Jupiter Ascending

Saturday, February 21st, 2015 11:32 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Chad desperately needed a break so we enlisted the babysitter and went to see this.

The nice thing about hearing about it from many different avenues is that my expectations were very low and it exceeded them. I honestly cannot say that it is a good movie, but it is less bad than I was expecting—see: very low expectations. I thought I was going to have to force myself to find things to like about it, and in fact I did not, I genuinely enjoyed myself. I think I'm going to go with "delightfully batshit" as my two-word summary.

The thing is, as many non-professional-reviewers have said, it is a straight-up unashamed id-tastic power fantasy for young women. And somewhat along the lines of what [personal profile] metaphortunate has been saying about women's fantasies WRT Fifty Shades, it's hard for me not to see the over-the-top-ness of it being devalued by a lot of critics because it's got a young woman at the center. Putting Fifty Shades aside, because that is a discussion I do not want to host for a number of reasons:

Jupiter Ascending is a secret-heir power fantasy, kitchen-sink variety, with: gorgeously expansive visuals; lots of chase and fight scenes; inexplicable scenery chewing; what I would swear is a Princess Bride homage; good momentum except for an ill-advised bureaucracy parody part-way through (it's only 2:07, which is downright speedy for a Wachowski sibs movie); non-white people who may only be in secondary roles but at least don't die for the white heroes (I wanna be Captain Tsing); and a critique of capitalism that is crashingly unsubtle but is also less insipid than Interstellar's big message. There are way, way worse recipes for a big-budget SFF movie. And, seriously: I did not have to force myself to enjoy it.

And now, some spoilers.

I require all the novel-length post-movie fics in which Jupiter comes to terms with power, goes and dismantles the economic system of the whozit family, and along the way explores just how it "really works for" her when Caine calls her "Your Majesty." Ahem.

I liked Mila Kunis! Channing Tatum didn't get much to do, only the barest hint of what must lead to things like If Channing Tatum Were Your Boyfriend (y'all have seen the Chris Evans version, yes?) and definitely not enough to overcome my finding him physically unattractive (it's the neck), but he was fine. Sean Bean didn't die! I have no idea what Eddie Redmayne was doing, but I was prepared for it, so I didn't care.

Tell me the wedding scene wasn't a Princess Bride homage? Seriously.

There was a lot of Jupiter getting rescued, which worried me about the trailer. But she made the smart and the moral choice when it came down to it and she beat the shit out of Redmayne's character and so I'm cool with it overall.

I'm sure by tomorrow I will have a million plot holes. But nothing really jumped out at me during, probably because except for the ill-advised bureaucracy sequence (seriously, what a momentum kill), it moved very briskly and linearly.

One of the things that I've been writing in my head and never posting is how I used to love roller skating in high school and, recently at SteelyKid's school roller skating party night, laced up some skates and tried it after not skating since probably high school itself. I miss the days when I would revel in the sheer speed of it without fear, but after several circuits I was getting the hang of it back, and even with the fear tinge the adrenaline felt pretty good. Suddenly my urge to go back is much stronger. Can't imagine why . . .

I couldn't figure out what the egg selling plot was doing, and then the "Soylent Green is people" part of the plot kicked in and I realized, oh, it's underlining the theme! (The telescope was the kind of characterization shortcut that these movies tend to suffer from, so again, not good, but not uniquely bad.)

The visual joke of the crop circle when the mercenaries-or-whatever lifted off from the cornfield! That and "I love dogs" got laughs in our theater.

I appreciate the idea behind using the menstrual pad as a bandage but, uh, the adhesive and the absorbant part are on opposite sides, so that doesn't really work...?

Uh, I think I had more but I just had to get a coughing Pip back to sleep, so I'll leave it for edits or comments or reading other people's posts.


Ant-Man, which I continue to resent the existence of.

Chappie, which looks like a completely different movie in the new trailer. I'm still not sure it's a movie I want to see (that body language keeps driving me nuts, it's so obviously human-inna-suit), but the difference between that and the first trailer is kind of stunning.

Spy. I am allergic to the kind of comedy that Melissa McCarthy does, as I am to almost all movie comedy, frankly, but I hope she kicks ass in the movie and at the box office.

Run All Night, which looks like a positively loathsome specimen of the Liam Neeson-as-inexplicable-badass subgenre.

Ted 2. I somehow missed the existence of the first movie and I wish that happy state of affairs had continued, as I am fairly sure brain cells died in protest at watching that trailer.

Focus, which is a Will Smith con-man movie, and which I might love or loathe depending on how the tone, treatment of women, etc., shakes out.

