49 PM on February 8, 2015 [8 favorites]

Ha! I loved that bit.

For people who want MOAR, NOW! check out ascendants-unite.tumblr.com.
posted by wintersweet at 11:14 PM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

Saw this today. This movie could have flipped directly over to balls-out amazing if only the soundtrack hadn't been so tremendously dull. If the music had taken any chances whatsoever, gone with jazz and noise and rock and roll, I would be able to forgive it all its sins. And hoo-boy does it have sins. As it was, with the yawnsauce orchestral doldrums banging away, it was only awful but watchable costume and set porn. The pacing was wrong, the romantic chemistry between the leads did not exist, and with two such comedically-skilled leads, why was there almost no intentional humor to speak of?! I mean, honestly, come on, the best they could do was "I love dogs"? That's just an invitation for the fanfic to get weird, not a spark to light a burning passion for this movie.

I wanted it to be the spiritual successor to Fifth Element. Space dragons in biker jackets! Robot bureaucrats (who OBVIOUSLY had A Thing One Time And It Was Awkward And They had Hoped They Would Never See Each Other Again)! Mila Kunis, who is charming as hell. Channing Tatum, shirtless werewolf with WINGS. Nesh, the elephant alien spaceship pilot! Floaty sex chambers and evil barefoot immortal spacewizards! Every element taken individually is glorious. There was so much potential. But I came out of it annoyed. Annoyed at the twenty minute chases and fights with no moments to rest, annoyed at the hamfisted romance, annoyed at the way the only times I laughed were ironically. This was a movie I wanted to love unironically. But it fell far short and didn't have enough innovation to make me feel like I'd seen anyting new. Just a parade of pretty things, relentlessly, one after another, and bees. (Don't get me wrong, I liked the bees.)
posted by Mizu at 2:24 AM on February 9, 2015 [10 favorites]

The music was rather forgettable. I was walking out of the actual theater, not the building which houses the screens, but the room with the seats and I immediately tried to recall the score...and couldn't. As it's one of our go to comparisons in this thread, the score of the Fifth Element is a character unto itself, and was just as quirky and awesome as the rest of it. Jupiter Ascending was...well, mainstreamed. It kind of did its job, but I won't be hunting down a copy to listen to over and over.
posted by Atreides at 7:35 AM on February 9, 2015

I agree with other people: that was the dumbest thing I've ever seen and I want two more just like it.
posted by The Whelk at 10:23 AM on February 10, 2015 [17 favorites]

(Also if they cut down some of the overlong action they could've made it the space opera rom com it so clearly wants to be)
posted by The Whelk at 10:27 AM on February 10, 2015 [11 favorites]

Everything I wanted to say about this movie has been eloquently summed up by this review, but what really elevated it from mere spectacle to delightful experience was the crowd we ended up with at our viewing. It started with a few scattered giggles when Channing Tatum showed off his jet rollerblades and quickly progressed into full-blown guffaws once Mila Kunis uttered "I love dogs. I've always loved dogs." From then on, our audience basically MST3Ked/Goggleboxed the rest of the film.
posted by evoque at 10:46 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh yes there was a moment about 35 minutes in when the audience collectively realized OH WAIT THIS IS RIDCULOUS and it becomes a wonderful experience.
posted by The Whelk at 10:52 AM on February 10, 2015

The audience I saw it with just sat there in stony (or perhaps stunned) silence.
posted by octothorpe at 11:18 AM on February 10, 2015

There was a group of about 4 younger teenaged girls in my audience who, as soon as the credits started BURST INTO DELIGHTED CACKLES. One of them said "What did I tell you?"

So yeah, I think we're looking at a ossicle cult hit here. Major sleepover fuel.
posted by The Whelk at 11:25 AM on February 10, 2015 [6 favorites]

I think my audience received it mildly. There's a definite moment in the movie when it all clicks together and you're kind of wishing it had been that way from the start. Perhaps if it had just left Earth sooner or something, jumped quicker into the absurd and awesome, it would have a much wider positive reception.
posted by Atreides at 11:45 AM on February 10, 2015

yeah by the time they get to SPACE RIVENDELL everyone was pretty onboard. There are just ...a lot of delaying it for for 3D-required fights.
posted by The Whelk at 11:57 AM on February 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

You wonder if there's a much longer version of this film. IMDB trivia says that the original script was 600 pages long and using the minute per page rule, that makes ten hours of screen time. That goes a long way to explain why this feels like a mini-series condensed into a two hour movie.
posted by octothorpe at 12:08 PM on February 10, 2015 [7 favorites]

Yeah, I definitely think this could have worked better if it were longer. One of the strangest dropped threads to me was how Caine had killed an Entitled and then just, um, didn't remember what happened? I was pretty sure this was a reference to the memory-stealing tech of the Greys, and that we were going to find out that Caine had been manipulated (probably by one of the Abrasax siblings) and essentially used as a weapon. But, no, it just never came up again.

I wish the long, boring fight scenes and the silly romance had been cut in favor of more sneaky space politics. I wanted Jupiter to learn how to play the game.

Also, I haven't heard any talk about the symbolism of Caine losing his wings (fallen angel, obvs) and then, after redeeming himself, gaining them back. I don't exactly feel like this movie is garbage for me--I prefer my mancandy with more evidence of a capacity for speech--but I do have to say that winged space werewolf is mad trashbrilliant.

Also, what did people think about the end??
posted by overglow at 1:03 PM on February 10, 2015 [8 favorites]

It should have ended on a freeze frame, OR Jupiter introducing her new boyfriend: Caine (with a hat to cover the ears Spock/Teal'c style) to her family for dinner, wherein Caine shocks them all with his dog-like table manners.
posted by Mizu at 1:53 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

It should have ended on a freeze frame, OR Jupiter introducing her new boyfriend: Caine (with a hat to cover the ears Spock/Teal'c style) to her family for dinner, wherein Caine shocks them all with his dog-like table manners.

The family reacts with laughter with the patriarch shouting, "He eats like dog, WE LOVE DOGS!"

posted by Atreides at 2:49 PM on February 10, 2015 [11 favorites]

Also, what did people think about the end??

Weird! I mean I guess she's just trying to figure out what the hell happened to her (Hi, you now OWN THE EARTH) and make sure her family is okay and her best dog-boyfriend now has cool wings to go on joyrides thought the Chicago skyline with ( that I liked actually, they're cute together) but like ...um, you have more money and resources then anyone else on Earth* and you still have your title in the Vast Space Beaurocracy soooo maybe ...do something with it? I wanted her to go off on an adventure or something. Also, two equally villainous siblings left.

