Jupiter Ascending review – absolute nonsense

In space, no one can hear you scream… with laughter. Which is helpful when watching the Wachowskis’ latest effort

“Bees don’t lie…” When it comes to bonkers, overcooked, overambitious sci-fi, writer/directors Andy and Lana Wachowski really are in a world of their own. It took me three runs to get my head around their adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas but I suspect that this colourfully ridiculous (and strangely archaic) Star Wars/Matrix/Flash Gordon mish-mash has delivered all of its riches on first viewing.

The plot is sub-Hitchhiker’s Guide/Guardians of the Galaxy bunkum about extravagantly coiffured extraterrestrials who rule Earth from afar, but whose plans to “harvest” its riches are confounded by the genetic resurgence of intergalactic royalty in the unsuspecting shape of toilet-cleaning Mila Kunis (she is the one!). Channing Tatum is the wolf/man hybrid who plays Clark Kent to Kunis’s Lois Lane (a recurrent Wachowski trope), swooping around on jet-boot rollerblades as we careen through starship dogfights, massive interplanetary shoot-em-ups, and endless incongruous stick-on ears. At one point, the whole thing becomes Brazil in space, replete with a Terry Gilliam cameo. It’s absolute nonsense, with each new world more fantastically overdressed than the last, and dialogue that would make George Lucas cringe. Top marks go to evil space royal Eddie Redmayne, whose breathy ennui is offset by bouts of mummy’s boy shrieking, all delivered with a “petite-mort” look on his face that suggests he is being fellated by eternity itself.

Watch the trailer for Jupiter Ascending


Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

The GuardianTramp

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