Date: Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 05:42 am (UTC)
ext_909977: I see dumb people (I see dumb people)
From: [identity profile] canyonwalker.livejournal.com
I haven't seen Jupiter Ascending but I do agree with you on several of the trailers:

1. The first preview of Chappie made it look like a feature-length Robot Wars competition so I mentally killfiled it. But now the more recent trailer shows it has philosophical and narrative depth as a man-vs-machines-gone-bad story a la Terminator 2 (but hopefully less bombastic). I may go to see it.

2. The first two times I saw the previews for Run All Night I asked myself, "Wait, is this an ad for one of the Taken movies?" These flicks with Liam Neeson beating people up are becoming as tedious as Charles Bronson's Deathwish franchise. Or Bruce Willis' Die Hard.

3. I saw a few minutes of Ted on TV via picture-in-picture while I was programming something else on my DVR. My ghod, that movie is stupid. I can barely understand how it was green-lit. And given that it was made, I can barely understand why people went to see it. And given what a smoking turd the movie was, I can barely understand why Hollywood is crapping out a sequel. But apparently enough people went to see the first one that it made good money, so put your hip waders on because here comes another.

Date: Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 02:58 pm (UTC)
skygiants: Eve from Baccano! looking up at a starry sky (little soul big world)
From: [personal profile] skygiants
The other thing about the egg selling plot, in addition to the body-commodification theme, is that, as [personal profile] batyatoon put it when we were talking about this, it's like "you walk into a clinic to sell your eggs! And suddenly THREE HORRIBLE STRANGERS SHOW UP CALLING YOU 'MOM.'" I actually kind of love how much the movie, in its own lovable, bizarre, and deeply incoherent way, is centered on mothers and motherhood and all the complexities of that (as opposed to the usual DADDY ISSUES UP THE WAZOO.)

Date: Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 05:05 pm (UTC)
skygiants: Sokka from Avatar: the Last Airbender peers through an eyeglass (*peers*)
From: [personal profile] skygiants
No, I like the way you put it better, I think that's right -- although I do think there's a link there also between that and the fact that Jupiter has one surviving parent, who's her mother, and the process of being-pregnant-with and giving-birth-to Jupiter has the narrative focus of the first ten minutes of the film; like, a real, chosen, meaningful mother-daughter relationship in contrast with all the projections of motherhood & maternity that everyone imposes on Jupiter? SOMETHING.

Date: Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 05:42 pm (UTC)
jhameia: ME! (Default)
From: [personal profile] jhameia
I'm glad you liked Jupiter Ascending! It's giving folks SO MUCH to talk about. And there's so much great meta out there!

I rather saw the telescope is a kind of bridging motif--between generations (Jupiter and her father), and also between worlds (Jupiter wants to use it to look at the starts, the plot ends up taking her into the actual stars).

The bureaucracy sequences was dead hilarious, too, and I thought it did a pretty good job of underlining how enmeshed in particular rules the space economy was, and how built up it was, which implies an extremely large human population, and law system, which fails individuals.

Agree about Channing Tatum though. I mean, I appreciate that the male love interest is inexplicably shirtless for about ten minutes and doesn't really have an arc of his own that isn't inextricably tied to the heroine, but he just doesn't do it for me.

The wings, tho.

Date: Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 06:24 pm (UTC)
autumnus: A purple monochrome portrait of Zoe from Dreamfall, with drawn stars in background and "the Dreamer" written on bottom. (Default)
From: [personal profile] autumnus
in terms of chappie, I wasn't as surprised with the trailer as I thought I would be, after the initial shock. I think the first trailer was intentionally strictly from the point of view of... well one side. And this one is purposefully (in first half) biased, and bent toward the other side. So I think we still don't see the general sense of the movie here. (possibly that will be for the 3rd trailer if there is one?)

Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2015 03:19 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I went to see JA because of the gushing on Tumblr from friends of a friend. Fortunately I had seen the film before I saw this, which has spoilers:

One of the bureaucrats was played by Terry Gilliam. Advocate Bob was played by Samuel Barnett, which I found more exciting than some people might have.

Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2015 03:01 pm (UTC)
rysmiel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rysmiel
For something being described as id-tastic power fantasy for young women, I was surprised at quite how much "let's stop now for shooting at each other, punching each other and blowing stuff up" it had in directions I am used to thinking of as aimed at boys.

Also I am really fed up of the trope of discovering one has access to all sorts of stuff in a bigger universe than one thought only to find that staying home is a key component of true emotional satisfaction; that seems to me to often resonate of denying agency, and this example was on the edge of that for me.

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