This is one film where even the trailer looked bad. Typically, even if a film ends up not being good, the trailer will still grab your attention. Not Jupiter Ascending as it just looked iffy the whole time. It’s hard to describe, but it looks like a mainstream film that should have been a TV movie. Either way, that’s essentially what happened and the film didn’t end up being too good.
Jupiter is rather unsatisfied with her life right now. She helps out with her family by keeping houses clean and scrubbing toilets, but she feels like she was destined for better things. One day, she is nearly kidnapped by aliens, but saved by a different alien and told that she is actually a princess/queen who is the rightful ruler of Earth. That’s not a bad deal, but it also means that three different enemy groups are after her so Jupiter will constantly be on the run. Can she ever go back to her old lifestyle?
The film is a bit of a train wreck from start to finish. Let’s get the positive out of the way first. The action scenes are fairly fun for the most part. The energy affects are fairly neat and I love the fact that one of the big battles takes place in the middle of such a large city. Usually, that just doesn’t happen because the budget is too low or because the films just don’t realize how cool that kind of fight looks. There are also quite a few spaceship battles (Although those are less exciting) and the action was certainly a highlight. The only battle that I didn’t care for was when Caine fought against the lizard hybrid at the end. That fight was a little more brutal and not quite as flashy as the others. In the end, I would definitely give the action a thumbs up.
From there, thing get a little dicey for the film. For starters the romance is poorly handled. Jupiter falls in love with Caine seconds after they meet. Now that’s what I’d call a romance based purely on looks and I don’t see such a relationship going very far. It’s just not a good way to get the main characters together and the film just seemed to add that plot in because it was expected. It doesn’t help that both characters are unlikable as well.
Jupiter complains about her situation a whole lot. She also played a big role in losing the argument at the dinner table because she gave the answer to her opponent while trying to be passively aggressive. It’s why that tactic never works. Even once she’s a ruler, Jupiter never becomes a very likable main character and spends her time being surprised at what’s happening. She’s fairly gullible and gets into a lot of bad situations. Her big scene at the end involves a quick skirmish, but she doesn’t look impressive during that fight either.
As for Caine, he’s as generic as they come. He’s very gruff and certainly not the nicest of companions. He seems to be a little full of himself and his personality just ensured that I wouldn’t like the guy. Acting a little nicer to Jupiter would have been a great start, but it just proved to be too much for him. He also gets humiliated by his boss when they fight and all of his big lines just fall flat.
None of the other characters are likable either, but you may have expected that. There’s the comic relief character who is just here to make everyone feel bad and the other family members who don’t understand Jupiter’s plight. Not that they should as far as the alien part is concerned, but they don’t have any real development. The villains are also rather two dimensional and are really just here so that the film can have some antagonists. They can’t really fight and just rely on the minions to do the fighting for them.
There are also a few bounty hunters in the film who are just around to look cool. They vanish rather quickly and don’t add anything to the plot. Their laser guns are cool I suppose, but that’s just not good enough. One plot involving the bees was also unnecessary and it’s not fun to see the bees just flying all over the place. If I was Jupiter, I would have left that house as fast as possible even if she couldn’t be stung due to her aura of royalty.
While this is a sci-fi film, you’ll feel like nothing really happened by the end of it. Jupiter learned that she owns the Earth and stops a few villains. The rest of the film is mainly fluff and just expanding the universe when it’s not necessary since this is probably not getting a sequel anytime soon. If it ever does get a sequel, hopefully it will prove to be much more interesting than this one.
Ascending also touches upon the classic reincarnation idea as the heroes and villains are brought back into the world once in a while. The claim for this is that the DNA is exactly the same so it may as well be the same person right? Even if the mind is different, the body is the same. I don’t buy this at all, but at least now the villains can tell Jupiter how much she looks like her mother. They all don’t really age since they have a pool of youth that restores their body at the expense of everyone else. It’s a rather shady business, but the aliens don’t really have any morals to keep them from doing this. Generically, the pool also leads to some unnecessary fanservice as one of the characters decides to show Jupiter how to use it. It’s rather self explanatory if you ask me, but Jupiter did seem to be a little slow on the uptake at times.
This is the kind of movie that is simply better as a video game. If the gameplay played out like a Star Fox game or even a 007 title, it could be a lot of fun. Otherwise, this film wasn’t very enjoyable and it just feels worn out the whole time. It tries out a lot of ideas, but it only does so generically and even the fight scenes began to get a little generic by the end. The effects for the battles were still better than average and I liked the boots that Caine wore, but that’s hardly enough to save a film.
Overall, Jupiter Ascending is a movie that you should take a pass on. The action scenes are the only good thing about it and the rest of the film is just unoriginal and not very interesting. Adding in a good villain could have really made a difference, but with no characters to root for, you’ll quickly lose interest in the plot. At least Jupiter starts to appreciate her situation and doesn’t complain as much in the end of the film, but as long as she doesn’t mind showing off her new skills on skyscrapers, the world will likely find out about her ordeal very soon. When that happens, Earth will finally be able to fight back and take out the aliens. If you want a good alien story, then you should probably go watch Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan. That’s an alien story with a lot of tension and action!