Escape to the Movies: Jupiter Ascending - Tries But Fails

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So the last time I posted something anywhere on the Escapist was ... 30 Apr 2011, at 6:15 am.

I just went through the rigmarole of password recovery and the like to say this:

That Bob didn't like this film is in of itself immaterial, many things he dislikes I end up enjoying and vice versa. No, what makes me worried and completely deflates my interest in the film was the bit about (and I'm paraphrasing here) "It's a commentary on the dehumanizing nature of industrial capitalism!"

No.

Nononono...

Out of all of the overdone, obnoxious, irritating pseudo intellectual cliches used by people who think they're smarter and more clever than the av-er-age bear and have something SUPER DEEP to say that has to be absolutely the worst of the lot.

I will wait for the Redbox release.

Maybe.

vid87:

piscian:

Aiddon:
Oh it could just be that even the Director's Cut will suck because the Wachowskis have been, for lack of a better term, washed up. It happens. Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas flopped for a reason: because they weren't very good. And this is their third in a row. I think it's safe to say the world has left them behind.

Dude, Speed Racer was amazing, what are you talking about?

I wasn't really following movies around the time it came out so I might not be remembering correctly, but I thought critics largely demolished Speed Racer. Nowadays Bob and a few other people plug it some I'm wondering if there really was something being left out of the conversation?

It was mostly lambasted when it came out mainly because no one knew what they were getting into. To put it into perspective, Speed Racer is a bit of a strange film, allowing itself to follow a lot of eastern animation styles and input that into live action for a western audience. The trailers did not show that, and if I'm not mistaken, the film came out a week after Iron Man, so people were expecting another one of those, and didn't think they would be getting this strange stylistic film. As such the film bombed at the box office, but retrospective reviews are really hailing the film as one of the most severely underrated if the 2000s.

Mila Kunis finds out she's royalty and fucks her dog. I'll buy that for a dollar.

So, is there a chance we'll be getting to see a more complete version of the film when the director's cut comes out, or something like that?

Bob, go watch Kingsman: The Secret Service. It's right up your alley! You will love it!

So I wonder if this could be the new 'Kingdom of Heaven'- a fatally flawed movie saved by a Director's Cut that makes it a masterpiece (or at least much, MUCH better)?

Pixels... that sounds familiar.

Arcane Azmadi:
So I wonder if this could be the new 'Kingdom of Heaven'- a fatally flawed movie saved by a Director's Cut that makes it a masterpiece (or at least much, MUCH better)?

That is my hope, for Kingdom of Heaven like Abyss changed drastically for me with the Director's Cut over the release version. From everything I have been told in its current state Jupiter Ascending isn't a movie I would enjoy.

that's really quite disappointing, ever since seeing the first trailer I was thinking "wow, the only people I'd trust to do something that far out there and with this much scale is the Wachoski's" It's a shame the studio system seems to have disrupted the full potential. Wonder if we'd ever be treated to a directors cut someday? I'm also curious if it's intended as a "part 1" or a stand alone?

i think i wait till its out on dvd and as stated before, most likely a directors cut. also, mila kunis is not doing it with natalie portman.

But seriously the most important question isn't answered, does Sean Bean die!?

Eh, I have to confess... "Just doesn't work" is a bullshit conclusion. I feel like that information is useless without actually having seen the film... which defeats the whole purpose of checking reviews before seeing a movie. I'll just have to look around for more reviews. I'm not denying his opinion of course, but it just doesn't help.

Gah, that movie is going to be an Adam Sandler film? D:

DoctorNick:

Out of all of the overdone, obnoxious, irritating pseudo intellectual cliches used by people who think they're smarter and more clever than the av-er-age bear and have something SUPER DEEP to say that has to be absolutely the worst of the lot.

You don't listen to much MovieBob, do you? What you described is basically every 10th sentence in his videos.

Anyway, this movie is getting ripped apart by critics and, assuming it flops at the box office, I think this might be the last hoorah for the Wachowskis. This will be their third flop in a row after Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas (I'm not including V for Vendetta, since they helped write but didn't direct), and I have a hard time imagining any studio is going to throw another $150 million at them at this point.

I feel like they're similar to M. Night Shyamalan: they made one really, really incredible movie at the beginning of their careers and they are still living off the credit of it.

teh_v:
But seriously the most important question isn't answered, does Sean Bean die!?

Should the question not be "if" but "how"? It is Sean Bean after all. :D

I was curious about this movie, I may still go see it. But the preview reminded me too much of like... Hunger Games or Twilight or something. But the universe presented looked really interesting. Might wait for the directors cut or something though.

oh ok. Somehow I had the impression from the trailer that it was supposed to be a Twilight-esque teenage girl space princess wishfullfillment thing.
The special effects looked great but I was ready to skip it for the story, and now I feel it'd be justified to skip it for a lack of it, oh well.

Also a bit off-topic, is anyone else really sick of Sci-Fi so blatantly judging ideas and concepts, recently? Whatever happened to exploring difficult scenarios by means of Sci-Fi metaphors? You can't have a movie asking difficult questions anymore without every scene hammering a point into you how one solution is always, always(!) "right" and the other side is always "wrong".
I mean, if Clarke's "Childhood's End" were made into a movie today, you bet your ass they'd scratch the entire 3rd act, and replace it with humanity heroically fighting off the overlords, nuking the overmind, and bringing "freedom to the whole universe", I'm retching just from thinking about it.

I went to see this one and almost liked it. The visual design was awesome and the bad guys were great. (They are taking their dysfunctional relationships with their mother out on Jupiter, it's great. The lip guys lip makes him look weird in precisely the way he is.)

Even the premise makes plenty of sense for this sort of thing, if you listen carefully. It's not raw biomass, but genetic diversity they are harvesting for the youth juice. Has to be human genes, has to be grown messily for diversity.

What broke the film for me was the main character. Don't get me wrong, Mila Kunis was fine; for the first two thirds nothing was irrevocably wrong. But I expected for Jupiter to stop being dazed at some point and she never did. I guess it makes sense, not many people could learn to deal with galactic scheming in a couple of days, but still, I was disappointed in her and that made the movie fall flat. Even one proactive move by her, even an unsuccessful one, and the film would have been good despite the weaknesses Bob discussed.

PS. Cloud Atlas was awesome, the directing/editing skill required to make that crazy thing actually work was phenomenal.

Honestly, the film was wasn't good, and a lot of that was the Wachowskis fault. Even without studio meddling, which may have hurt the film, I don't think it would have been any good. The audience actually laughed at the film, and not in a good way. When your deadly serious villain is doing something super evil, and the earth is at stake, you don't want your audience laughing at you. I doubt that was the execs fault (though everything else may have been). Honestly, it just felt so... phoned in. Like they were just trying to hit all the beats in a college script writing class, with a copy of the heroes journey propped up next to them, so that they could get a C on the final exam. Was it a bad film? Not really, but it's on the lower end of mediocre.

The space DMV scene was gold, though.

EDIT: On a related note, it did have one of the most shocking twists in cinematic history. Spoiler alert, Sean Bean... doesn't die?

MailOrderClone:
The plot of Pixels sounds a hell of a lot like an episode of Futurama.

It was! It was a mini-story in one of the 'Tales of Interest' episodes, possibly the first.

I'm not holding my breath to see if Sandler's movie can do better, though. :)

OT: Welp, there's another movie I'll be waiting to see on DVD (or possibly never).

Or maybe the studio was given the message that any blatant anti-capitalist anti-corporate message would be unacceptable to the Dick Cheney overlords who rule the world and like to fire cruise missiles at anyone they don't like, which could include movie studios whose destruction would be blamed on terrorists stealing a cruise missile. Yeah, I like to think that the power-mad dictator-wannabes are certifiably insane enough to do that.

Piorn:
...is anyone else really sick of Sci-Fi so blatantly judging ideas and concepts, recently?

Recently? Sci-fi was born of heavy-handed moralizing. Read Fahrenheit 451? Foundation? And while bubblegum space opera is big and has been for a long time, sci-fi as brazen metaphor has always been around.

Pyrian:

Piorn:
...is anyone else really sick of Sci-Fi so blatantly judging ideas and concepts, recently?