It just ended it on a seemingly arbitrary point- I also would've liked either MORE ROMANCE OR IT TURNING INTO game Of Thrones In Space With increasingly ridiculous Outfits.

*I did like how backwater Earth is in the grand scheme of things. Sure owning a planet is awesome for her but to everyone else it's like owning a rproductive silver mine in Nevada ..it's nice but it's not like GODLIKE IMPRESSIVE.
posted by The Whelk at 3:00 PM on February 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

My other reaction was, Mass Effect 4 would be smart to borrow at least some of this insanity.
posted by The Whelk at 3:02 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really want to see this movie now, lol. JET BOOTS!
posted by longdaysjourney at 3:11 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

600 pages? Good lord, suddenly so much about the movie's incoherence makes sense. It definitely felt like there were a lot of plot threads that were unceremoniously dropped, and a lot of character development that just got...left out. Jupiter and Caine were both effectively ciphers given how little we really knew about their actual personalities. There were points of the movie where I felt like I was getting the executive summary of the movie.

I keep coming back to The Fifth Element as my point of comparison, because The Fifth Element is basically responsible for my enduring love of ridiculous space trash space operas and I was so hoping Jupiter Ascending would be its successor, but despite having almost the same running time as Jupiter Ascending, The Fifth Element felt a lot more lean and zippy. It sold its romance well, it rushed breezily through its worldbuilding, and the dialogue was reliably fun. Jupiter Ascending on the other hand felt like it was about 2-3 more editing passes away from being something closer to coherent, with a lot of moments and plot threads that were almost but not quite there.

I wonder if there's a lot of footage on the cutting room floor, or if someone just took a hacksaw to that 600-page script to produce something that only sort of hangs together well.
posted by yasaman at 4:06 PM on February 10, 2015 [5 favorites]

Yeah, the more my younglings over on tumblr talk about this movie, the more I realize that it's not a "love it or hate it" thing. It's three categories: Straight from the Id Love, Incoherent Demands For Time and Money Back, and my category, which is "Why won't the world just make us feel like The Fifth Element made us feel again?!"
posted by Mizu at 4:36 PM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

My friend Matt wrote that Nib recap!
posted by The Whelk at 4:38 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

overglow: "One of the strangest dropped threads to me was how Caine had killed an Entitled and then just, um, didn't remember what happened?"

He didn't say killed he said ripped his throat out, which I took to explain the one villain's voice and penchant for high collars.

But you're right it's odd they bring this up multiple times but don't really explain why he did it.
posted by RobotHero at 12:51 AM on February 11, 2015 [7 favorites]

It dawned on me that Jupiter's riches and power doesn't necessarily translate well to living on Earth. It's not as if she can just trade in her space bucks for euros or dollars. Though, she could probably use that to procure precious minerals and what not, sell them and establish her wealth on earth that way...but that would take a little bit of planning and perhaps after everything that happened, she just wanted a bit of the routine to calm down. I mean, if you think about it, why would you want your family stuck in the back breaking never rewarding job of cleaning rich people houses?
posted by Atreides at 7:06 AM on February 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

I had to laugh when I saw Lana's quote about originality as if there were a single new idea in this entire film.
posted by octothorpe at 4:49 AM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

What the hell is wrong with me
posted by The Whelk at 3:03 PM on February 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

posted by Atreides at 3:05 PM on February 12, 2015

Jupiter Ascending Is The Worst Movie Ever Go See It Immediately
So what exactly is Jupiter Ascending?

Let’s start with the basics: this movie is not The Matrix. This movie is not Dune. This movie is not Star Wars, nor is it The Fifth Element. No, this movie is like if all of those movies plus the music video for the Backstreet Boys’ “Larger Than Life” and the really weird parts of the Mass Effect trilogy all got really drunk at a party and had a massive orgy while H.P. Lovecraft filmed it. That’s Jupiter Ascending.

The plot is this: the Wachowskis were given an extraordinary amount of money to make whatever the hell they wanted, and what they wanted to make is exactly what we all, secretly, deep down, want to make: the big-screen adaptation of that Stargate fanfic you wrote when you were fourteen that really went off the rails and began to inhabit its own universe, complete with original characters, wolf-men, and bees. That’s Jupiter Ascending.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:52 PM on February 12, 2015 [10 favorites]

Half in the Bag

"Still at the bottom of Lake Michigan, Mike and Jay pass the time by discussing the latest Wachowski siblings flop Jupiter Ascending, as well as the comparable sci fi flop Battlefield Earth starring John Travolta."

posted by Grangousier at 1:19 AM on February 13, 2015

Geeesh, has this person actually seen Battlefield Earth? The comparison is wrong on so.....many levels.
posted by Atreides at 5:48 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

First of all, 'these people'.

Secondly, if you watch the video it's not really a direct comparison (in fact, Mike actually recommends the film for the reasons people in here like it; Jay likes a lot of elements, but feels that the action scenes and characterization make it too 'cold' to be compelling), but rather a segue to talk about another massive sci fi bomb with so-bad-it's-good appeal.
posted by codacorolla at 9:27 PM on February 14, 2015

I want this movie to be on TV every Boxing Day so that I can keep watching it.

And then I want an entire series about the Aegis and its wacky crew solving space crimes. And occasionally ferrying Magical Space Princess Jupiter to the big Space Conferences or Diplomatic Meetings or whatever.

It was a glorious pastiche-filled hot mess of a movie.
posted by Katemonkey at 5:13 AM on February 15, 2015 [8 favorites]

The plot and script were meh but the visual design kept me just entertained enough.
I really want an Aegis TV show. There was seriously not enough of those cool guys with their cool ship and cool elephant guy pilot and cool mech-space-fighter things. Reminded me of Mass Effect a bit.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:22 AM on February 16, 2015

And then I want an entire series about the Aegis and its wacky crew solving space crimes

Oh wait, ha, I swear I didn't read that before I posted. Good to know I'm not alone.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:22 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I loved it. It's gorgeous and utterly ridiculous but dammit, it sensibly explains little green men, crop circles, and why everyone in space is basically humanoid. I liked how fully realized that universe was and Jupiter is just going whaaaaat while the Abrasax family is just doing some next-level capitalist business-as-usual. And yes yes yes to a film solely dedicated to the Aegis crew. That quarter second cut where the robot/android takes guns out of her back? Hnnnnng.

The fight scenes were generally too quick and blurry for me (that Chicago battle is pretty much how I imagined what live-action Saints Row 4 would be but with better music) and the romance plot was whatever but if that means Sean Bean is going to narrate Channing Tatum's emotions near the end of the film, I will gladly make that trade every time.

