Poor Performances Sink Sci-fi Potential

Photo Courtesy of Gage Skidmore, Flickr Creative Commons

“Jupiter Ascending” is utterly ridiculous; the story is very elaborate but felt like a rip-off of several other sci-fi films.

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is a poor Chicagoan maid who lives with her extended Russian family and spends the majority of her days cleaning homes and scrubbing toilets.

She finds out she is the heir to an outer space empire – she has the exact same DNA pattern as the previous queen, who is the deceased mother of three siblings: Balem (Eddie Redmayne) Titus (Douglas Booth) and Kalique Abrasax (Tuppence Middleton).

At first she is skeptical, until the chivalrous, hunky Caine (Channing Tatum), a space-warrior wolverine that rocks a pair of hover boots, comes and sweeps her off her feet to escape the evil forces that are after them.

Stinger (Sean Bean), companion to Caine, convinces Jupiter to fight Balem in order to become the controller of Earth. Humans of earth are considered DNA livestock waiting to be "harvested," to spin out the lives of an overripe royal family.

The visual effects in the movie are so amazing that they almost seem to have video game quality.

Tatum’s lines are sappy, which doesn’t do much for his macho, hulk-like character. His character came off as an almost pathetic, wannabe boyfriend, when it would have been more fitting for him to be heroic. Kunis, however, was a worse offender, as her character seemed to have valley-girl intelligence that grew tiresome within the first scenes of the film.

Judging on the previews, one would expect the film to be like a sci-fi action movie but it’s not. It plays off as more of a sci-fi soap opera, which going in didn’t seem possible, yet here it is. There were even some ill-timed comedic lines thrown into the mix that just detracted once more from the quality of the film.

With a total running time of two hours and five minutes, it was far too long. The storyline itself was preposterous; it was like “The Princess Diaries” meets “The Matrix.” Mila Kunis can’t act to save her life, but Tatum does bear the weight of the film, carrying her along and making the movie somewhat acceptable.