Recently? Sci-fi was born of heavy-handed moralizing. Read Fahrenheit 451? Foundation? And while bubblegum space opera is big and has been for a long time, sci-fi as brazen metaphor has always been around.

I realize Sci-Fi has always been about metaphors and such, but I just feel that nowadays, things are portrayed as so blatantly black-and-white.
I'd just like to see a single Na'Vi die from the flu or from an infected cut wound they got forcing their kids into some death rites to tame birds, just to show that they aren't the clearly superior way of living.
Or someone in a sci-fi movie, who is rich and not automatically the bad guy just because he has more money than our perfect protagonist.
And maybe a galaxy-spanning, millenia-old civilization has a richer culture and more depth than just acting as "the bad guys"?
Do people WANT to leave the matrix and live in a post-apocalyptical shithole? Did anyone even ask?

But the more I think about it, the more I realize it's propably always been that way. I don't know I'd just like some movies with a little more perspective.

Piorn:

I'd just like to see a single Na'Vi die from the flu or from an infected cut wound they got forcing their kids into some death rites to tame birds, just to show that they aren't the clearly superior way of living.
Or someone in a sci-fi movie, who is rich and not automatically the bad guy just because he has more money than our perfect protagonist.
And maybe a galaxy-spanning, millenia-old civilization has a richer culture and more depth than just acting as "the bad guys"?
Do people WANT to leave the matrix and live in a post-apocalyptical shithole? Did anyone even ask?

I totally get where you're coming from, and I often end up playing Devil's Advocate with movies, both sci-fi and otherwise.

In "Repo Men", the whole time while the movie was saying how awful and terrible this corporation was for charging people lots of money for replacement organs, all I was thinking was: "wait a minute, this Corporation is giving people the choice to either pay a lot of money and live, or die. And if the Corporation shut down, people would just die and wouldn't even have a chance to stay alive. Am I the only one who has noticed this?".

In "The Last Samurai" I remember thinking "are they going to bother mentioning that in the feudal Japan the Samurai are fighting to retain, it was legal for Samurai to murder any peasant they felt wasn't respecting them enough?"

And of course, the greatest one of them all: "Elysium". "So you're biggest problem is overpopulation, and your solution is to provide the people of earth with magic machines that cure all disease and heal all wounds, and thus increase the population even more".

Just having seen it earlier this afternoon, I think Bob is pretty much dead on here although I would have landed on the "see it anyway" side of the coin. There really does seem to be maybe a whole other movies worth of content that could/should have been there but wasn't for whatever reason. Maybe we'll get lucky enough to have some sort of extended director's cut make it out to home release because this IP definitely deserves it (and it's not the sort of stuff that can really be added in a sequel, it needs to be stitched into the movie we already have).

In short, it is a visually fantastic film that deserves to be seen on the big screen. It may not do everything it (or it's creators) wanted it to do, but it does work as very impressive spectacle if nothing else.

Sanunes:

Arcane Azmadi:
So I wonder if this could be the new 'Kingdom of Heaven'- a fatally flawed movie saved by a Director's Cut that makes it a masterpiece (or at least much, MUCH better)?

That is my hope, for Kingdom of Heaven like Abyss changed drastically for me with the Director's Cut over the release version. From everything I have been told in its current state Jupiter Ascending isn't a movie I would enjoy.

I can add another one to the list, Babylon A.D. If you can get your hands on the Raw and Uncut version of that movie and seen the previous movie, you'd get that Fox execs basically changed the beginning, the ending, the dialogue, and added fight scenes that weren't even in the final movie. The original, unedited movie is lightyears ahead of Fox's spectacular fail-edit which was done because apparently they thought American audiences 'wouldn't get it'.

I saw Jupiter Ascending a few days ago and it was actually enjoyable. Overall I thought it was entertainingly solid, but felt like it was a movie based on a novel that left some detail and plot out in order to fit into movie form. Similarities to other movies were quite apparent but they didn't feel deliberately ripping off those movies.
Not sure why it is getting such poor ratings. Not to say that its super outstanding, movie-of-the-year, or anything close to that, but the movie isn't bad. Sure the premise and story include some oddities, but its a sci-fi fantasy... what were people expecting?
I went to the wiki page after seeing this movie and really expected it to be based on book or even a series. I mean it is a pretty intricate universe they created, seems like it could be expanded upon.

