The purpose of this blog is to have a little fun. It is NOT to start arguments. I don't profess to be an expert on Sci-fi, nor do I aspire to become an expert. You are welcome to comment on any and all content you find here. If my opinion differs from yours, as far as I am concerned, it's all okay. I will never say that you are wrong because you disagree with me, and I expect the same from those that comment here. Also, my audience on the blog will include some young people. Please govern your language when posting comments.

Posts will hopefully be regular based on the movies I see, the television shows I watch, and the books I read as well as what ever strikes me as noteworthy.

Spoilers will appear here and are welcome.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Jupiter Ascending - A Film That Descends To New Lows - Unwatchable For Many Reasons

Jupiter Ascending - 2014

As a former movie theater manager and owner, I have seen many films.  Many of them were very good and a few were really bad. As I remember back to those days, I can honestly say that Jupiter Rising would easily make it on the list of the worst Sci-Fi films I have ever seen.  And I don't even mean one of the best of the worse, it is just altogether bad.  What makes me really sad is that I was looking forward to this film so much because it is not a prequel, a sequel or a reboot, as so many of the offerings are these past several years.  It is an original film with a supposedly original story that falls so flat that it is virtually unwatchable.

Jupiter Jones is an unfortunate cleaning woman in a family business.  Her main job seems to be cleaning toilets.   Jupiter however doesn't know that she also has the genetic makeup to be the queen of the Earth.  An alien, Balem Abrasax knows that the planet has been seeded with human life that is to be harvested to make a substance to sustain and extend life for his species.  Balem will be able to harvest the planet very soon but he first must obtain ownership by getting Jupiter to sign it over to him or if she is killed.  It is up to Caine Wise to protect Jupiter and make sure that nothing happens to her majesty.

The plot of the film comes down to Jupiter's choice to save her family and allow the Earth to be harvested, or, with the help of Caine and a sort of galactic police force save the Earth from being harvested by Balem.  As one might suspect, and because of the predictability of this so called "original" story, Balem is defeated, Jupiter and Caine fall in love, and the population of the Earth is saved.

There are other characters and things that take place in this film, but they are really not worth mentioning because the really add nothing to this 127 minute (that seemed like "six hours" according to my ten year-old daughter who went to the show with me) ride through utter boredom.

Outside of saying that what I didn't like about this film is just about everything, I have to be more specific...

Characters: The characters were flat and uninteresting. There was very little character development. Jupiter as portrayed by Mila Kunis probably had the most development of all of the characters.  Her father was killed in an armed robbery of the family's home, she was born on a ship in transit to the U.S., and her and her mother went to Chicago to live with her aunt who runs a cleaning business.  Beyond that, characters come and go with little to no introduction or background other than that everyone is ready to advance their own causes to gain ownership of the planet.

Direct Reference to Dune?
Plot: This film, minus the killing and other pointless violence, is basically a Disney Princess movie.  The main character discovers that she is royalty, is protected by a handsome prince, chooses to become a hero by saving lives, and finally falls in love with the prince and lives happily ever after.  But that's not all. Now take the Disney film and mash it up with David Lynch's Dune film from 1984!  I'm not kidding.  The place where Balem lives looks like what one might imagine Geidi Prime.  The ships and structures like they were taken directly from Dune, and judging from what I have seen of the documentary on Jodorwoski's Dune, might even be a direct ripoff of those Joderowski's designs.  Even Balem himself has an eerie resemblance to the Baron Harkonnen complete with a Piter De Vries mentat-like sidekick.

Visual Effects: Nothing special.  While the visuals in the film are well done, they are in most films made in the last few years.  But the way they are used is truly appalling.  First of all, it is far too obvious that the Wachowskis directed this film to pander to the 3D crowd (I am on a one-man boycott of 3D, by the way.  It is ridiculous, in my opinion, to pay extra for the privilege of sitting in a dark movie theater wearing dark glasses and getting a bad case of eye strain and a blinding headache.).  Almost every scene has people or objects flying at the viewer, and along with that, these scenes are far too long to be entertaining.  One such scene seemed to go on for about 15 minutes!  One of the heroes in the film lives in a house that is virtually covered with beehives and there are bees constantly swarming around characters.  In one scene, the bees launch a mass attack on forces who are after Jupiter.

Sound: One particularly irritating aspect of watching this film is that almost all of the characters seemed to be mumbling their lines.  I found that I missed a great deal of the dialog. It was even worse if someone in the theater was rattling a popcorn bag or unwrapping cellophane from a candy package.  Also, the genius of Michael Giacchino was not even enough to pull this farce out of its tailspin.  The music was good and may have been the only redeeming part of this disappointing movie-going experience.

I attended the film with my daughter, Chrissy, who said that "there were too many scenes" in this film and as I stated before, she said it felt like it was too long.  I cannot disagree.  As I said, any of the scenes went on far too long to get the full effect of the 3D.  Chrissy also said that "it didn't make sense."

About twenty minutes into the film, I was seriously considering walking out.  It was just a few seconds later when a family of three got up and did just that.  I hope they got their money back. A few others also left at various times.  Those of us that stuck it out left the auditorium looking like we had been caught in a boiler explosion, and I will admit that there were a few times I found myself nodding off.

On the poster, it touts the Wachowskis as the directors behind the Matrix.  This isn't even 1/10th of the film that was and I will tell you that in the future, Wachowski will be more like Watch-Outski when it comes to me attending another one of their creations.

Just to be fair, I have to admit that a colleague and good friend, Mr. Chuck Roe texted me before the film started and said that I should go to American Sniper instead.  I should have listened.

My advice is to save your money for a film that was featured in the previews, Ant-Man.  The trailer looked very good.  

Don't see this in the theater, don't see this on PPV, don't rent it, or buy it in any form, unless you are a glutton for visual punishment.

Well, there it is…