Mikhail & Le Anne Talk: JUPITER ASCENDING

Saturday, February 7, 2015

 Dual Review on Andy & Lana Wachowski's 


 By Tinsel & Tine Blog Contributor Mikhail Revlock & Editor Le Anne Lindsay

Tinsel & Tine Readers,

It’s Mikhail kicking off my joint review of Jupiter Ascending with Le Anne. We caught a preview screening of the Wachowski’s latest offering at the Rave in University City, and I think it’s fair to say we were both underwhelmed by this space opera thing. As this unclassifiable epic crawled to a dismal “have your cake and eat it” finish, I was reminded time and again of "Matrix" sequels and "Star Wars" prequels: dull blockbusters bursting at the seams with elaborate set pieces and convoluted mythologies. One is inevitably numbed by the ceaseless CGI and begins to yearn for a coherent plot, memorable characters, and clever dialogue. Instead we are bombarded with a host of loose strings, vapid cyphers, and staggering howlers.

The exchange below, in which “genetically engineered interplanetary warrior” (Wikipedia) Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) rebuffs custodian-turned-universe heiress Jupiter Jones’s (Mila Kunis) advances, deftly encapsulates the profoundly knuckle-headed discourse at work here.

Caine: “Your majesty, I have more in common with a dog than I have with you.” 
Jupiter: “I love dogs! I’ve always loved dogs.”

Though this was the only moment to elicit a palpable reaction from the audience, I like to imagine that the laughter was cynical in nature, connoting, “This is the dreck they’re passing off as entertainment?” Perhaps I’m being too harsh. Le Anne, what was your impression of Jupiter Ascending? Did you buy Channing Tatum as a half-wolf, half-hunk space soldier?

Le Anne:
Well, Mikhail has gotten our joint review off to a bang! Regular readers know it's my mission to write what I enjoyed about the movie and then discuss some of the things I had trouble with, if they're important to bring up. But every avenue I go down with Jupiter Ascending seems to bring me to a criticism of the 3D SciFi adventure. When a film's release date gets pushed back as far as this one, it often taints a movie; you go in with less expectations, which is totally unfair. So I tried really hard to wipe that from my mind; and the fact that Mila Kunis brought very little to her role as Theodora, the future Wicked Witch of the West, in Oz the Great and Powerful. (click for T&T review)  I wanted to be drawn into this new space odyssey. After all, The Wachowski brothers.. ah... I mean brother and sister team, are obviously steeped in mythology, philosophy and things mystical in nature, all of which I love.

Mila Kunis is Jupiter Jones, named by her father, an aspiring astronomer or astrophysicist, shortly before his death. Her mother gives birth to Jupiter on a ship on its way from an Eastern European country on the way to America, making Jupiter a person born without a country. This should be a good set up for her feeling more at home on another planet, right? Wrong. Another big theme of the movie is reincarnation or what is referred to as a "Re-Occurrence". Now, I know most of us don't remember our past lives, but when it's a major theme in a movie, you'd think some memory association would be a part of the character - that's not being cliched, it's just necessary. You also can't set up the importance of a father who must have had some knowledge of alien life and just never get back to that either. I suppose the hope is Jupiter Ascending will become a trilogy like The Matrix and these things will resurface. But on the whole, I have to say, just like Cloud Atlas, the CGI is on point, but the mythology, story and heart needed to be "3D" as well.

Mikhail, it may already be too late, but in an effort to promote "Jupiter Ascending" in some fashion, what was your favorite part of the movie? Really, not facetiously, because it wasn't all bad. You tell me yours first and then I'll tell you mine.

I agree that it wasn't all bad, and it certainly displayed a lot more weirdo originality than the average studio tent-pole. My favorite scene was probably the homage to Terry Gilliam's Brazil, in which an effeminate robot leads Jupiter from office to office in search of the proper paperwork to certify her royalty. There's a pleasantly light, uncluttered feel to this montage of bureaucratic entanglements that stands in stark contrast to overly plotted, oppressively razzle-dazzle remainder of the film. It even includes a cameo from Gilliam himself!

This really wasn't my type of movie, but I think people who are gung-ho about all manner of science fiction will find something to enjoy here. Between the tremendous amount of world-building and the profusion of special effects, Jupiter Ascending could develop a cult following. I don't see it doing boffo business, but I didn't anticipate American Sniper (click for Mikhail's review) breaking box office records either, so what do I know? I'm sure it'll clean up in the international market.

I also have to concur with you that they should have fleshed out Jupiter's back story. That was the loose string that bugged me the most afterward. Maybe they explained it, and I just missed it. I definitely glazed over here and there throughout the film. Beyond the obvious suspects, I hold the 3D accountable. Doesn't having all these protrusions in your face just make your eyes feel tired? What was your favorite scene, Le Anne? I would say my second-favorite is arguably the closing credits. Whoops, there goes that facetiousness.

Le Anne:
Wow Mikhail, impressive film buff reference with "Brazil"!  Yes, the bureaucratic shuffling to get Jupiter reinstated as the former queen was my favorite part of the movie too. The "some things in life are the same on all planets" tone and style was perfect, but it felt like a completely different movie.

I did enjoy Jupiter's costume changes

In terms of 3D, well, I really don't care one way or the other anymore. I used to detest it, cause I don't even like wearing sunglasses on a sunny day; but now that I need glasses to write and read my own posts, it doesn't bother me anymore. I don't feel 3D effects take away from a movie or add very much.

Well, this combined post was fun! We'll have to do it again.

MK's LAMB Score: 2 outta 5
LL's LAMB Score: 2.5 outta 5


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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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