Jupiter Ascending, from Andy and Lana Wachowski, has moments of incredible technical brilliance, flashes of good character comedy, and some wild leaps of imagination. It also features more than a few things that left us wondering what the hell was going on with the Wachowskis. Some of these elements (not many, but some) were things we liked. Still, the effect of having them all mashed together was to produce a sensation of being numbed and at times bewildered. And yet we can’t stop thinking about many of them, and we imagine you can’t either. So we’ve had fun exploring thirteen of the biggest Jupiter Ascending WTF moments in the film.
Full spoilers for Jupiter Ascending are ahead, so be warned.
The Wachowskis assembled a great multi-cultural cast for this film, including the very talented Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bae Doona, and David Ajala. But Gugu Mbatha-Raw has almost nothing to do except stand around in animal ears, holding a clipboard. And despite the cast, the film’s human/alien royal structure is entirely white, and the film basically wastes the performances from Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Bae Doona. I assume the idea is to make a point about power structures, but it doesn’t fly. Just look at that image above; she’s pissed about it, too.
I almost like the scene with the bees. It’s a bit strange, and rather majestic in its own way. But there’s really no relationship between “royalty” amongst insects and anything in the human or human-isn alien kingdoms. The concept of royalty for bees is just a convenient way to talk about bees’ social structure, but a bee doesn’t know a royal or a queen from a corpse. Why bees and not termites, or ants, or any other insect with a hierarchical social structure? This movie is crazy enough already, so seeing Jupiter controlling giant mounds of termites wouldn’t be any weirder than anything else.
Parts of Jupiter Ascending seem like a commercial for Star Wars figures right out of my ten-year old dreams. This guy, who I believe is referred to as ‘Nesh, makes a few appearances, commanding our imaginations in much the same way similar fifth-tier players did in Star Wars. (That’s ‘Nesh as in Ganesh, the Hindu god who is a patron of arts and sciences, and a remover of obstacles… to my heart.) Somewhere there’s a creature canteen where this guy drinks with Nien Nunb, Admiral Akbar, and a couple rubber monsters from the original Star Trek. ( Runner-up for best creature is split between the dragon-like military enforcer, who is straight out of the first D&D Monster Manual, and the owl-faced guy.) Image via Business Insider.
We’re not confused about why this is in the film, we’re just upset that we don’t have this yet in real life. Note: image above is not of zero-g sex. And the family-oriented site Parents Preview merely points out that there’s “some sort of unspecified sexual activity is implied between a man and a group of women,” so maybe we’re just imagining it.
Instant Damage Rebuilding
The first big chase scene through the skyline of Chicago is thrilling and expertly executed… and it results in massive collateral damage in the city. This seems like a prime opportunity for the Watchowskis to put an intelligent spin on the topic of conversation that has come up after the release of many tentpole films over the past couple years. Instead, the damage is all magically fixed within hours… which raises a question. If protecting the human investment on Earth calls for the deployment of such technology after a big sky battle, why not after actual Earth disasters? Why didn’t they save a few extra humans after Katrina, or the 2004 tsunami? Why didn’t the Wachowskis actually engage with this concept instead of writing in a silly side-step? (Image above from Man of Steel, because obviously.)