Oh wow, this movie has everything! Rocket boots! Rocket ships! Space Princesses! Handsome, angsty, conflicted winged, rocket-booted, wolf-descended love interests. Bureaucracies! Scheming, noble families! Action!
There’s a plot, somewhere here too, but it’s a bit mixed up and buried by all of the joie de vivre, colour and rocket boots.
Jupiter is hard-working toilet cleaner, who turns out to be a Space Princess. This means she gets rescued by the afore-mentioned handsome, angsty, conflicted winged, rocket-booted, wolf-descended love interest a fair number of times. Jupiter is a genetic reincarnation of some space dynasty, which means she owns Earth. And the universe is full of scheming noble families that destroy human-populated planets for immortality serums. Jupiter meets the members of her noble house; it looks like she gets rescued by kicks for one of them, nearly marries another and goes postal on a third. And she learns to appreciate her family better and her ordinary life, or something. And there’s space cops! Rockets! Wolfmen! Space fights! Sean Bean! Something like that.
One would think that if the Wachowskis had de-cluttered their convoluted storytelling and kept it elegantly simple, the film would have been more accepted by audiences. Think of how James Cameron took his strange concepts in Avatar, and made it a simple yet immersive hero’s journey, that really resonated with audiences. Unfortunately, the Wachowski’s previous films have been cluttered and convoluted (see, Exhibit A: ‘Speed Racer’ and ‘Exhibit B: Cloud Atlas’), which makes me want to lock them up in a room with a stack of index cards and a chart with the Three Act Structure on it. See, I like their films. I want there to be more stuff like Jupiter Ascending in the universe. Speed Racer could have been a really great family film, but instead its candy-coloured races were bogged down padded plotting and convoluted exposition that detracted from a movie about racing cars and spy action.
Films like Jupiter Ascending to make money, which means having slick, comprehensible storytelling. Because it’s a great film, but so jumbled, it may not reach its entire potential audience. But it’s colourful, energetic and fun, and I wasn’t bored one moment when watching it. And we do need more big budget Space Princess stories like this. I wished I’d seen it in IMAX when it was available!