Verdict: 3 / 5
Mila Kunis again rises as an unlikely young heroine, against one of the coolest evil families cinema has seen for a while.
Jupiter Jones, a lowly domestic cleaner by day and stargazer by night, dreams of a better life away from her dysfunctional step-family. Little does she know that her life is all about to change as multiple secret interstellar forces watch her every move; some wish to abduct her, some to kill her. A hero skates in and saves her from immediate danger, but launches them both into a series of incredible adventures, leaping from one galaxy to the next in search of answers.
Jupiter (Mila Kunis), and her part-wolf saviour, Caine (Channing Tatum), along with his former military mentor, Stinger (Sean Bean), plummet through new galaxies until finally arriving back on the planet Jupiter, the familiar whirlpool of hydro sulfide hurricanes. Under the clouds is a mega factory that is owned by the eldest in a family of near immortal humans, Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne), who has plans for earths natural resources.
As they travel into new civilisations, one after the next, it’s quite hard to keep up with the names and places, and just the scale of it all. There are enough new races, planets, ships, industries and beautiful scenery to make three movies, but sadly not enough story content, hence the single film. Elements of the universe could be better explained but there just isn’t enough time.
In line with the typical Wachowskis format, the cinematography is on an epic scale with huge expansive shots of extremely detailed and interesting structures. There is the familiar Cloud-Atlas style rugged character styling, with many unnamed mixed races with various inexplicable facial and anatomical obscurities on each new character. The originality of it all keeps you very involved and always curious.
The whole movie is very rushed and it feels like there is not enough time to attach yourself to the situation, and so you cannot relate to the decisions and characteristics of the protagonists. Small things that don’t make sense keep you lagging behind. For example the love Jupiter has for her abusive, delinquent family is not well established enough for her to be believably attached as to face such adversity for their sake.
Again, this film is a delight to the eyes. The action is marvellously Matrix-like, with slow-mo’s and swooping 3D content. The grand plot is very Matrix-ish, and so very political and you need to listen carefully to really catch everything at the start, but at the end it all comes together in a glorious crescendo. The evil in the villain, Balem, is tangibly awesome and by far the best performance. Kunis elegantly shows off her native Russian tongue and Tatum sports ample eye-liner while riding pretty sweet anti-gravity roller-blades.
It feels like the budget was too small to plan/market/produce a 2 or 3 movie series but big enough for extremely elaborate production design, both in CG-effects, sets and costumes. The future the Wachowskis propose is quite eclectic but at the same time familiar with the same timeless moral issue: Do the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many?