Jupiter Ascending

Born under the stars crossing the Atlantic while her mother immigrated to the United States, Jupiter Jones was told she was destined for great things. Unfortunately, it looked like her destiny was to clean toilets as a poor immigrant teenager in Chicago until Caine, a genetically engineered alien, arrives on Earth to save Jupiter from a band of Keepers (alien hit men). It turns out that Jupiter’s genetic markings label her as intergalactic royalty—she’s the reincarnation of the matriarch of the House Abrasax, who was murdered and somehow reborn on Earth. This upsets the balance of intergalactic politics, and Jupiter’s now in mortal danger.

The Wachowskis became household names when their film, The Matrix, burst onto the scene in 1999 and became an instant classic. That’s a film I’ve watched countless times over the years, and I’m still amazed how deep and thought provoking it is. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’ve liked what the Wachowskis have done since, and apart from its terrific visuals and bombastic audio, Jupiter Ascending is damn near unwatchable. The characters are paper-thin, and if the Academy had seen Redmayne’s performance before voting for this year’s Oscars, the award would have gone to anyone but him. It may ruin his chances of ever winning an acting award again—except for a Razzie.

Like the green tint found in The Matrix, this universe is dominated by a blue hue, and the video encode is absolutely gorgeous. Black levels are consistently deep with well-resolved shadows, and the digitally shot production teems with crisp detail, even in scenes blending live-action with CGI backgrounds. The aggressive Dolby Atmos audio (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core) is just as impressive; bass hounds will certainly enjoy the ample LFE throughout the movie. The surround presentation is very active, and overhead effects are put to good use with plenty of ship flyovers and frenetic battles that unfortunately overstay their welcome.

Extras include seven featurettes on the characters, production, visual effects, and some further insight to the complicated story line. There’s also a DVD and UltraViolet Digital Copy.

This movie is so bereft of any personality that I couldn’t care less if the hero lived or died. Its only redeeming qualities are that it looks and sounds spectacular on Blu-ray. This is definitely the low point in the Wachowskis’ career.

Studio: Warner Bros., 2015
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos / TrueHD 7.1
Length: 127 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: The Wachowskis
Starring: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne