back to article Jupiter Ascending – a literally laughable train wreck of a film

It’s usually not a good sign when a film’s release gets repeatedly delayed, as happened with the Wachowski siblings newest sci-fi extravaganza Jupiter Ascending. Knowing this, I tempered my expectations. But even my preparation to view what I expected to be a cheesy, largely nonsensical movie in the vein of the third Matrix …

  1. William Donelson

    When "camp" fails, it's not pretty.

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Sceptical Mila is sceptical

    So, the rumor that the Wachowski brothers only made one movie ever will be cemented?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sceptical Mila is sceptical

      'Bound' was alright.

      1. Jack Faust meets Mephistopheles

        Re: Sceptical Mila is sceptical

        I quite enjoyed Cloud Atlas, truth be told.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Sceptical Mila is sceptical

            Even if you can't work Cloud Atlas out (and it's not that difficult), it's got Jim Broadbent in so that makes it worth a watch just for that.

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Sceptical Mila is sceptical

              It seems the criticisms that some people have of the film Cloud Atlas could also be made of the book of which it's based.

              I enjoyed the film, but then I'd read the book a few years previously (enough to forget some of the details) so I wasn't surprised by its structure or mixture of stories.

              This Jupiter Ascending... the trailer I saw in the cinema last week didn't encourage me to see it. Oh well. At least we have had Guardians of the Galaxy as a fun interstellar movie romp this last year.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sceptical Mila is sceptical

      The Wachowski brothers also made "V for Vendetta", which was pretty good.

      1. Andrew Moore

        Re: Sceptical Mila is sceptical

        no it wasn't- it screwed up the entire ending, was missing some major characters and had a piss-poor performance from Natalie Portman.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sceptical Mila is sceptical

      "Wachowski siblings"

      Fixed it for you

    4. jai

      Re: Sceptical Mila is sceptical

      Bound is great fun. The Matrix, of course was amazing. V for Vendetta is brilliant. And Cloud Atlas is truely epic.

      M2 & 3 suffered perhaps from trying to do too much. Should have left some of their ideas for Animatrix 2 & 3 perhaps. But they're very enjoyable if you like watching the special effects in the battles and fight scenes.

      So even if Jupiter Ascending is as bad as this review makes out, i'll give it the benefit of the doubt. Their track record, for me, is firmly in the positive so far.

      (Would have loved to see their original version of Assassins. It's a great film as it is, but sounds like their version would have been far more interesting)

      1. adrianww

        Re: Sceptical Mila is sceptical

        I'm not certain that Matrix 2 and 3 suffered from "trying to do too much". What they suffered from was the Wachowski siblings suddenly finding that the quite interesting idea that powered the first film didn't actually have the legs to be extended to anything further. The end result was a second film that became increasingly awful, shallow, poorly plotted and laughably scripted as the minutes ticked by. Then, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, along comes the third film, mewling and puking in the bottom of the barrel where the second left off and - to everyone's astonishment - actually managing to be even worse.

        I've tried quite hard over the years to find redeeming features in the second film and - while I haven't really managed to do so yet - I still live in hope and can occasionally watch it again to see if there is anything there to save it. The third film is unadulterated dross and is almost bad enough to make you wish that none of them had been made at all. I have tried to watch the third film again. I've even seen bits of it here and there when it's had an airing on the TV. I've still never managed to find anything in there worth the effort and could probably only manage to sit through all of it if I were sedated or spectacularly inebriated. It's about as much fun as cleaning a badly blocked plughole in a house populated by yetis who use their own dung and phlegm as shampoo.

        I suspect that, if there had been a fourth Matrix film, Plan 9 from Outer Space would finally have had something to look down upon.

        1. Blitterbug

          Re:I've tried quite hard over the years to find redeeming features in the second film ...

          Largely agree with your awesome rant. However, the absolute standout for me is the whole freeway fight scene. Watch it from start to end; it's outrageous in its scope, devastatingly clever and beautifully choreographed. It still makes my jaw drop a little.

    5. montyburns56

      Re: Sceptical Mila is sceptical

      Well as there is now only one Wachowski "brother" that rumour is partially true.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So in other words - Star Wars look alike (with the notable exemption of episode 5)

    Well, in other words it is on par with Star Wars in terms of plot "depth" (with the exemption of good old Empire Strikes Back), just the space and combat scenes are probably shot better than in any of Star Wars movies and make more sense - something a 12-16 year old will enjoy.