I haven't had so much fun in a theatre since Pacific Rim.
posted by zix at 8:06 AM on February 16, 2015 [13 favorites]

I for one, am eagerly awaiting seeing cosplayers try to tackle this one.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:12 AM on February 18, 2015

I for one, am eagerly awaiting seeing cosplayers try to tackle this one.

EL Wire and roller blades.

Someone get me someone big, blonde, and willing to grow a half-ass beard.
posted by Katemonkey at 12:53 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

The ships were amazing - I loved that there was a consistent technical style going on of detached wing pieces, which you then saw interpreted and designed in a bunch of different ways - sleek bikes, chunky Aegis ships, ridiculous space cathedrals.
posted by xiw at 1:48 PM on February 21, 2015

So, I saw this film this afternoon, and there has been a terrible oversight. You know how Stinger is a bee splice and lives in the dilapidated bee house to represent his bee-ness or something? That logic totally justifies having a scene with Channing Tatum at home, covered with puppies. It could have been a flashback or whatever since he's a lone wolf now, but still.

(Also, I totally thought Stinger was going to sting someone and that would be how Sean Bean dies.)
posted by dinty_moore at 1:56 PM on February 21, 2015 [4 favorites]

Aside from being mildly distracted by how many times Jupiter is falling from great heights rather than ascending anything (and also by some dodgy comping of live elements into fx shots) ... I had as fantastic a time watching this last night as I hoped to have. I want more adventures of Jupe and Puppyman ... But also, like, a bonus feature short film that's basically just Balem going about normal every day tasks. Eddie "the problem with Fiennes' Voldemort is he didn't COMMIT" Redmayne was my favorite thing about this. I get that the intent was to leave his death open so he could be brought back in sequels or whatever, but since this is never ever getting a sequel, I wish they'd given him a more cathartic-for-the-audience death.

posted by sparkletone at 2:19 PM on February 21, 2015 [4 favorites]

posted by The Whelk at 2:25 PM on February 21, 2015 [9 favorites]

Re Sean Bean dying onscreen:
As it turns out, the observation has become a cliché for a reason: Sean Bean really has died in a higher percentage of film and TV projects in which he appears than any other living actor of note (the analysis presumably leaves out stuntmen and people who specialize in playing swiftly dispatched henchmen). With 0.32 deaths per film, Bean is tied with only Bela Lugosi for the most deaths per screen appearance, though Mickey Rourke and John Hurt are close behind, at 0.31 deaths per film.

Yet the prolific Hurt, having appeared in many more movies than Bean, has quietly earned the distinction of dying in more movies and TV shows overall, racking up nearly twice as many on-screen deaths as Bean. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given their shared late-career propensity for playing vaguely foreign madmen who get killed on cheap-looking laboratory sets, Lugosi and Vincent Price also died on screen more times overall than Bean has in his career thus far.

posted by Lexica at 5:52 PM on February 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Quite an interesting way of looking at the film's structure.
posted by xiw at 12:55 PM on February 22, 2015

I think the most unbelievabe, unrealistic part about this film was the
human-animal hybrids
memory-erasing technology
FTL travel
harvesting human civilisations as a business model
part where she acquires essentially unlimited wealth, and then goes back to cleaning toilets and makes her mother - who gave birth to her in a goddamn cargo container in the Atlantic - do the same when she could user her space money to buy them all a huge house etc. And her broke family spend their money on buying her a telescope.
Christ, what an asshole.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:27 AM on February 23, 2015 [7 favorites]

Why women love Jupiter Ascending Featuring the Channing Tatum 3 wolf moon shirt.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:18 AM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

Every time Tatum started skating around in the sky all I could think of was Starlight Express.
posted by biffa at 10:13 AM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

I was waiting for him to skate into Rollerball. Not even the first one - the remake.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:24 AM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

part where she acquires essentially unlimited wealth, and then goes back to cleaning toilets and makes her mother - who gave birth to her in a goddamn cargo container in the Atlantic - do the same when she could user her space money to buy them all a huge house etc. And her broke family spend their money on buying her a telescope.

Since the economies of earth don't recognize space money, I imagine it's going to take some time and subterfuge to translate some of her space money into earth money. More so since Jupiter and her family are undocumented immigrants and need to stay unnoticed. It's going to take even longer to translate space money into some kind of legal immigration status. Not telling anyone from earth, even her immediate family about her space money also complicates things.

If she wanted to, she could get some spaceships, make a big show of landing on earth, alert the world and immediately put her space money to use. But I don't think it's unreasonable to just want to slip into her old life for a little bit while she works out how to go from here - it's been a stressful few days and she needs time to regroup and plan.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:40 PM on February 23, 2015 [5 favorites]

That's what I figured as well, but I can see why it is unsatisfying to have our hero return back to her initial status quo but now with a chipper smile and a bounce in her step as the ending (and some cool gravity rollerblades). Wasn't a problem for me personally though.
posted by sparkletone at 4:36 PM on February 23, 2015

It's like if the ending to the Matrix was Neo going back to being a coder in a cubicle inside the Matrix.

Although.. that would have made it harder to make sequels... hmmm.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:22 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by The Whelk at 5:33 PM on February 23, 2015

I describe the movie actually as Cinderella, except at the end Cinderella's reward is the prince graciously allows her to go back to sleeping in the hearth.

It's s nice little status quo dig at the idea of people rising above their stations.
posted by happyroach at 10:48 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

I kept wondering why we give a shit about Jupiter. She doesn't do anything interesting. She doesn't want anything interesting. She isn't even the prettiest (hello Tuppence Middleton, nice to meet you). It's like Luke in Star Wars, but worse.
posted by idiopath at 7:07 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Since the economies of earth don't recognize space money, I imagine it's going to take some time and subterfuge to translate some of her space money into earth money.

Or she could do like Miriam from cstross' Merchant Princes series and make a killing importing galactic technology IP into Earth.
posted by sukeban at 9:48 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Jupiter thought she wanted out of her world... but then she saw what that could mean. If there's some middle ground between illegal immigrant who is used and exploited by the rich to make their life better and Queen over several planets heavily invested in a galactic economy built on harvesting sentients make the lives of the power better I don't even want to know what it is.
posted by mountmccabe at 12:10 PM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

"...of the powerful better" is how that should go.

I was interested from the trailers. Then I saw some talk about it on tumblr and was pretty prepared for what we'd get. The glorious world-building and so many ideas... I loved it so much.

The romance was forced? The dialogue was bad? The chase scenes were too long? There wasn't enough development in the characters? These complaints roll of my sequined gown. And hit so many other films - even good and great ones! - on the way down. These are only problems if you want them to be.

This movie was fun, exciting, and so full of life.

