So Dara and I finally watched Jupiter Ascending, and, since fellow Here Be Magic author Joely Sue Burkhart has a review up today, I thought I’d talk about my own thoughts on the movie as well!
I gotta say, Dara and I both found this movie far more coherent than we were expecting, given the overall “THIS MOVIE IS SO TERRIBLE AND YOU SHOULD WATCH IT ANYWAY!” reactions we were seeing. If somebody has that reaction to a movie, what that says to me is, “this movie is a riffable MST3K fest”. ‘Cause y’know, Dara and I have a long history of loving us some crappy movies. So we went into this movie totally expecting to have to break out the booze while we made with the riffs.
And honestly? That’s not the movie we got. Neither of us felt the need to point and laugh at anything we saw, which was a pleasant surprise.
Dara mentioned to me that it totally played for her like a version of the Dune movie only with a female protagonist–and that in her view, people had been interpreting this movie as a “Chosen One” plot, when it’s not. It’s a “Hidden Princess” plot, which is not one we’ve seen much of in popular media the last several decades. So it’s kind of unsurprising that a lot of audiences aren’t entirely sure how to react to this plot.
Overall, we both found it perfectly easy to follow, and there were quite a few bits of it that I in fact actively liked. Jupiter’s father, to my surprise, was played by James d’Arcy; when I saw that, I was all “HEY that’s the guy who played Jarvis!” Which was great fun. I liked him as a character, and outright loved that his love of astronomy led him to want to name his daughter after the biggest planet in the solar system, because of that same sense of love and wonder.
And I loved that Jupiter’s family on her mother’s side had a lot of on-camera actual Russian dialogue.
And as a bit of worldbuilding-in-dialogue, I quite liked the concept of “when genes reappear in the exact same order, that’s reincarnation”. It was a single quick line, and rather deftly tossed out a tasty new way of looking at reincarnation that I hadn’t thought about before.
And okay yeah, Channing Tatum was pretty tasty as Caine, I’ll admit–as y’all might guess from my books, I’m rather a sucker for guys with pointed ears. But what I found most appealing about him? The flying boots. Because that? That was pretty awesome.
The three siblings contending for mastery of the Earth were all pretty over-the-top, sure. But given the interstellar society they’d set up, and given the plot reason they specifically set up for WHY they were considering the Earth as a resource, I was willing to buy that these were all reprehensible people in their own individual ways.
Sure, there were a bunch of silly contrivances in the plot, but nothing particularly sillier than anything else I’ve seen in SF movies over the years. All in all I filed this in the category of “Big Stupid Fun”, akin to Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy. Which is to say: kind of fluffy, but absolutely entertaining. Enough so that I’m considering buying my own copy to add to my library, ’cause yeah. I’d like to see this again.