Depending on where you’re flying and what you’re drinking, Jupiter Ascending is either the worst movie ever made or a howlingly-good, Sci-Fi camp classic for the ages. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but there really is no middle ground with a movie this weird. You are either going to love it to death or hate it with the angry, swirling passion of the red eye of Jupiter.
Even longtime fans of the edgy, genre-smashing cinematic output of Andy and Lana Wachowski – the siblings who brought us Bound, The Matrix Trilogy and Cloud Atlas – will have a hard time making sense of this truly bizarre but imminently watchable Sci-Fi sudser. Big, confusing and completely decadent, Jupiter is like one of those giant eight-scoop ice cream sundaes that were all the rage in the 1980s. You don’t know where to start or what to make of it all, but you can’t stop staring at it. And like those sugar-coma-inducing wonders of yore, Jupiter has a big old scoop of every flavor in the bloated, bad-good Sci-Fi movie universe. It’s like they threw The Black Hole, Krull and Star Wars in a blender and then sprinkled liberal amounts of David Lynch’s Dune all over the top of it. And the effect is genuinely head-spinning.
Starring Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones, an ancient alien queen reincarnated in the body of a half-Russian maid – seriously, there are at least three scenes of Kunis on her knees scrubbing toilets! – living with her mother and aunt in her uncle’s basement in Chicago, Jupiter also stars Channing Tatum and Sean Bean as disgraced former space-cops looking for redemption. And did I mention that Tatum and Bean are also half-animal? Tatum is part wolf and Bean plays a half-man, half-bee creature called, appropriately enough, Stinger. Oh yeah, and Tatum also jets around the movie on super cool, 80s-retro gravity-defying boots. Yep, you heard me. Magic Mike with long hairy ears and rocket shoes, what’s not to like?
Even more entertaining are the three dueling alien siblings fighting to keep their reincarnated mother, Kunis, from ascending (Get it? Her name is Jupiter and she’s like, ascending!) to her rightful place as leader of the Royal House of Abrasax. Played to the pulpy hilt by The Theory of Everything’s Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth (Noah) and Tuppence Middleton (The Imitation Game), these three give new meaning to the term “ham-fisted” with their juicy, B-movie takes on pampered, villainous royals. And whether they’re sitting on their floating couches, making love in mid-air with gaggles of scantily-clad sex slaves or bathing in shimmery human essence, these three steal every scene they’re in. Mark my words, one day there will be Jupiter Ascending drinking games where participants down a shot every time one of them utters the word “Muthah.” It’s just too good!
Since I fear I’ve already spoiled too much of the plot, I won’t go into the finer details of it all here. But rest assured that the rest of the film is just as goofy and breathtakingly-weird as the site of Tatum whisking Kunis to safety over the teeming streets of downtown Chicago in his rocket boots.
Like I said at the beginning, Jupiter is definitely not for all tastes, but when it comes to fun, totally insane inflight entertainment, it’s pretty hard to top. In fact, I can’t think of a better way to spend a couple of hours in an airplane. So, break out your carry-on shot glass and have at it!
Now playing on select Delta, United, British Airways, Lufthansa, and Air France flights worldwide, Jupiter Ascending was also recently released on DVD/Blu-Ray in the United States and is available to stream online at Google Play, the PS Store and iTunes.