I hope to see it again in 3D. And plan to go back and see Speed Racer after not even considering until now.
posted by mountmccabe at 3:36 PM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

So something I've been thinking about a lot is Kalique's plan for Jupiter. Of the three Abrasax siblings, we learn the least about her.

Balem wants to kill her or force her to abdicate, returning Earth (and presumably other holdings) to him.

Titus wants to position himself as her heir, then kill her, taking the holdings for himself.

Kalique is a little more opaque. It's possible she has the same end game, and just needs more time to figure out a strategy. If she does hope to get the Earth, any plan necessitates the first steps we see her take - introducing Jupiter to the larger world and helping her to claim her inheritance. Without Jupiter claiming her inheritance, Earth stays in Balem's possession.

She doesn't object, however, when the Aegis come to escort Jupiter to Ores, nor does she attempt to follow. She uses no show of force, either directly to Jupiter (as Balem), or secretly (as Titus).

Titus's suggestion, that Kalique just wants to hurt Balem's position in the marketplace, is a reasonable one. There's certainly little love lost between the three siblings. My best guess is that Kalique is perfectly happy with that result in the short term. For the longer term, I think she hoped to take Jupiter under her wing: impress her with technology and wealth, mold Jupiter to her own needs as they develop, use her as a tool against her siblings while making Jupiter think she's making her own decisions.

That said, it was an opportunity dropped into her lap by surprise by the defecting mercenaries, so when Kaine showed up and her choices were to let Jupiter go or use force and lose Jupiter for those purposes, she had no choice but to let Jupiter go and hope to reconnect with her down the line.

If that was her plan though, why not follow to Ores? She obviously has no desire to move directly against her siblings. Open shows of force don't fit with what we see of her and I think we can assume that open warfare between any pair of them would be disastrous for both sides. Unprofitable, and probably illegal per code and conduct. That precludes her involvement once Titus abducts Jupiter from Ores.

Two possibilities: either she just hates going anywhere near Ores, or she suspected that one or both of her brothers would make a play there, and wanted to stay clear of it.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 4:00 PM on February 24, 2015 [6 favorites]

While I'm on that note, the big unresolved mysteries of the movie in my opinion are:

What are Kalique's motivations?
What really happened when Kaine attacked an entitled and why?
What really happened when Balem killed his mother and why?
What is the relationship between the royalty and Ores/the Aegis?

We need oodles of sequels.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 4:06 PM on February 24, 2015 [5 favorites]

Kaine discovered Balem had committed murder and tore out his throat in a fit of rage. Balem's guards captured him and turned him over to the proper authorities for trial, but not before erasing his memory to keep him from revealing anything incriminating about Balem.

Titus intervened on Kaine's behalf and hired him mostly to annoy Balem.

For some reason, despite astonishingly advanced medical techniques that save his life, the damage done to his throat means Balem loses the ability to talk like a normal person.
posted by RobotHero at 5:32 PM on February 24, 2015 [7 favorites]

Oh and obviously Kaine figured out the murder because he could smell it.
posted by RobotHero at 6:09 PM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

Some people have been criticizing Jupiter Jones for not being “badass” enough: for needing to be rescued frequently by a man,for believing Titus, for not being the kind of skintight onesie-wearing, buxom sci-fi heroine who comes out with two lasers blasting and cracking jokes all the while. But she does one very powerful, feminist thing that you almost never see a woman do in any kind of movie: Tell a man, “I’m not your damn mother!”

Jupiter’s real triumph in this movie isn’t the conventional one of a “badass” hero violently defeating a hierarchy, but to succeed in her refusal to let some overwhelmingly powerful forces cast her in the role of “mother”. The most subversive (indeed, probably the only subversive) element in Jupiter Ascending revolves around the politics of mothering. Jupiter’s refusal to allow herself to take on the role of “mother” in a socioeconomic system in which this makes her both a victor (as Seraphi’s reincarnation) and the victim (of her children’s murderous designs), mirrors some of the ways that the work of mothering, and the concept of motherhood, is used to subjugate women to patriarchal agendas.


I'm not sure if it's been shared here, and if it isn't I'll try and hunt them down again, but there's been more than a couple of metas/reviews that identified the story structure to also be like a fairytale (with the three siblings) than just a classic three-act one.
posted by cendawanita at 10:20 PM on February 24, 2015 [12 favorites]

(needless to say, I am here for all the overinvested fannish metas)
posted by cendawanita at 10:21 PM on February 24, 2015

This movie was great. I laughed and laughed at the action scenes.

I admit I was surprised at how often Eddie Redmayne wore a shirt under his cape, after tumblr.
posted by jeather at 5:11 AM on February 25, 2015

More than sequins in space! - This movie is not rooted in the Hero’s Journey monomyth. This is not a quest epic where the main character learns lessons about themselves, about friendship, loyalty, hardship, and comes out the other side with their status as The Special One confirmed. Which, as I mentioned briefly in a previous Tumblr post, is what I think caused parts of the general viewing audience to side-eye the plot and characterization. Familiarity, even on an unconscious level, with the monomyth means that viewers can make narrative jumps and assume motivations for character actions that aren’t explicitly spelled out or explained. If you’re (TOTALLY UNDERSTANDABLY) distracted by the sparkle and explosions, not having the familiar framework of the monomyth to fall back on means Jupiter Ascending can feel a lot like choose-your-own-adventure fanfic. And there is NOTHING wrong with interacting with the film on that level, because it’s bombast with a female lead, and everything is either glittery or exploding! But the film does hold up to a more in-depth reading, honest!
posted by cendawanita at 9:20 PM on February 25, 2015 [4 favorites]

Yes! Even during I was going ITS REGENCY ROMANCE ...IN SPAAAAAACE
posted by The Whelk at 9:51 PM on February 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

i'll be honest, i have no idea where i should be posting all these links (here? mefi?), but anyway:

The comments that highlight the fact she’s still cleaning toilets instead of being shown going on space adventures or doing something more exciting (read: less low class) trouble me. It devalues this type of work because every time I’ve seen it all it’s doing is making sure that it’s clear that Jupiter Jones still cleaning toilets when she has a whole universe to explore is a disappointment because how dare she not dream of something bigger and better right off the bat. Never forget that cleaning and keeping house isn’t for heroes. Heroes are out doing the real work of adventure. People who become heroes should leave things like service work behind, because they’re heroes now, and it’s beneath them instead of a part of them. They have to choose one or the other.
- toilets and space princesses
posted by cendawanita at 8:41 AM on February 27, 2015 [4 favorites]

I worked in a bookstore once where I was required to clean the public bathrooms when I worked a closing shift, which was often. It only made up maybe thirty minutes of my shift, but it was easily the worse part of the job. People are gross. Times that drudgery by probably ten to twelve hour days for probably six days a week and while yes, cleaning and keeping the house of others is heroic, but I think the number of people who would happily keep doing that after becoming space rich is an incredibly small number. It's a thankless job full of low pay and back breaking work, I think it's pretty expectant that if someone can find something easier to do for even the same amount of income, they would. There's a reason her immigrant family is in this industry, it's a job left to those with very few alternatives.

