Mark A. Carter

JUPITER ASCENDING: stink, stank, stunk

World famous Canadian Science Fiction novelist Mark A. Carter writes a film review of the movie Jupiter Ascending on its North American opening night: Thursday, February 05, 2015.

As Marcellus put it in Act 1 scene 4 of William Shakespeare's Hamlet: "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." And something is indeed amiss with Jupiter Ascending the latest film written, produced and directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski.

Last night, my wife and I attended the opening night of the Space Opera: Jupiter Ascending at my local film theater. Including us, there were twelve people in the audience. That should have told us something.

Thrilled by the trailers, I have been waiting for months for this film to be released. I expected something great in terms of picture and story. But having is not as great as wanting. And this film was truly wanting. I was so expecting to be delighted. Instead, I was utterly disappointed. It left me asking: where's the beef?

Oops. Did someone forget to write a plot? Unhappy girl goes from washing toilets for a living to discovering she is the reincarnated Matriarch of the House of Abrasax, as if anyone cares, then back to happily washing toilet once more. That's it? Oh my God, I guess Thomas Wolfe was wrong in his 1929 novel Look Homeward, Angel. You can go back home again, if your life is washing toilets. Duh?

Jupiter Jones goes from low mimetic character, which is someone like you or me or worse, to the elevated high mimetic status of a documented reincarnated member of the House of Abrasax, the most powerful alien dynasty in our galaxy, then back to low mimetic status. Essentially, it is a perversion of the Cinderella faerie tale, except in Jupiter Ascending, Cinderella does not live happily ever after. She is abducted from her simple life, brought to the Abrasax space palace, discovers that Princes Balem and Titus plan to kill her, and who knows what Princess Kalique holds in store for her, and escapes back to her simple life but not before indirectly and inadvertently destroying the palace. Right. Sure. You bet. What the ...?

The message derived from the efforts of the Wachowskis is that the purpose of human beings is nothing more than to provide these so-called superior genetic beings with the raw materials to extend their lives. How depressing is that? Back in the day, chemistry class taught me that the physical elements that made up the human body were worth four dollars. I guess our organic compounds are worth more. The point, though, is that we are considered by the Abrasax millennials to be little more than cattle to be harvested to extend their longevity.

The 2015 film Jupiter Ascending by Andy and Lana Wachowski is copyright © Village Roadshow Pictures and Anarchos Productions and is distributed by Warner Brothers and Roadshow Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

The Abrasax millennials are not presented in a positive light. They are depicted as narcissistic and self-indulgent lords who care only about themselves who run industries on many worlds for the sole purpose of extending their egocentric lives.

The special effects, at first blush, are fantastic. The winged spaceships are amazing. But give it a rest. What the Wachowskis have given us is too much. There is too much irrelevant detail, too much backdrop, and altogether too much phrenetic flying at the expense of actually telling a story. What the film amounts to are a series of chase scenes. Give me one thrilling Steve McQueen car chase scene going airborne over the hills of San Francisco in the 1968 film Bullitt. But don't give me a movie that is so padded with bullets, chase scenes, and explosions that it is a waste of time to view. Alas, in Jupiter Ascending, the chase scenes are the movie.

And when does the Science Fiction aficionado's willing suspension of disbelief pop? It is when the velocity of the escapes does not obey the rules of Physics. The law of inertia seems to have been totally disregarded in this film. In the real world, the characters of Caine Wise and Jupiter Jones would have broken like rag dolls as they were propelled upon air surfing boots and both broken their necks and splattered like Guacamole against the inner hull of their spaceship as it accelerated suddenly, changed direction suddenly, and decelerated so quickly. Give me a break. Bla ... bla ... bla.

This is a clichéd and stupid film. Go. Inadvertently destroy the House of Abrasax, which spares the human beings of Earth from being harvested. Return. Why have a character leave her world, be recognized as a superior being, claim her legacy, then leave? Would she not have done more good from a position of power than merely escaping back to the toilet bowl cleaning life she was abducted from? Yes, but that would have required some good Science Fiction writing, which seems to have escaped this production. Does the occasional date with genetically altered and rewinged dog-boy to go sky surfing over the lights of Chicago, at night, make it all worthwhile?

My question is how did this film get the green light with such a bad story line, little meaningful dialogue, no explanation for things that beg explanation, and little scientific basis for anything?

Avoid watching this film at all costs. It is nothing but a waste of time. You don't leave feeling satisfied. You won't want to see it again. You won't want to purchase the DVD. There is no catharsis. You just leave asking the question: that's it? And you feel cheated. Jupiter Ascending uses gadgets, gimmicks, and gizmos that amount to nothing to present the lowest form of drama: spectacle. So much CGI is used to baffle the senses that it is boring beyond belief. The film is clichéd, takes you nowhere, and teaches nothing. If anything, it will act as aversive conditioning to never watch another Wachowski film.

But what is that noise I hear? Could it be the flush of $176 million dollars spiralling down the toilet that Jupiter Jones so assiduously scrubbed?

To quote the narrator in the 1966 animated film The Grinch that Stole Christmas, directed by Chuck Jones and based on the book by Dr. Seuss:

[spoken] The three words that best describe you are as follows and I quote:
[sung] "Stink! Stank! Stunk!"

And it begs the question: how do I scrape this film off the bottom of my shoe?


Read: Cry havoc and let slip the cans of apocalypse
Ex Machina
Jupiter Ascending - Revisted
The Martian
2001: A Space Odyssey
Artificial Super-Intelligence
Can a machine think?
Conceptual Breakthrough
Doomsday Revisited
Future War
IBM Builds Brain
Killer Robots
Robot Takeover
We May Exist in a Simulation

Now you know.

from the imagination of Mark A. Carter - novelist

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