    Good - junior will get some tickets and he will probably enjoy it (age 13). He watched episode 5 yesterday (after feeding for a couple of years on Babylon5, Stargate and Stargate Atlantis) and could not resist from commenting 70% of the time that all the space and ground combat is complete and utter b*llsjh*t and makes no sense from the point of view of tactics, strategy, elementary physics, etc.

    1. mafoo

      Vanity Projects

      The important question is... Is this worse than Battlefield Earth?

      1. cambsukguy

        Re: Vanity Projects

        Assuming you actually want to know the answer, yes, much better.

        This review is very negative - almost like the professional reviewers who see so many films that they only like films like Cloud Atlas (difficult but clever and rewarding) - anything else doesn't stretch them so is rubbish. Mark Kermode sometimes gives a reasonable review though.

        There was a plot, based on a preposterous notion (hmm, I wonder other film they did with a preposterous notion), but it was a plot.

        It wasn't certain which of the protagonists were definitely good guys or bad guys.

        The battles were not half bad.

        The graphics were a bit overwhelming but quite impressive.

        Mila Kunis did indeed look nice. GI Joe wasn't sullen and quiet as much as been intimated and acquitted himself adequately for the part. He showed his worth in Foxcatcher as far as I am concerned.

        And Eddie Redmayne's character didn't scream anything like as much as suggested either.

        But then, I thought the opening scene of The Interview (with Eminem) was worth the entry price if I had had one.

      2. chrisyu

        Re: Vanity Projects

        You'd have to rate each by category, say which film was best in:"

        Special Effects: JA

        Acting: JA

        Plot: Tie

        Screen play: JA

        Big Name Cast: BE



      3. Fehu

        Re: Vanity Projects

        Not possible. Simply not possible.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So in other words - Star Wars look alike (with the notable exemption of episode 5)

      Best space combat scene in a "recent" movie was in Serenity - hands down. That had you by the seat of your pants - unlike that Star Wars movie a bit before it where you were in orbit of the capital and it was the flattest least dynamic space battle ever.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Serenity is my all-time favorite movie, and Firefly is the best series ever made bar none.

        Just sayin'

        1. chrisyu

          ohhhhh them's figtin' words to a B5 fan... but yea for a light hearted western set in space FF was great.....of course for an outer-space western with lots of tight black leather Farscape can't be beat.

  4. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    So, erm...

    I take it that you weren't keen?

    Thanks for the warning. Perhaps I should see Taken 3 instead...

    1. silent_count

      Re: So, erm...

      It’s usually not a good sign when a film’s release gets repeatedly delayed

      Or, as in the case of Taken 3, the studio doesn't have enough faith in its own film to allow previews.

    2. VinceH

      Re: So, erm...

      "I take it that you weren't keen?"

      If memory serves, Brid-Aine's was quite scathing of Doctor Who episodes I enjoyed. I will therefore operate on the assumption that a bad review from Brid-Aine means it's something worth watching.

      This might prove to be a mistake, of course.

      On the other hand, the dislike expressed in this review might affect the amount of brain-switched-off-ness I take with me, which might improve the experience anyway. IYSWIM.

      That said, my fleapit of choice doesn't have it listed, so maybe I won't.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Isn't it amazing that...

    a British offering, "Kingsman", looks to have more promise than this thing?

    1. Mike Bell

      Re: Isn't it amazing that...

      Kingsman is a wonderfully over-the-top bit of fun, saw it yesterday. It takes no prisoners – least of all itself.

      1. VinceH

        Re: Isn't it amazing that...

        Seconded - I saw Kingsman a few days ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    2. Truffle

      Re: Isn't it amazing that...

      Thirded? (Is that a thing?)

      Saw Kingsmen yesterday and it is brilliant. It's a film that doesn't seem to know what it wants to be, and is a million times better for it!

      One minute it's Austin Powers, the next it's Bourne Identity with moments of "jeez did Tarantino direct this?" violence. And it all melds together brilliantly becuase you don't know what you're going to get next.

    3. Andrew Torrance

      Re: Isn't it amazing that...

      Seen both . Kingsman is hilarious . A superb romp of a film . Jupiter ascending is a contrived film. Its a 1930s cliffhanger with cardboard characters and formulaic script. Having said that , I quite enjoyed it . Its a brains out movie with excellent 3d effects . However it will be awful on tele . I thought Redmayne was good , in a sterotypical baddie sort of way .

  6. Carl Zetie

    Channing who?

    From the trailers, I thought this was a Sean Bean movie. I didn't even realize Channing Tatum was in it.

  7. JoeTheAnnoying

    Couldn't have said it better...