I don't think people are devaluing the work at all, I think they're just being realistic.
posted by Atreides at 11:00 AM on February 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

but is taking up the mantle of the recurrence of a space CEO of a corporation that literally harvests human lives that much easier? Considering also not that space currency is immediately fungible to earth-based wealth. I do agree people had expected that she does the usual hero thing and walk away from her menial job, but then it goes into if we even agree this was even a hero's journey in the first place. if we go with the idea that it's a fairy tale or a romance, then the ending makes thematic sense. What seems to be defined as realistic seems to be just as much influenced by misplaced genre expectations as well as social conventions.

but i am also used to the trope of the hidden-royalty/badass from the wuxia genre, who also tends to be firmly set about staying put in their humble jobs, barring plot-related complications that pulls them out of their regular path.
posted by cendawanita at 11:26 AM on February 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

forgot to add: even if we discard arguments from a meta perspective, in the movie herself Jupiter acknowledges that she needed to learn and understand 'what all this means', ie as far as the character herself is concerned, this is merely a holding pattern. And as far as she herself seems to think so, this is meant to be temporary, and while she's figuring it out, she's committing to it with a renewed sense of appreciation and perspective.

realistically, haven't we heard of lottery winners who went back to their everyday lives, with their everyday jobs, because they find it much more psychologically manageable than simply going out there living the high life?
posted by cendawanita at 11:29 AM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

more from trawling the movie's tumblr tag: 'Jupiter Ascending' and the Search for Renewed Narrative Conventions
posted by cendawanita at 12:06 PM on February 27, 2015

Wanting time to think things out is really the only explanation, but I don't think it's the best one. I argued above, concerning transferring Space Empress wealth to Earth Wealth could probably be done by arranging for the purchase of precious minerals that she could sell to establish enough funds to allow her and her family to stop working themselves to the bones, and then she could figure it out from there. We always hear about diamonds and gold being everywhere in space, after all, and it would not surprise in the least that a human civilization that's over a hundred thousand years old, they may well be able to turn lead into gold without too much trouble - hence the reliance on an economy based on chemicals that sustain life.

I don't think the the film makers even thought about that aspect, honestly, but I think it's a plausible one. She could get enough money to buy some old spent gold mine in the West, then claim she found a new vein and start pumping out gold, voila, enough money to live comfortable while figuring out how to introduce her family to the new reality and consider how to upend the horrible human harvesting economy of the stars.
posted by Atreides at 1:58 PM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think you're overextending what you think Jupiter should be doing in the long-term, with what you feel she should be doing (which is definitely not be a house cleaner anymore), and the fact that the movie itself was sticking to a very in-the-short-term aftermath of what happened after the big explosiony denoument on Jupiter the planet. I'm getting the sense that your dissatisfaction is that she didn't disavow her menial work enough. Also, what you've speculated about the wealth transfer via earth minerals etc was simply not flagged at all as story beat in the movie. If she were to suddenly come up with that idea, with no establishment in-story of her (and/or her family/network) knowledge of such possibilities, then it would be a left-swerve kind of plotting that begs the term 'plot hole'.

Within the timeframe of the movie, what you're proposing fits perfectly well in a sequel or a fanfic, but its absence doesn't at all imply a terrible ending or character choice for Jupiter herself. And I suppose the other thing that shouldn't be underestimated is that Jupiter now has a choice. There's empowerment in being able to commit to your crappy job on your terms without the feeling that it's being forced on you. That's part of her arc too. Fwiw, Jupiter also begun wearing small discreet pieces of jewellery post-return, so who's to say that's not a clue that she's beginning to use her legacy/wealth in materially beneficial ways?
posted by cendawanita at 4:25 AM on February 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

There's empowerment in being able to commit to your crappy job on your terms without the feeling that it's being forced on you. That's part of her arc too. Fwiw, Jupiter also begun wearing small discreet pieces of jewellery post-return, so who's to say that's not a clue that she's beginning to use her legacy/wealth in materially beneficial ways?

I think you're right, but it kinda sucks for her family who don't benefit from the same sense of empowerment, and only Jupiter's new upbeat perspective on life at best.
posted by Atreides at 6:57 AM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Look, she saved them all from being turned into glowing blue goo, what more do expect from her?
posted by RobotHero at 4:17 PM on February 28, 2015

Separate bedrooms.

posted by Atreides at 5:55 PM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Maybe Jupiter feels that her wealth is blood money, or tainted? Or she's just traumatized and needing to go back to her own life to think about things, things like "hey Earth is not only not alone but just a giant breeding farm that's under constant threat by a lot of space assholes with incredible weaponry and technology. And only I can save it. If I screw up, billions die, horribly, including everyone I love! And I nearly did screw up, multiple times, already!"

If the only way she can find space to think about such things is to remain a housecleaner for a while with her memory-wiped family, whom she nearly lost, then ok. She can do that.

My theory on what this movie didn't have was Not Enough Snarking. There is something about giant space epics that seems to necessitate a sarcastic, skeptical, angry, character to question all of it, to say "Yeah, yeah, yeah, great, giant fancy spaceships, good for you, now tell me what the hell is actually going on." The Han Solo factor, if you will. Fifth Element had Bruce doing that admirably. And Kunis is certainly up to it, and almost gets the chance to do it, but maybe the Wachowskis just aren't good at writing that sort of thing and need to get a co-writer who can.
posted by emjaybee at 9:44 PM on February 28, 2015 [6 favorites]

Hmm, I'm definitely enjoying the interesting takes and "hey, this movie isn't bad, it's just restructuring narratives" arguments. I do have a question though--and I'm definitely open to learning that I'm wrong/not-seeing-something here--does it seem to y'all with those viewpoints that the movie is effectively communicating these alternative narrative approaches? I mean, it definitely makes sense that Jupiter would need/want to go back to her normal life for a while but to me, the movie didn't really articulate the points that people are making. And I feel like the potential interesting narrative restructuring gets pretty lost under the conventional action-adventure-hetero-dude-savior-romance-ness of the movie. For me, both these ideas converge at the ending. I can imagine that there was/is a sequel planned, but the actual ending of this movie didn't say to me, she's traumatized and adjusting to her astonishing new circumstances and just needs some normality but more like, everything's great now that she has a were-wolf-angel-boyfriend.
posted by overglow at 2:32 PM on March 1, 2015

I think Jupiter was okay being space princess until Titus interrupted her journey back to Earth. After the wedding assassination attempt (only the 4th attempt on her life so far), she's just completely done with space. When she finally gets home, she has to deal with Balem. All because she reminds space royalty of someone else. So I can see how she'd relish her old, 'invisible' life in the end, even if it's momentary. Especially since her Earth family sees her as Jupiter, not Seraphi, and gets her the telescope.

