-- Jupiter Jones (as played by Mila Kunis)
In fairness, I haven't seen enough of it to analyze it the way I should. When this one was widely panned in its theatrical run, I opted to wait until it came on cable to watch it; and the few times I tried to get through it -- for whatever reason -- it just couldn't keep my interest, so I gave up on it. (Yes, yes, yes: it's one of the films on my Bucket List, so -- life permitting -- I will get around to it and no doubt have something fully to say about it.) Mila Kunis -- in particular -- felt a bit of a miscast to me, and I wasn't quite sure of what all was going on with Channing Tatum's character, and I'll simply leave it at the point of saying it probably isn't/wasn't a film for me. That could change -- should I take it all in in it's infinite glory -- but perhaps at that time I felt like its visuals were more about spectacle than they were substance.
But I have followed to film -- to a lesser degree -- only because I've often that the Wachowskis -- much like M. Night Shyamalan -- are a phenomenon unto themselves. Given their somewhat financially underperformance for studios following in the wake of The Matrix franchise, I've always been at a loss to understand how they -- like Shyamalan, again -- keep getting work! And ... not cheap work! But high paying gigs with some pretty incredible budgets! Has Hollywood learned nothing from throwing money away on these vanity projects? Or are the studio suits still hedging their bets, hoping against hope that they'll produce something that truly redefines cinema as The Matrix did?
I will say that -- even though it was a critical and commercial failure -- I had an awful lot of fun with their big screen adaptation of Speed Racer (2008). I vaguely recall writing somewheres back in its day that -- were I a young one, much like the age in which I first discovered the immortal Star Wars -- Speed Racer might've been the kind of film that truly turned me on to visual storytelling. I'm not even remotely suggesting that these two pictures should be thought of and/or dissected in the same breath; I'm just saying that Racer had the kind of frenetic energy that could've inspired a trend of young filmmakers to pick up their cameras and try to do something in that same mileau.
But I digress ... as this is supposed to be about Jupiter Ascending ...
Not all that long ago, I recall reading something that Kunis said in an interview. She was asked something to the effect of how/why Ascending failed to 'ascend,' as it were; and I thought her response kinda/sorta interesting as well as kinda/sorta stupid. I Googled and can't find the piece now, but -- entirely from memory I'm going now -- the actress suggested that she knew the flick would be a failure when -- in pre-production -- the studio came in and slashed the budget in half. In a general sense, that's a sentiment I think many of us -- even those not in the entertainment business -- can understand and appreciate ... but for perspective's sake what's missing here is that the Wachowskis were still given anywhere between $170 million to $216 million (it's reported differently across the Information Superhighway) ... and, think what you may, that's still an incredible amount of money! Heck, they shot The Matrix (and revolutionized moviemaking, I might add) on a fraction of that!
Alas, only in Hollywood can the 'brightest among us' continue to insist that only by spending -- ahem -- potentially $400 million dollars can a cast and crew produce a compelling and successful space saga!
So I won't throw any more barbs at Ascending ... not today, anyway. As I said, I really need to digest all of it. I just think, sometimes, projects are destined to fail because there's no there there, and maybe that's why it missed its mark ultimately.
Here's the plot summary as provided by IMDB.com:
"Jupiter Jones was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people's houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine Wise, a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along - her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos."
Maybe that was my take with what little of it I watched. Too campy?
Don't worry. I'll eventually know for certain.
As always, thanks for reading ... and live long and prosper!