Jupiter Ascending, Blu-ray 3D (2015)

Jupiter Ascending, Blu-ray 3D (2015)

Cast: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean
Directors & Writers: Lana Wachowski & Andy Wachowski
Studio: Warner Bros. [6/2/15] (3-disc set: 3D, Blu-ray, DVD – Ultraviolet)
Video: 2.41 for 16:9 1080p color 3D Blu-ray, 2D Blu-ray, DVD
Audio: English Dolby Atmos 7.1, English descriptive 5.1, DD French 5.1 (dubbed in Quebec), DD Spanish 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish (may vary on extras)
Extras: “7 Earth-Shattering Extras”: “Jupiter Jones: Destiny Is Within Us”, “Caine Wise: Interplanetary Warrior”, “The Wachowskis: Minds Over Matter”, “World Within Worlds Within Worlds”, “Jupiter Ascending: Genetically Spliced”, “Bullet Time Evolved”, “From Earth to Jupiter”
Length: 127 mins.
Rating: ****

While the first Matrix feature was a classic, the Wachowskis have not quite equalled that in Jupiter Ascending. Their goal undoubtedly was to create a wild sci-fi opera that would be visually beautiful and action-filled, and that it is, but its lofty morals and ideas are not clearly laid out and the action is terribly confusing, with bodies flying everywhere and seemingly no one concerned about the lack of breathable oxygen in space or falling great distances without injury. Jupiter doesn’t Ascend much at all; but she decends an awfully lot. But it’s not nearly as bad as critics have made it out to be at the start.

One online reviewer referred to this as a B movie with an A movie budget; that about says it all. Women love it because it features a female lead who does’t fall prey to the attempt to make a strong female heroine who shuns all things feminine and to prove she is a as good as a man. As one woman wrote: “non-romantically-based movies with strong and accurate heroines have been few and far between.”  (This might be a way to get your wife or girlfriend into sci-fi.) Jupiter is not diminished her femaleness. There’s an amazing amount of mythological/family/genetic stuff, but it’s never fully explained and leaves quite a bit unanswered.

Who knew that aliens living somewhere on Jupiter were the progentitors of the human race on Earth? And “harvested” the people on planets like earth? Caine is a modified warrior type who protects Her Highness Jupiter from the three warring Abrasax siblings (because the previous queen has been murdered), in a family heirachy that seemed much more complicated than that in David Lynch’s Dune, with the addition of the genetic thing. Caine’s naked back is shown earlier, and there is no indication then of the giant wings which he suddenly sprouts at the end of the film to fly around Chicago with Jupiter. (I thought he was part wolf, not part eagle.)

If you like lots of spaceship chases, fights, last-minute rescues, lizardmen, elephantmen, androids, mousemen, sci-fi gadgets, cool spaceships, flying shoes, artificial wings, force shields, blasters, princesses, funny Baroque costumes, “legionaires”, and a forced cliffhanger marriage, you’ll love Jupiter Ascending. The section where an obsequious android takes the queen around to get her approved papers for succession was marvelous. The mixture of old and new technologies reminded me of Brazil (my favorite movie) and after it’s over Jupiter says “I’ll never complain about the DMV again.”

In 3D, with headphones (so as not disturb my wife), I found it a great experience. (The 3D box has a printed 3D cover on it.) It also is one of the few films so far with Dolby Atmos if you have height speakers set up. But I do wish they would slow down the people falling great distances and the space ships moving thru difficult regions, because it all went so fast I couldn’t understand what was happening without the descriptive soundtrack option. Needless to say, I didn’t bother with the “Earth-Shattering Extras.”

—John Sunier

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