But I don't think she really begrudges being royalty, especially if it gets her some gravity boots and alpha female status for her hybrid boyfriend. I'd really like to see a sequel once Jupiter gets her shit together, but that's unlikely, right?
posted by zix at 5:26 PM on March 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

I keep trying to think of what I would consider a satisfactory arc to this. Ideally, it would end with a non-exploitive version of the immortality juice, available to all (or not a juice but a permanent fix). This takes away a major source of the nobility's wealth. Then the establishment of a democratic federation (Star Trek style) that didn't immediately contact the planets like Earth that were being exploited, but waited for them to get advanced enough to be ready to make contact. So Star Trek/the Culture as the end goal.

On the micro scale, Jupiter mind-controlling some immigration people into granting her entire family citizenship would be pretty satisfying. Or else creating false papers that are undetectable by earth technology. Then she could leave to "go to college in another state" or something that would allow for long absences.

I have to admit, after the second two Matrix movies, I really wonder if the Wachowskis just aren't good at that sort of plotting/resolution, and prefer more of a Chosen One narrative that leaves the archaic power structure intact, just under benevolent rule.
posted by emjaybee at 5:43 PM on March 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

prefer more of a Chosen One narrative that leaves the archaic power structure intact, just under benevolent rule.

I can see that - I mean Regenex/people juice was pervasive throughout the non-earth bits. Caine himself got treated with (lower-grade/medic-level?) some at least twice - at Stinger's place, and once the Aegis rescued him from the vacuum of space. No one even judged Stinger's betrayal which was based on his need for some of that for the reCode for his daughter, at one point in that conversation, Capt Tsing pretty much agreed with Caine that she'd do the same. I mean, I'm all for a revolution (i guess) but there's an existential horror to Jupiter's heritage that's hard to ignore.
posted by cendawanita at 6:29 PM on March 1, 2015 [4 favorites]

anyway, just came back from another viewing, and it's cracking me up that after decades-long of filmic scifi, and finally there's a movie where the bad guys can aim. (of course this meant the knight actually needs a shield* in a shootout - which is another score in the 'this movie is probably an action romance')

*does captain america count as scifi? it does have golden age SCIENCE and aliens and time travel.
posted by cendawanita at 6:34 PM on March 1, 2015 [4 favorites]

When in the movie was Seraphi's name mentioned? I totally missed it both times.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:34 AM on March 2, 2015

I think Seraphi's name was mentioned in the part where Jupiter was in Kalique's domain.
posted by idiopath at 2:33 PM on March 2, 2015


Admittedly, a movie with characters who have had their wings removed is not making it tough to find religious symbolism, but interspersed with the proselytization is an argument that Jupiter is the antichrist!
posted by RobotHero at 7:18 PM on March 2, 2015

I wish our kooks had the variety they used to. Antichrist this, Antichrist that, whatever happened to The Whore Of Babylon? Abbadon? Witches? The Golden Calf?
posted by idiopath at 7:27 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by The Whelk at 7:45 PM on March 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

Rasputin in a jet pack.
posted by idiopath at 8:00 AM on March 3, 2015

They're anti-gravity boots.

She is queen of the entire Earth so I can see why they go with antichrist. Though secret queen of the Earth that Earth people don't know about is contrary to how that usually plays out.
posted by RobotHero at 11:13 AM on March 3, 2015

She is not Seraphi but because she looks like her (imitation) she takes control of the Earth from its rightful owner. She is assisted by fallen angels (demons) who had been punished for defying the rulers of space (the Entitled). Her ultimate goal is to prevent humans from fulfilling the higher purpose for which they were created.

Think about it.
posted by RobotHero at 11:48 AM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

overglow: does it seem to y'all with those viewpoints that the movie is effectively communicating these alternative narrative approaches?

I don't think the film was very good at effectively communicating ANY narrative approach. It's a bit of a mess... but that leaves room for people to read what they want into it, more than usual.

Very little time elapses between the battle on the planet Jupiter and Her Majesty practicing flying with differential equations boots. I can't see that as more than a week, tops. There were so many loose ends throughout the film... I see no reason to think that the ending was going to tie up, well, really anything.

I also find this positive ending dramatically and formally superior to one that starts exploring the work required now (beyond showing her flying around, which may seem frivolous). It works for me that she's elated now even though her situation is even worse off than at the start of the film; it wouldn't work for Jupiter to already be dragged down by the weight of her new empire.
posted by mountmccabe at 12:55 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

While thinking about this I have been struck by the number of different quick-fixes that were nothing but trouble. The plan of Jupiter selling her eggs, getting married to Titus, and signing a contract with Balem were all initiated by a man preying on her and sold as attempts to make her life better right away.

She was going to go through with the eggs, she was seriously questioning the marriage, and then she actively refused to sign the contract. The progression there says to me that she isn't going to try and do everything right away. Certainly not on any timeline that needs to be shown in this film.
posted by mountmccabe at 1:04 PM on March 3, 2015 [8 favorites]

I saw somewhere that Eddie Redmayne said Lana Watchowski told him to "play it like an accountant"
Time to find a new accountant. Either for me or for Eddie Redmayne, not sure who.
posted by jeather at 1:08 PM on March 6, 2015 [4 favorites]

Your accountant doesn't have a chest cape? Weird.
posted by The Whelk at 1:17 PM on March 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Well, no, they all have the capes, but they wear shirts under them.
posted by jeather at 1:24 PM on March 6, 2015

I loved this movie and have seen it twice now. Usually a 3D sceptic, I would have been willing to shell out for the 3D version for the second viewing but the local ones had stopped by the time I got around to it.

But what would I know, I loved Princess of Mars as well oops I mean John Carter, another movie made with love and insufficiently well-marketed to 48 year-old/ female/ die-hard life-long fans of science fiction/Carl Jung/fairy tales in space and other categories who don't buy Lynx aftershave or whatever. Who is making films for people like me? The Wachowskis, that's who. This is totally Cinderella in Space, with evil Prince Charming, helpful animal-people and all. I am so on board.

