Saw Jupiter Ascending last night. As expected, it is a sci-fi action adventure, and as such it delivers a smooth, fast-paced and gripping conflict. I went to the movie expecting nothing else, and I wasn’t disappointed on that score. The action and the special effects (CG) are seamless and impressive. Moreover, the characters are interesting and the galactic world and technologies they postulate are fascinating. As one of my friends said last night, that’s a world in which all sorts of interesting stories could be set.
It’s a pity that the plot doesn’t match the quality. Frankly, it was conventional and predictable and had no nuance at all. It was about the action adventure, and only about the action adventure. If that is what you like, then that is fine, but I like movies to have something more than window-dressing for character development and personality. Also, at times it was confusing and many times the dialog was hard to understand. I’m not talking about the Russian (I assume), but the English. Whether it was the theatre’s speakers being poor, or the background noise, or the explosions, I had to whisper to my partner “What did they say?” several times and so did she.
I won’t criticize the physical improbabilities. (How Jupiter’s shoulders weren’t dislocated during the fight in Chicago, for example.) This is a modern action movie. That means that such improbabilities are par for the course, and in this case were well integrated into the action. Unlike in many other movies, they did not stand out and wreck the experience.
One more kudo I have to give the story. The writer resisted the temptation to make Jupiter a kick-ass fighter. She has no training, no hardness, no technical (weapons, human vulnerabilities, etc) knowledge. So while she becomes a player, her characterization is honest and never becomes ridiculous. For that, I applaud.
It is interesting however, to note how many times Jupiter falls and has to be saved by Caine. That’s one trope that got a little tedious.