I had to write something to ease my anger after leaving the cinema (and I go there only occasionally just to experience 3D which I’m deprived of on my projector).
If you had a misfortune to watch a new Wachowski’s blockbuster “Jupiter Ascending” having sci-fi genre in heart, you will understand my frustration. I feel betrayed. Was “Matrix” just a lucky concoction of ingredients that came in a right time or, if not, how can the same pair of directors produce these two movies? Not even mentioning “V for Vendetta” and “Cloud Atlas” (where latter already had symptoms of decline and lacked underlying consecutive idea to me).
First things first: is it sci-fi, burlesque or just love story for teenagers stretched to the space suit to fit special effects? “Fifth Element” was at least clever, funny and technically stunning. “Guardians of the Galaxy” not in the same league but still well made. This one is not. Most of the time I wasn’t sure if I should laugh at absurdity of scenography (especially Gilliam-esque bureaucracy on Abrasax’s planet, lizards with wings and in leather jackets, Star Trek-faced aliens and Dumbo elephant as a pilot??? WTF?) or just leave the cinema? PEGI rating for this movie is 13+. I strongly believe it’s a mistake: should be 13-, for under 13 year olds, otherwise it’s an insult to more developed neurons looking for more than just entertainment (and by the way – sitting in the cinema: what kind of entertainment is that?). I think we should start categorize movies by IQ of its suggested audience – harsh but most are made for teenagers nowadays or for people without any self-respect.
Still: is this all we have right now? I thought sci-fi was the last stronghold of mainstream movies trying to educate or at least trigger synapses at some point (hence sci standing for science in case someone forgot – which wouldn’t be surprising anyway). I’m afraid this myth is over by now, with only few rather low budget exceptions standing their ground. Neil Postman wrote his famous book “Amusing Ourselves to Death” in 1985 where he claimed (after even earlier Prophet of doom Huxley) that all modern culture cares about is entertainment and trivial shows to keep us in a good mood and joy as a therapy for complex and confusing postmodern reality. This movie is just a blockbuster of course designed and executed (poorly by the way despite all these desperate CGI spasms) to entertain and deprive audience from thinking for 2 hours but, are Wachowski siblings (not brothers any more) really short of cash? This movie is not even a good spectacle – it’s confusing, random tale trying to explain origins of life, KT extinction, begins of Homo sapiens and UFO phenomenon in one go just like spiritual leaders or American psychologists prescribing pill for every troubling existential question.
Some lame scripts are saved by actors… well, this is not the case here either. Mila Kunis is pretty but it gets boring after few minutes (just like in real life) and since she is not showing her body, she has nothing else to show there (pretty sexist it is). Channing Tatum is confused just like his name, flying around in his magic, gravitational boots (why with all this space portals technology???). If he’s not shooting (rare) he has breaks for mumbling or staring – high school magnet tested in Twilight already. Eddie Redmayne is still playing young Stephen Hawking I think but with some extra distorted murmuring speech feature.
Just to balance it off and give justice where it’s deserved – Titus Abrasax’s capital planet looks great (from afar), some battle scenes in Chicago are visually captivating… but that’s about all. 20 minutes trailer would do. Instead: 170 mln $ has been spent for this mistake. Neither the first nor the last, but I hope it will prevent Wachowski’s from making a sequel at least.