Things I noticed on second viewing: All the performances are absolutely beautiful, even the smallest characters. Eddie Redmayne's villain with the cracked voice and the concealing neck-attire has probably been bitten in the throat at some point. (Hope that husky voice didn't hurt the actor too much. Sounded painful.) Caine Wise's neck tattoo includes the astrological symbol for Jupiter, with a second sign I couldn't make out. (Also wondering about Sean Bee's neck thingy. Hope me internet peeps.)

My one quibble was the silly mistake with the sanitary napkin being used as a giant band-aid; even more annoying the second time through. Was there no-one in the cast or crew who was wiling to speak up about this? Do I need to get my own blog? Hello, the adhesive side is meant to be attached to your underwear, not your skin. Grr!

It does seem like there's a much more longer and more detailed story to be told- I can only hope those are revealed via other less expensive to make media at some point. Comics please?
posted by Coaticass at 5:58 PM on March 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

WRT the pad: I think that the issue was with sound editing. Since Jupiter held it (tenderly) to his (conveniently only a flesh) wound for a while, I think it wasn't sticky-side-down. I think the ripping sound was supposed to be the dried blood that had stuck the pad to his skin, which happens sometimes on heavy days with less-good pads on one's bits sometimes and sucks beyond the telling of it. It was too much an adhesive sticky rip sound, though.

Related, please enjoy this tumblr gif set of Channing Tatum + Feminine Hygiene Products, my new otp.
posted by Mizu at 6:06 PM on March 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

Jeather: Play it like an accountant from Hell maybe? I wonder if he was misquoted, doesn't seem very apt.
Pilot from Farscape, yes. Balem not so much.
posted by Coaticass at 6:10 PM on March 7, 2015

Thanks for that Mizu- that GIF in your link looks to me like it's adhesive side down though. And over his shirt! That makes it a continuity error too I guess(?) not that I care way too much about this or anything...
posted by Coaticass at 6:18 PM on March 7, 2015

Sanitary products as emergency wound dressings: Snopes says "probably" (they are talking about tampons though) but on the other hand this guy thinks they mostly wouldn't get the job done.
posted by Coaticass at 6:35 PM on March 7, 2015

Coaticass, upon gif-gaze you're right, it definitely looks adhesive-side-down. Everything is ruined forever! All my justifications - useless! Hoisted by my own petard. Time to go watch She's the Man.
posted by Mizu at 6:49 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

The one time I've actually had to use my First Aid training in response to an accident (co-worker had fallen down stairs), I arrived at the scene to find that the other co-worker who had reported the accident had then proceeded to retrieve a pad from her purse to attempt to contain bleeding on a forehead cut (which are notoriously gushers).

Sure enough, in the confusion and the urgent need to help a friend in distress, she had applied the pad adhesive side first. It did well enough, the whole point of bleeding wound first aid is to be able to apply pressure to the wound to slow/stop the bloodflow and give it a chance to coagulate.
posted by radwolf76 at 7:31 PM on March 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

FWIW, this is actually doing solid business overseas. Not enough to recoup its budget, but it opened to 23 mill in China.
posted by codacorolla at 8:27 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Good article, cendawanita. It makes me want to go down the list of Rotten Tomato viewers and note the gender of the reviewer.
posted by Atreides at 7:04 AM on March 9, 2015

Agreed, though I will say this, regardless of gender of the reviewer, the reviews (positive and negative) do seem to express very gendered takes on the story. I've seen more than a few reviews from women who also honestly couldn't see the virtues of the movie, and you can actually follow their thought process right up to the mistyping of the story they're seeing and the expectations they've had on the Jupiter as the lead character.
posted by cendawanita at 9:53 AM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

What would be enough to recoup its budget? I really don't understand how sort of thing works.

Box Office Mojo has the global gross at $152 million, which seems like a decent amount to me.

Then again, looking around on the subject seems to suggest that due to accounting tricks even the biggest blockbusters don't make any money. It may not take such tricks at all for JA to lose money but it makes it hard to trust any of this, especially after the rush to call JA a flop. And the news reports I've seen about the opening in China still rush to explain that the film will still lose money.
posted by mountmccabe at 11:34 AM on March 9, 2015

Gosh, how Hollywood does its accounting will forever be a mystery to me. Allegedly there are costs that aren't computed into the production costs, such as advertising, which create hidden costs the film must overcome. John Carter is a great example. If you check Box Office Mojo, you can see that it made approximately $284 million or so with a production cost of $250 million, yet, Disney still took a write off on it, claiming losses.

I did read somewhere that there was an expectation that Jupiter Ascending would do a lot better overseas, as that's just how the Wachowski siblings' movies tend to run, being far more successful abroad, and it was on the foreign profits that the movie may have actually been green lighted versus expectations for domestic success.

Going back to the article, I particularly also appreciated this paragraph:

Actually, this phenomenon might also be the reason behind the intense dislike of those who consider themselves serious filmcritics for superhero movies. Unlike those of us who are longtime comic readers and fans, these critics lack the respective reading/viewing protocols and don’t understand the tropes. I suspect this might also account for the popularity of Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy among those same critics, because it keeps the comic book tropes to a minimum and replaces them with faux relevant themes about the war on terror and necessary sacrifices and the Occupy movement instead.

There have been a number of films, such as John Carter above, where I have seen critics complain they fail to follow what's going on and it doesn't make any sense - and I see the movie and it's clearer than sunlight. The greatest movies can overcome these deficiencies, the lack of knowledge the viewer brings to the film, but I do think there are plenty of good movies which suffer from an inherent prejudice of critics who feel themselves alienated to a degree and shut down their attempts to engage or understand what's going on. With the over the top alien nature (literal and figurative) that Jupiter Ascending brought to the screen, I can see this allegation carrying some weight.

I would be willing to believe if we distilled as such:
House maid is discovered to be heir to a vampire fortune, is saved and falls in love with werewolf, then overcomes the vampire extended family attempt to stop her, with true love ending.
It may have affected the reviews somewhat, at least and placed it in a context they are a bit more familiar with courtesy of the Twilight Saga and traditional horror tropes (I mean, c'mon people, they live in GOTHIC space ships!).

Incidentally, I could see the story of the movie working really well as a 13 or 26 episode animated show.
posted by Atreides at 12:13 PM on March 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

I enjoyed this movie, but boy was the main story a big bag of dumb. I guess it's Cinderella, or maybe Wizard of Oz, but it all went by too fast to carry any emotion. It's helpful to know they had way too much script to cram into a movie. Don't do that! Particularly puzzling because I think the Wachowskis did a great job with fitting Cloud Atlas into a coherent movie script. Overall I felt this film was an awful lot like the Fifth Element in being the filmmakers' pet story they were waiting to get the opportunity to make. But Fifth Element worked better because in the end it didn't take itself too seriously, it was just big and goofy and beautiful. Jupiter Ascending is also big and beautiful but could have used more goofy.

