Why All the Hate for Jupiter Ascending?

Ok, before I get going let me just state that by no means is "Jupiter Ascending" a good movie. It's not. It's pretty terrible actually. However, I don't think it's any more terrible than any other big budget film I've seen recently. 

I got a chance to watch Jupiter Ascending recently at the ultra discount bargain theater. I figured, "what the heck, it's worth a buck." It was easy to convince my wife to go and see it because it had Channing Tatum in it. I was willing to go because it had Mila Kunis (she looks like a real life version of a Margaret Keane painting). If there would be a couple cool space shots and some things getting blown up that would just be a bonus.

Most of the reviews I read said that the film becomes unwatchable at about the 1 minute mark. Prepared for that, I was pleasantly surprised to find a little bit of back story and character development. Again, nothing great, but it wasn't incompetently done. Even the first few space battles struck me as entertaining.

The big mistake the film makes is the costume design for Channing Tatum. He looks absolutely ridiculous. Honestly, if you'd swapped out Channing Tatum's dopey half-dog/whatever character for something like Boba Fett, science fiction fans would NEVER stop raving about this film. But we're stuck with essentially Mog from Spaceballs and that sinks the whole ship.
It's a pity too because there's some good stuff in "Jupiter Ascending." The idea that the life on earth is going to be "harvested" by an interstellar aristocracy that has lived for millennia is compelling. There's a throw-away line where they say the Earth had to be prepared by creating an extinction level event which cleared the way for human settlement. Little tie-ins to reality like that help strengthen the illusion. There's a similar line in "The Matrix" (also directed by the Wachowski siblings [formerly brothers]) where a character points out that maybe "everything tastes like chicken" because the computer doesn't know how things were supposed to taste. Moments like that make you pause and say "whoa," which is good.

But people just hated "Jupiter Ascending." What boggles my mind is how audiences felt it was so much worse than say "The Avengers" (which I thought was super mediocre). Sitting here now and writing this, I'm similarly disinclined to watch "Jupiter Ascending" again as I am to undertake a repeat viewing of Tony Stark and company. I thought "Battleship" (equally panned) was better than both of them. Basically all you have to do to enjoy "Jupiter" is get over how stupid Tatum looks...oh and wait for Sean Bean, Sean Bean makes anything watchable.

It concerns me that I'm totally missing whatever it is about this film that critics found so contemptible. Some reviews said that "the script made no sense," but that's hardly news. Almost no films have good scripts. The only way you're watching a film with a good script is if the director and producer is also the writer and it's an independent film with no studio involvement. The Coen brothers almost always have good scripts. David Mamet generally writes good scripts, super hero movies usually don't have good scripts (Spider Man II was good, mainly due to Michael Chabon's involvement). If the script for "The Avengers" was a 75, the script for "Jupiter Ascending" was a 73. Why is one praised and the other smashed (is it really just because Tatum looked so stupid...could that be it?).

Anyway, "Jupiter Ascending" is one of those films you should give a chance when you're half drunk on a Thursday evening and stuck channel surfing. You've heard it's terrible, but if you feel like having some background noise while you send text messages, you could do worse. You might even find yourself offering 61% of your attention to the film. Yeah, it's pretty terrible, but it's no less terrible than any of the other films and TV shows that make billions of dollars.

"Jupiter Ascending: Channing Tatum's Life as a Dog"--The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced Tatum's poor costume is the downfall. 


  1. We recently did a university level study on why people hated this movie overall, including some major polling. It really was a mystery to those of us in the class why it was hated, when the movie itself is actually quite solid and has a far more complex and rich plot than 80% of sci fi films produced in the modern era.

    What we found was this:

    Highly religious people hated it the most - They did not like the concept, most participants even left comments like "it challenges god!" "this is more darwinism crap!" etc

    We also compared results against previous film, Minority Report. We found that most people who gave BOTH films negative ratings were actually unable to even explain the basics of the plot. At all. The ones that attempted to, were WAY off base, over 80% could not even answer what the cause of the events in Jupiter were... (the Will)

    Basically stupid people and religious people didn't understand the movie, thought it was going to be Guardians of the Galaxy not realizing it wasn't a movie for CHILDREN, but rather for adults.

    Terribly sad because this is one of the freshest best sci-fi films in years.

  2. "The Golden Compass" got some similar negative press from religious groups. Really a shame because that was a very interesting film. I was excited about the sequels.