“From the creators of The Matrix” is a quote that has accompanied the Wachowskis in each of the trailers and posters for their subsequent films, and with good reason. The 1999 sci-fi is still one of the best of the genre, and having struggled since then a case could be made that the sibling directors peaked too soon. Indeed, Jupiter Ascending does little to change that notion, as it can best be described as a beautiful failure.
Mila Kunis plays the titular Jupiter, a lowly cleaner who lives with her Russian family and dreams of escaping her mundane life. Unbeknownst to Jupiter, her genetic code means she’s next in line for ownership of a number of planets, including Earth. Naturally there are other interested parties who want Jupiter out of the way, and when an attempt on her life is thwarted by half-man half-wolf warrior Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), she’s introduced to a new world.
With an apocalyptic résumé that includes Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, Roland Emmerich is renowned as one of the biggest purveyors of over-the-top blockbuster mayhem. White House Down (2013) is very much in the same mould; loud and unabashedly dumb, it’s fun and forgettable popcorn fodder at its purest, all wrapped up in that now-familiar Die Hard framework.
It would seem that more and more animated directors are successfully making the transition to live action. Late last year, Brad Bird impressed with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and just this month Andrew Stanton did a fine job with John Carter. Now it’s the turn of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, famous for 2009’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, as they attempt to breathe new life into 80’s TV show 21 Jump Street. Ditching the drama for some R-rated humour, is this revamp an unlikely comedic hit?
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