    My friend dragged me to see this film, as he's an avid aficionado of terrible films. By about an hour in, my wife leaned over to me and said, in a slightly awed voice, "I think this may be the worst movie I've ever seen."

    At the end, a group of teenagers in the back of the theater applauded. They were laughed down. (My wife thinks they were applauding because the movie was over.)

    I even coined a new phrase for it. It was SOOO stupid and SOOO predictable I declared it, "Stupidictable".

    Yeah, little more to add. Wooden acting. Unbelievably stupid and predictable plot. Characters so utterly stupid they can't predict the plot, which just makes you dislike them all the more.

    But it's pretty, if you're not epileptic...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Couldn't have said it better...

      You ended up in a showing of "Dune"?

  8. Little Mouse


    I predict that Seen Been dies in it. Do I win £5?

    1. JoeTheAnnoying

      Re: Predictable?

      Hey, if *I* had to sit through it, heck if I'm going to spare your pain!

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Predictable?

        I think I might go and watch Patriot Games now.

    2. Annihilator

      Re: Predictable?

      For England, James?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Could this film be some kind of insurance swindle? It's not going to make that much at the 'Box Office'.......maybe the brothers/sister/brother are hoping for that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I didn't know you could insure revenue in this brave new world. Is nothing capitalistic anymore?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And let me guess--Sean Bean's character died!

    He does that a lot. Sounds like getting away from this production and having no chance to be in any sequel is not such a bad thing in this case.

  11. Spiff66

    Trailer was bad enough

    To be fair I saw the trailer and it looked pretty wow for 10 seconds, until they then started with a bit of plot and acting at which point it became toe curlingly awful. I suppose if it was on sky on a wet sunday afternoon in january I might watch it. Pay money to go and see it though are you kidding, I'd rather gouge my eyes out.

  12. BenR

    I actually went to see this - having paid actual cash-money! - the other day.

    The plot, such as it is, could be accurately summarised as sci-fi 'Cinderella', with elements of 'Blade Runner', Star Wars (particularly 'Empire'), and 'Soylent Green' thrown in. I don't think the plot was irrevocable in truth. It had some interesting ideas in them, but you had to dig for them.

    Visually, spectacular. Truly beautiful. Sadly, it should have been an indication of the film quality when even the billboard review quotes were all focused on the cinematography rather than anything else.

    The script - ah, the script! If i was to describe it as "beyond fucking wank" I'd be being generous. It's all over the place. Characters come with little introduction, and go with even less fanfare. Two of the main characters are summarily dealt with by simply not giving them any more screentime, with no indication as to their fates. Seemingly important characters are, in some cases, not even named. Sean Bean plays a character with more facets than an insects eye, and all of them are underused. The dialogue is truly truly woeful, with members of one of the Universe's most powerful, 'Entitled' families speaking as though they're secondary (high) school students one second, before being made to sound like C17th royalty the next, often within the same sentence. It's as though they had a load of set-pieces they wanted to film, and wrote a script around them to bodge them all into 2 hours.

    It's by no means the worst film ever made - but was very disappointing.

  13. GregC

    Went and saw this yesterday

    and it is a deeply, deeply silly film. Criticisms of the acting and, especially, the dialogue are entirely valid.


    Despite (or maybe even because of) the issues I also found it good fun, in a disengage brain and let it wash over me kind of way. And it is visually spectacular

  14. 7

    Going to go anyway

    The comments that strike me as most cogent are those semi-apologetic (facing down the stuffy troll hoard) positive appraisals that call it mindless good fun. They don't serve tea on roller coasters. That does not diminish - or have anything to do with - their entertainment value.

  15. Rogue Jedi

    I saw it and did not think it was taht bad

    On saturday I watched both Jupiter Ascending and Kingsman, Kingsman was unquestionably better but I enjoyed Jupiter ascending, yes nether the plot and script were perfect nether were they terrible, and the effects were amaizing.

    it would have likely been improved with a slower pace prehaps told over a 3 hour running time rather than 2, or possibly by elimanating one of the subplots to give the charictors a bit more time to develope

  16. OffBeatMammal

    too much hate

    I saw this as a casual distraction over the weekend. I didn't expect much beyond a visual romp with maybe some cheezy one-liners and I was not disappointed.

    The more I read where critics slam a movie this hard the more I realize their finely tuned sensibilities are a little out of touch so I'll go and judge for myself if the trailer grabs my attention.

    Oh, and no mention of the Terry Gilliam cameo?

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Re: too much hate

      "Oh, and no mention of the Terry Gilliam cameo?"

      Well that was quite good, but wasn't the steam punk a bit out of place considering everything else? or was it a comment about the standard of IT in social services?