Piorn:
if Clarke's "Childhood's End" were made into a movie today.

the Syfy Channel announced its plans to develop a TV miniseries based on Childhood's End

cross your fingers they hold true to the book, it is one of the books i would like to see (if done well)

Not G. Ivingname:
Translation: Wait for the Director's cut.

My thoughts as well. I'd like to see Bob re-review it when it comes out, but sadly I don't think he does those sorts of releases.

I can't help but chuckle and struggle not to be snarky about the notion of Bob being excited for a movie (Jupiter Ascending) and finding the final release being a disappointment leading straight into one of his post credit statements to blatantly saying, this will be good without seeing the movie. Guess we'll find out later if it really works :)

Alar:

Not G. Ivingname:
Translation: Wait for the Director's cut.

My thoughts as well. I'd like to see Bob re-review it when it comes out, but sadly I don't think he does those sorts of releases.

I saw it last night, and I felt like a ton of its problems came from the editing room. There's a gorgeous, pared-down and dumber action movie and a smarter, longer space opera kind of fighting each other in what I ultimately watched. That said, I'm glad I saw it. It's the sort of movie that benefits from a big screen, and I'll take a film that's trying for something it can't quite achieve over something boring and forgettable that I've seen a hundred times any day. I'll be REALLY interested to see a director's cut, or even just director's commentary, of this some day.

I just saw this today, and it was honestly, the biggest pile of wank I have seen in a looooong time. One dimensional characters, none of whom you can give a shit about, dull action scenes that happen for no reason, zero backstory on anything, and a "comedic" scene halfway through where a bunch of the characters literally go to the central bureaucracy from Futurama.

While I was watching it, i did think that there was a hell of a lot cut out for a possible directors cut, but I honestly didn't care. Adding a whole load of badly written exposition and terrible dialogue is not going to improve upon a film that is already horrifically written.

As much as I dislike everything being franchised these days, after Pacific Rim, Elysium and this, I would prefer never to see a new IP again, because they've been godawful.

The issue is that it was the wrong format. It should have been a 12 episode 1 hour long show for TV or something. Give them time to develop an idea, explore it, and then atleast settle the idea into the overall universe before going on to the next one. Way too much cold explaining in too much of a hurry.

Point in fact, too much explaining in total. Its hard to feel the confusion they have the main character display when you are straight up told all the facts before they are important. It also makes her look really really stupid in some instances as Fact A + Fact B can only be the result of Fact C, but she wanders around for a massive amount of screen time not understanding C. I was praying that she was playing dumb to get the jump on the other person, but nope. Just flat dumb.

Piorn:
Also a bit off-topic, is anyone else really sick of Sci-Fi so blatantly judging ideas and concepts, recently? Whatever happened to exploring difficult scenarios by means of Sci-Fi metaphors? You can't have a movie asking difficult questions anymore without every scene hammering a point into you how one solution is always, always(!) "right" and the other side is always "wrong".

This kind of scenario involves giving quite a bit of time to both (or maybe more than two) sides to explain and justify themselves, offer various solutions inspired by their ideologies to the difficult situation du jour, and introduce the leading lights of the factions, who may or may not be the best representatives of their factions or the ideologies they represent. It's complicated and eats a lot of verbiage and screen time.

Yeah I was afraid that might happen. Still waiting for the new Star Wars I suppose.

(as in, actual space opera).

Pyrian:

Piorn:
...is anyone else really sick of Sci-Fi so blatantly judging ideas and concepts, recently?

Recently? Sci-fi was born of heavy-handed moralizing. Read Fahrenheit 451? Foundation? And while bubblegum space opera is big and has been for a long time, sci-fi as brazen metaphor has always been around.

It seems to be the only thing people make these days though, sci-fi wise. Take this one, incredible potential for world building and new ideas only to be stuck with 'capitalism is baaaaaaad'.

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