'Jupiter Ascending': What are critics saying about the movie starring Mila Kunis?

So far reviews have been mostly negative, with even critics who admired the visuals admitting that the story is at times difficult to follow.

Warner Bros. Pictures/AP
'Jupiter Ascending' stars Channing Tatum (l.) and Mila Kunis (r.).

Reviews for the newest effort by “The Matrix” directors Andy and Lana Wachowski have so far been mixed to negative.

“Jupiter,” which centers on Earth resident Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) who discovers she’s actually royalty, was originally scheduled to hit theaters this past summer but was pushed to February. (It’s in theaters now.) Lana Wachowski told the Associated Press that the glut of sequels and established franchise films being released during the summer months made the studio behind “Jupiter” decide to move the film. “The summer is built around familiarity," she said. “Many cultural critics who shape awareness for films are obsessed with sequels and derivative material. They wildly crave it. That kind of environment is hostile to originality. It only makes space for derivative material and rejects originality. I think Warner Bros. was uncomfortable with that environment.” 

In addition to “The Matrix,” the Wachowskis were also behind the 2008 movie “Speed Racer” and 2012’s “Cloud Atlas.”

Our own movie critic Peter Rainer gave “Jupiter,” which co-stars “22 Jump Street” actor Channing Tatum as a hunter protecting Jupiter and Eddie Redmayne of “The Theory of Everything” as villain Balem Abrasax, a C grade.

“It’s one of the more nutty futuristic escapades I’ve ever seen, although that’s not quite the same thing as saying I liked it,” Rainer wrote. “I enjoyed this movie more than the last two films from the Wachowskis, the interminable ‘Cloud Atlas’ and ‘Speed Racer.’ On the other hand, ‘The Matrix’ it's not.” 

Reception from other reviewers has been fairly thumbs-down – the film currently holds a score of 41 out of 100 on the review aggregator website Metacritic.

Alonso Duralde of TheWrap was one critic who mostly enjoyed it. 

“There is no ‘the top’ over which The Wachowskis will not go in ‘Jupiter Ascending,’ a sci-fi saga that’s convoluted and silly, yes, but also exciting and enthralling,” Duralde wrote. “Trying to keep up with the plots, counter-plots, deceptions and shifting allegiances will make your head swim, but thankfully ‘Jupiter Ascending’ boils down to good aliens and bad aliens, with no shortage of adrenaline-packed set pieces and intergalactic scenery that looks like it belongs on the side of a van. (And I mention both of these facets as selling points.)… who cares if the story is occasionally impenetrable or if some gags land with a thud when the thrills and the eye candy keep coming at such a breathless pace?” 

Manohla Dargis of the New York Times also found the visuals dazzling but the story somewhat incomprehensible. 

“It seduces the eye with filigreed flourishes even as the mind reels from some of the mildewy storytelling,” Dargis wrote of the film. “[The Wachowskis] are good at making entire worlds, but, whether distracted by the big stuff or bored by the putatively small, they have a tough time making a conversation between two people come alive.”

However, Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times found the whole movie incomprehensible. 

“There’s no defending ‘Jupiter Ascending,’” Roeper wrote. “There’s no explaining ‘Jupiter Ascending.’”

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