  17. People's Poet

    I am about to commit heresy in some people's eyes but all the Star Wars films are dreadful if you listen to the dialogue. It doesn't stop you enjoying them though.

    I think it's better not to have too many expectations when watching a film like this and just use it to kill a couple of hours while not having to think too hard.

    1. Psmiffy

      As my son says; Star Wars is great except for all the talking. Standing up and talking, sitting down and talking, walking and talking.Sitting down then standing up to do more talking. All interspersed with epic scenes of light sabering and a bit of space battles.

      Although to me the talking is important to advance the overall plot.

  18. NomNomNom

    Is it as bad as prometheus and interstellar?

  19. Dan Paul

    So called "Critics"

    Dear Brid-Anne,

    Please get a grip on yourself. ALL SCIENCE FICTION MOVIES do not agree with the "critics" because the "critics" only know how to criticize. I'll go out on a limb and bet this wasn't a review you relished doing.

    If this or a similar movie is going to bother you, please only review "films" not science fiction movies.

    Taking yourself so seriously is only going to result in excess lines around your eyes, migrain headaches, a hitch in your panties and incredibly nasal whining. You should avoid it at all costs.

    Please assign movie revues to someone who posesses a sense of humor as life is difficult enough without someone sucking all the joy out of it.

    I saw the movie myself this weekend and while the acting wasn't spectacular it wasn't as bad as BAP wants to make it. I have seen much worse, that was reviewed by the "critics" as being better.

    Even my girlfriend liked the movie, much more than she expected.

    If you like "Space Opera" as a genre, this flick was not too bad. The scope of the story was too fast and condensed to make much of the characters, a common problem with movies that should have been multi-part or even longer. Unfortunately, "critics" only think that better writing or dialog is the solution when I think too much of the movie ended up up on the cutting room floor. Some subjects just need more time. Space Opera is one of them as most fiction of the genre is multi-part.

    The visuals were quite well done and in many movies that is a feat by itself. This was not a "Sci-Fi" made for TV movie with effects from District Nine. The fly over of Jupiter was amazing. The landings though the clouds were very nice. There weren't any obvious issues except the minor overuse of flying the anti-gravity boots.

    Mila Kunis was a better, more believable choice for Jupiter the scullery maid/Cinderella than Portman, Eddie Redmayne was the best pompous villain I've seen in a while, regal, arrogant and vicious, Tatum Channing was a good bodyguard/soldier character but wasn't given enough screen time to develop the romance between he and Jupiter Jones. This DID come off as contrived. There were a dozen other characters that were kind of glossed over and could have been given more time as well.

    It was enjoyable as long as you didn't confuse it with a serious "film". You had to take it at face value, a Science Fiction movie done by the Wachowski brothers. Given their heritage, you were expecting "War and Peace"?

  20. Vector

    Compare and contrast

    This weekend was, for me, an interesting demonstration of modern film critique.

    I saw this critically panned movie (22% on Rotten Tomatoes) on Saturday. Yes, the plot was bullet-ridden and the characters drawn like a cheap comic book, but like classical opera, it was more about the spectacle than the story. In the end, it was great popcorn fun.

    I also saw the critically acclaimed "Boyhood" (98% on Rotten Tomatoes, 8 Oscar nominations). While it was mostly well acted, it was really just a slice(s?) of life film that seemed to drag through many parts. We came to the conclusion that critics loved it because they've forgotten what that kind of life is like while the rest of us watch it like the antics of the neighbors down the street. In the end, I found "Boyhood" to be pretty meh. Kinda glad I saw it; don't ever need to see it again.

  21. Banksy

    I've seen worse

    As Rogue Jedi says above there is some cringeworthy dialogue and general plot daftness but I've seen a lot worse on screen. For instance, I recently watched Battleship. It seems like they tried to go for a Marvel-esque cocky type of humour but failed badly at it.

    I am a bit surprised by the praise for the space scenes, some of the CGI was ultra ropey IMO, particularly the ships themselves. Also some of the characters were like rejects from Babylon 5 or a Saturday morning cartoon.

    Biggest criticism is that the plot is very, very similar to the Matrix in one key aspect (which I won't reveal). Seems like the Wachowski's had one good idea and they've changed it and the setting slightly.

  22. chrisyu

    Bottom line it for me, will it be worth the $1.25 redbox rental fee when it hits video in 2 months?

  23. BigFire

    Sandra Bullock

    In 2010, she picked up Razzie for "All About Steve" in person, and then go on to pick up Oscar for "Blind Side" 24 hours later.

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