For my inaugural review, I have scientifically chosen a film based on its diversity, balance of special effects and plot, and possibility to make my name widely known in the film critic department. Or none of those. . . You choose. Actually, I chose this movie because it is last movie that I [mostly] watched.
Before I jump into the actual review, let me tell you a bit about my movie watching style. First, there is generally a mini-human around at all times. Meaning that if there is crazy language or intense violence, it just “ain’t getting watched all the way through” because I watch the majority of my films at home, in the living room, on a couch, with the lights on, without THX certified equipment. What I am looking for is thematic content. I’m looking to see where the feel of cinema is headed and whether or not we are moving toward Idiocracy or toward crazy, massive awakening (sometimes, it is both). Oh, and the format of this will probably change because I am a bit ADHD as well and will probably squirrel! every time I write one of these.
You could just go to IMDB.com, but here it goes in about three sentences. Jupiter (Mila Kunis), a Russian emigrant turned housekeeper wannabe royalty, is the re-sequenced DNA of an alien but not really alien human queen of the universe. This advanced human race wants to harvest the earth’s population so they can make “human juice,” go swimming in it, and live forever; the problem is that Jupiter pretty much owns the earth so they can’t. Everyone bad [read 1%’ers] wants her dead, and then there is a human-wolf thing (Channing Tatum) that is trying to save her. And then there are Bees – lots and lots of bees. That’s it.
Everything is usable, just not sure how much. In the movie, Jupiter’s father is infatuated with the stars. She is even, obviously, named after what her father calls “the planet.” Her physical life takes a turn for the worse upon his death and her mother’s subsequent emigration to the U.S. where Jupiter grows up to be a housekeeper. She begrudgingly goes through each day uttering the words, “I hate my life” as the alarm clock sounds 4:45am. She is constantly looking for money; people around her are constantly trying to use her for money (culminates in her being talked into selling her eggs). That is until she is shocked out of her current paradigm by this thought that she is actually a queen whose inheritance is the earth. When the movie is in its last minutes and she is back on Earth, all has changed. She has been rejuvenated with this thought that her source is not in the world around her, but is greater than what most people see. What I found interesting here is that we, as Christians, take the same approach. Some of us misunderstand where our “citizenship” is, while some know, but are unable to ever access the vast resources [read: not just money] that are available to us. Jupiter Ascending‘s first parable point could be an example of “we are in this world, but not of it.”
Second topic of thought. The DNA sequence that Jupiter is supposedly a copy of (in the movie, they state that when a DNA sequence accidentally reappears in the future, it is what is called “reincarnation” and that DNA sequence has the same rights as the previous one. That is why she is seen as queen, in a way) had three children who sorta of split the known universe (I’m paraphrasing here since this is where the 8 year old came down and wanted to watch the “princess movie”). But now that Jupiter is on the scene, they don’t just get everything and can’t harvest the earth to use it for highly-concentrated human life juice. I think this highlights the dangers of thinking we are a superior species of human rather than just a transformed version of the same. Remember that grace is a gift given freely to all through Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection. Jupiter Ascending could be a cautionary tale of thinking ourselves higher than we ought.
I’ll stop there since it is getting lengthy. But all in all, there is some good parable material in there.
So, yes, there is some good parable stuff. And yes, there is a bit of cool plot in there. Woefully, it isn’t a great movie from my perspective. The effects are good (except for Channing Tatum’s almost Barf from Spaceballs level of makeup) and I really love the Bee’s sequence, but it is just about 1.5 hours too long. There is even a part in there that reminds me of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy‘s terrible bureaucratic scene. The language is not terrible, but the creators took full liberty with the PG-13 rating. Not too much sexual content except a dressing scene. And the violence actually wasn’t that graphic. Anyway, maybe rent it and skip through just for the good parts. . .