‘Jupiter Ascending’ has eye-popping visuals, no sincerity

Photo courtesy of collider.com Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis star in sci-fi thriller “Jupiter Ascending.”
Photo courtesy of collider.com Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis star in sci-fi thriller “Jupiter Ascending.”

Photo courtesy of collider.com
Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis star in sci-fi thriller “Jupiter Ascending.”

One of the best things to have with a sci-fi or a fantasy film is the ability to create a whole new world and for the audience to truly believe it. Visuals are the key to making any fantasy real. Alas, here we are once again with the action adventure, “Jupiter Ascending.” This film creates a magnificent world in visual effects, but falls short in its acting.

From the day she was born, Jupiter Jones knew that one day greatness would find her. After many years of cleaning up after the privileged, Jupiter has become discouraged.

However, when she comes across a genetically-enhanced hunter named Caine, who is not from her world, she finds that the faith she once had in herself has not completely disappeared.

Jupiter soon learns from Caine that not only is she destined for greatness, but also that she is in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the entire cosmos. It could either make her life infinitely better or get her killed.

“Jupiter Ascending” stars Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tuppence Middleton and James D’Arcy. The film is directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski.

While Kunis may be the central character of this story, this film plays more to Tatum. As a genetically-enhanced wolf-like soldier, Tatum shows a more volatile side of himself than usual.

We have never really seen Tatum go all out in makeup or costumes. With pointy ears, tattoos and wounds all over his body and sharp teeth, Tatum transformed into an animal.

Being formerly part of a legion known as Skyjackers, Tatum’s character has boots that in an instant can propel him into flight. It was almost unbearably hysterical to see Tatum skating in mid-air trying to escape enemies. This film was a good choice for Tatum, and I’m sad to say it, but I truly believe he is the only one to have benefited from this film.

Kunis does deliver heartwarming lines and at times can embrace the fierceness needed to be a ruler, but it all goes away when she shares scenes with Tatum.

I do not know if the Wachowskis meant for her to become infatuated with Tatum in an instant, but that definitely is the outcome. Kunis completely goes gaga whenever she sees Tatum all throughout the film. I am sure all women would do the exact same thing if they were in her role. But, the character loses all sincerity when she is around him.

As far as supporting roles go, Oscar nominee Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) portrays the all-powerful Balen, an intense and guarded heir of a galactic dynasty. As cool of a role as this would be to play, Redmayne should have never accepted it. He tries so hard to bring new blood to a cold and tiresome cliche, but it is pointless.

Between the fact that his character never knows at what decibel to speak at and that he has some serious, and I mean serious, issues dealing with his mother, Balen is a flawed character that desperately needs to go back to the drawing board.

Longtime supporting actor Bean portrays Stinger, once an ally to Caine. Bean does make an entertaining entrance into the film by beating the living crap out of Tatum only to help him afterward. Bean, who has made a habit of dying in almost every film he has been in, does survive for once. His character is only that of a supporting one, nothing too special.

Even though the film as a whole does fail, it is still a remarkable visual feast for the eyes and a performance unlike any other for Tatum. So I will leave it to you as to whether or not to see it.

As cool of a role as this would be to play, Redmayne should have never accepted it. He tries so hard to bring new blood to a cold and tiresome cliché, but it is pointless. Between the fact that his character never knows at what decibel to speak in or that he has some serious and I mean serious issues dealing with his mother, Balen is just a very flawed character that desperately needs to go back to the drawing board. Longtime supporting actor Sean Bean portrays Stinger, a once ally to Caine. Bean does make a very entertaining entrance into the film by beating the living crap out of Tatum only to help him after. Bean, who has made a habit of dying in almost every film he has been in, does survive for once. His character is only that of a supporting one, nothing primarily special.

The Wachowskis’, who are very well known for their Matrix trilogy, have been hitting a lot and missing even more since the end of the Matrix. I will definitely say this for the Wachowskis’. They are very gifted visual artists and even more so at creating different worlds. But they really fall short, especially in this film with dialogue and emotion. Jupiter Ascending is a beacon for visual effects. All other films could definitely learn a thing or two. But without the right emotions or actions taken by its characters, it crashes hard right after ascending. I still have faith in you Wachowskis. I know you have another Matrix in you.

Even though the film as a whole does fail, it is still a remarkable visual feast for the eyes and a performance unlike any other that Tatum has given. So I will leave it to you as to whether or not to see it. Definitely would make for a good redbox movie night when released.

Story by John GruccioContributing writer