I really want to see the Wachowskis tackle a Dune movie. Maybe not the primary book, one of the later novels or maybe even a new story in-the-universe-of. But between Jupiter Ascending, Neo-Seoul in Cloud Atlas, and Speed Racer the Wachowskis have demonstrated a fantastic skill at world-building through art direction. I'd love to see that matched to some epic sci-fi universe like Dune.
posted by Nelson at 10:52 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I can totally picture this being an animated series to give them time to flesh out the details of this universe that they clearly want to. And stuff like Sean Bee's betrayal and redemption would have more weight. The bureaucracy planet is one of the lighter episodes.

The other thing I've been thinking it could work as is a visual novel. I was just playing one which has all this lore about angels and demons and the possible endings do mostly work out to which demon do you fall in love with. So I could try out the ending where I do marry Titus, maybe that's the bad ending, but it's an option.
posted by RobotHero at 2:45 PM on September 24, 2016

Finally catching up with this on Netflix. It's sort of like Fifth Element without the fun. The cast is fantastic, though. My wife, a big London theatre buff, is pointing out where she saw each of them on stage.
posted by Grangousier at 2:48 PM on October 24, 2017

It's like they said to him, "Eddie, I bet you can't do the whole movie as a bad Marlon Brando impression." And he took the bet.
posted by Grangousier at 2:58 PM on October 24, 2017

Without the fun? I would watch another thousand movies just about the adventures of Diomika Tsing of the Aegis. I would watch at least five more movies that were just about Jupiter and Caine trying to pick out a dog breed. I would watch as many movies as it takes for her idiot cousin to run out of Fawlty-esque plans that end being foiled by his own ineptitude at which point Uncle Or Whatever shouts at him. The movie might be stupid, but it is congealed fun.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:01 PM on October 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

I just watched this, and you can put me in the it's incredible camp. One wee thing that stood out for me early in the movie is the scene where princess+werewolf steal one of the bad guys' vehicles and then blast through the city in a big destructive chase scene. Even though the good guys and the bad guys were all flying around, jump cutting all over the place, in exactly the same type of spaceship, it was perfectly clear during every shot of the scene who was in which vehicle, where they were going, and what was happening. So many respected action directors have failed at this same thing (Bay obviously, but I was reminded of Nolan's indecipherable snow-mobile chase in Inception), and the Wachowskis put on a masterclass of tight, focused editing in the middle of all this sprawling, indulgent, glorious mess.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 9:17 AM on November 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

So I tried to rewatch The Matrix trilogy over the whole 'it's been 20 years' thing. I got through the first one just fine, holds up passably well. I lost the thread in Reloaded someplace and a dear friend pointed out I'd missed Jupiter Ascending, and maybe I should see that instead.

So I did, because I still wanted to overthink a screen full of Wachowski nonsense, but fuck the Merovingian. I noticed a few things by the time it was over:

- The Matrix parallels are weird.
In Jupiter Ascending, the Earth is secretly controlled by uncaring nigh-omnipotent forces that use people as a natural resource and can control them in deep and specific ways.

The action centers on a number of powerful figures believing the protagonist is the reincarnation of an important historical figure and their reactions to that belief. The protagonist takes awhile to claim any sort of agency at all, (rather than merely taking awhile to answer the call).

I think most - or all - storytellers have beats like that, threads that run through their work. It just interests me who has which elements, and makes me wonder why. Having looked over the thread:

I really wonder if the Wachowskis just aren't good at that sort of plotting/resolution, and prefer more of a Chosen One narrative that leaves the archaic power structure intact, just under benevolent rule.

I wonder about that too. Like... do they think that's good? Do they think it's inevitable? Why does this particular theme echo so much? Like, most of the stories I've told over the years - starting as a young man DMing D&D and ending on written stuff - have supernatural power resulting in caste systems or other heavily stratified societies because I think people with differing abilities will use and justify it in ways like that. It's a reflection about my beliefs about the expression of privilege, the just world fallacy and so on. So.... not 'good' so much as 'vampires and wizards can't be equal to muggles and pretending they are is unsustainable.'

- The 3D action is its biggest setback.
This movie wants to be two movies: a frantic ride at Disneyland and a cheesy space romance.

The action portions were pretty weak for me. I blame it on the villains being too expendable for most of this - the little alien guys and the lizard men were both too much like video game sprites to make any of that stick. I was only interested in fighting when it was Wise versus other merc types, and even there, the antigravity skates were just a bridge too far for me.

The romance was dumb but fun. I mean, you know they're going to get together, but I was still surprised that Jupiter ended up back with her family on Earth even though it was her stated goal from the outset. I really think focusing on that more over the action, (or giving the action better dramatic stakes), would've been an improvement.

Here is my feeling about this movie: it is your garbage. It is garbage for you. “Is this how straight dudes feel at the movies all the time????” I hissed at Dae during this movie several times. “Like someone carefully noted down your early pubescent fantasies and then threw 100 MILLION DOLLARS at them?”

So true. And as garbage goes, I like this better than a lot of stuff I've seen aimed at women. Say what you will about the movie, I felt like Wise was a good guy. He listened to Jupiter, (letting her decide if her enemies lived or died even though that was a strategically poor choice), prioritized her when he didn't have to and so on. This property is miles ahead of something like Twilight for me because I could believe that couple has a good thing going by the end, at least within the confines of 'she is a Soylent Green heiress and the entire universe runs on ground up people juice.'

Anyway, wish I'd been a little closer to the party, and I guess that's the mark of a successful story, whether it was good or not: I regret not overthinking it with the rest of you.
posted by mordax at 10:55 AM on May 12, 2019

Watching this late to the game (it’s on Netflix now, yay!) but I love every single thing about this except the ending, which not only feels untrue to the movie, but also to the format of Space Regency, which I didn’t know I needed until I did.

I actually initially thought Caine was tearing out throats because something in his genes reacts to the presence of ReGen, and the Entitled are the only one with access to it, and like the bees, the Lycans are built with a fail safe to stop space imperialism, but I think your explanations make a lot more sense.

As someone who has scrubbed toilets for my job though I will say, there is nothing noble about it and nearly everyone I’ve ever known who has done that job would cheerfully trade it for a life even just hanging aboard the Aegis ship. She could have taken her family too! But meh.
posted by corb at 9:26 AM on December 10, 2019

« Older Movie: Sweet Smell of Success...   |  Mad Men: A Tale of Two Cities... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments