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Jupiter Ascending - badgerblog
February 9th, 2015
07:17 pm


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Jupiter Ascending
Big goofy space opera fun.
The Wachowskis tell you in the first ten minutes that this is a Cinderella story so you’re watching a fairy tale with different trappings. If you're looking for hard SF go back to complaining about Gravity and Interstellar because you're in the wrong room.

The aristocratic space vampires are actually humans who seed planets and harvest humans for their life essence distilled in liquid form. We can live forever, if we’re willing to be serial killers on a planetary scale. As in the Matrix and in Cloud Atlas's futureSeoul, the Wachowskis have set up a scenario where people are being farmed like cattle: in the Matrix humans are used as batteries for huge power farms, in Jupiter Ascending humans are grapes and Abrasax Industries are winemakers.

The black comedy bureaucracy sequence is so explicitly a nod to Brazil (albeit a steampunky Harry Potter mashup of Brazil) that Terry Gilliam is a clerk in the sequence. (Also nods to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie wherein Arthur Dent saves the day with his British-honed skills at competition queueing.)

Kudos to the lead character's self-awareness: there's a line in the trailer where Mila Kunis says "I've always loved dogs". When we first saw the trailer M. commented that was a stupid line. In the movie, immediately afterward the character stops, repeats that line to herself, and sags in a "how could I be so stupid to say something like that" way. We can't all live with Aaron Sorkin writing our lines.

Nice touch of big-headed grey aliens a) being an alien race humans encountered and conquered used as watchers and monitors of the crop on Earth and b) they show up in the story on Earth in a medical context, and c) the harvesting/processing in the refinery seems to involve lots of mechanical arms and limbs with drills and claws and is medical in a Hellraiseresque kind of way, typing together nicely the "alien abduction and medical experimentation" stories.

The spaceships use force fields as major structural components, flaring out and contracting parts of the ship like giant lionfish fins. The use of fields is the best visual portrayal of ships and drones of the Culture from the works of Iain M. Banks that I've ever seen.

The end escape sequence reminds me of Aliens. The bridge shots of the space cop cruiser, and a break the blockade flight scene remind me of Guardians of the Galaxy. The winged soldiers reminded her of the Hawkmen in Flash AHH AHH! Gordon, as well as the giant asymmetrical headdresses of ultra-rich space couture. Lots of Dune in the visuals, too.

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