It’s taken 15 years, but the bloated and pitiful “Battlefield Earth” no longer has to carry the mantle of being the worst big budget science-fiction film of all time. “Jupiter Ascending” is such a steaming pile of cinema, it’s almost beyond the realm of human thought to believe another film could be worse.
Andy and Lana Wachowski have written and directed a space opera that wanders between painfully boring and hopelessly confusing. The siblings try to hide amateurish acting behind big set pieces and distract from the unintelligible plot with big explosions.
None of it works. Even in space it’s easy to smell a stinker.
What attempts to pass as a plot has spunky Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) finding out that she’s part of an intergalactic family tree that dates back before the dawn of man. These galactic royals spend their lives finding, seeding and destroying planets for personal gain.
For some reason, Caine (Channing Tatum) — a warrior who looks like the love child of Spock and Legolas — arrives to save her. The three main members of the royal family want her dead or married or to do a remake of “That ’70s Show.” It’s never clear. The only thing obvious is that every effort is made to make sure Tatum doesn’t wear a shirt.
How Jupiter is part of this family is as complicated as figuring out the Kardashian lineage. By the time the royal family stops talking about reincarnation, wedding contracts, harvesting planets and breeding, the film has dissolved into an exercise of will power.
The film comes to a dead stop at the mid-point when Jupiter deals with some international red tape that is neither funny nor interesting.
This is the kind of movie that is so poorly constructed, a major character leaves to go to the store and never returns. It’s not a bad idea to distance oneself from the galactic failure, but at least the audience shouldn’t be treated as idiots.
The Wachowskis have no problem ignoring logic. In one scene, Tatum’s character is ejected from a spaceship into outer space. Instead of exploding from the change in pressure or dying from the cold, he has time to track down a survival suit.
Of course, no one seems to notice that Jupiter lives in a household where everyone in her family has a thick Russian accent but her. Then again, every species in space speaks English, so what are a few accent fumbles. It’s sloppy writing at best, but more likely just a complete disregard from the audience.
Eddie Redmayne, who was magnificent in “The Theory of Everything,” turns in a performance that very well could lose him the Oscar. The soft way he speaks isn’t effective; it’s just hard to understand.
The 3-D is so bad that it makes the screen so dark it’s hard to see what’s happening. Couple the horrendous writing with the bad performance, toss in characters who look like rejects from the “Star Wars” cantina scene and makeup that looks like it was applied by someone wearing a blindfold, and “Jupiter Ascending” rises to a new height in film failure.