A human looking alien introduces an American female, with a suspiciously space-inspired name, to a world beyond her dreams. Am I talking about Earth Girls Are Easy or the Wachowski siblings’ upcoming sci-fi herp-derp, Jupiter Ascending?
At first glance, Jupiter Ascending, seems like a gender reversed version of Stephen Spielberg’s short lived Invasion America. Continued pondering led me to a memory of a truly terrible science fiction movie called Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe. It starred Jesse Ventura and the guy who played “Tank” on Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. Therein, an alien looking human comes to Earth and does…something…with an Earth girl. Truth be told, I didn’t get past Abraxas’ first twenty minutes. The point at hand, I’m not seeing anything particularly original in the first trailer for Jupiter Ascending.
NB: I’m intentionally avoiding the obvious comparisons to Terminator in JA’s “I’m here to help you scene.” If Jupiter Jones doesn’t prove to be as kick-ass as Sarah Connor, then Channing Tatum might as well have rode in on a Disney branded big white horse.
Visually, the trailer is dripping with as much ill-begotten plunder as a Viking freshly returned from a week-long bender of pillage and slaughter. The glowing beam teleporter is such a SF trope that I don’t even know where to begin. The ship hovering above the ground in the same shot bears a resemblance to a Reaper from Mass Effect. Those orbital ring structures, pictured above, are straight out of Tekkaman Blade. The ship docking at trailer’s 1:03 mark seems like recycled fodder from John Carter. Then smash cut to, Queen Amidala flying over a bunch of Necromongers. This is totally living up to Warner Brother’s description of Jupiter Ascending as “an original science fiction epic”
Then there’s the dialogue…
“It can be difficult for people from under-developed worlds to learn that their planet is not the only inhabited planet.”
I’d take this character a little more seriously if his vocabulary wasn’t so limited as to have him repeat the word “planet” in a single sentence. There are at least a dozen better ways to write that dialogue. I did like the use of politically correct language in terms of Earth being an “under developed planet”. It gives me reason to suspect that Jupiter Ascending might offer some social commentary on North America’s and Western Europe’s post-colonial relationship with the rest of the world. Then again, we are dealing with the Wachowskis, and I’m not sure if their sophomoric approach to subtext can rise to such an occasion.
“Your Earth is a very small part of a very large industry.”
I’m not sure if I should feel embarrassed for recognizing that as a close crib of Battlefield Earth. I’m not talking about the movie, either. I’ve actually read the book, cover to cover. Anytime a science fiction story deals with an extra-terrestrial power through the lens of a ultra-capitalist corporate state, I’m going to draw a comparison to L. Ron Hubbard, and I can live with that if it means I get to compare something to a novel so lousy it spawned an equally ridiculous religion.
“Some lives will always matter more than others.”
If only because I recently watched Cloud Atlas, I fear that the above line hints at Jupiter Ascending being some clunky attempt at elucidating on the moral cost of slavery and class based discrimination. Then again, the trailer makes sure to include an obligatory make out between Kunis and Tatum. Following that, the former plunges off a building in the finest tradition of Spider-Man 3. Perhaps I needn’t worry too much about this being a stupid movie attempting to pass itself off as a sci-fi think piece.
Verdict: I’ve seen this movie before. I’ve also played the game and watched the television series. If there’s anything original or interesting to be found in Jupiter Ascending, then I’m not seeing it in this trailer.