Jupiter Ascending Review Round-Up - Even the Positive Reviews are Damning
After a troubled route to release, Warner Bros.' sci-fi epic, Jupiter Ascending, finally hits theaters this weekend hoping its stellar cast and stunning visuals can bring in enough box office revenue to offset its hefty budget. Directed by The Matrix's Lana and Andy Wachowski, Jupiter Ascending stars Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne and Sean Bean in a tale featuring a battle of good and evil on a galactic scale. It has all the hallmarks of a steady box office earner with franchise potential, but as you're about to find out, the noises coming out of Jupiter Ascending screenings are far less positive.
Here's a round-up of what critics are saying about The Wachowski's latest venture.
The vast majority of critics spent most of their time expressing a kind of resigned disappointment in the whole affair:
"It feels a bit like one of George Lucas's stodgy Star Wars prequels, except that here some of the actors perform with the kinky swagger of glam rockers." - BBC
"It shifts from shambles to fiasco"
"Jupiter Ascending is one of the worst movie's you will see all year" - Business Insider
"...the Wachowskis really should have spent that extra six months on development, focusing on the script rather than the visuals." - Variety
Despite many irksome details, Wired's Angry Nerd was most made the most irate by yet another movie that suggests that only people fated to do great things can become heroes.
"...anyone hoping for the old Matrix magic to rematerialize (it's been 15 years) is due for more disappointment." - Hollywood Reporter
Boy are we a bit thin on the ground in this category. While Jupiter Ascending does have a few fans in the critics circle, even they are forced to point out the movie's glaring flaws.
"The movie's a fascinating mess, grand and gaudy, often hilarious" - The Village Voice
"Let's not call Jupiter Ascending "so bad it's good," because that's a reductive cliché. But have you ever seen a movie so consistently, compellingly ill-conceived that it made you feel better about some of the poor decisions you've made in your own life? That's what Jupiter Ascending is. Going to law school is going to seem like it was a great plan compared to someone making Jupiter Ascending." - UPROXX - FilmDrunk
"It's insufficiently silly if anything, and as it wears on it starts to make a kind of sense and even cook. The long stretch where it was barely watchable becomes a distant memory." - Metro
So what does this all mean for Jupiter Ascending, Warner Bros. and The Wachowskis? Well, for the movie things aren't looking good. Box-Office forecasters are predicting that Jupiter Ascending will be easily defeated by this weekend's other big release, The SpongeBob Movie. Jupiter Ascending is looking on track to bring in around $19 million on its opening week, a total that will leave the movie heavily reliant on foreign box-office if it is to recoup its hefty budget, which is thought to sit somewhere just shy of $175 million. Yes people, we could be looking at the first big sci-fi flop of the year.
As for Warner Bros., they will, of course, live to fight another day. They are, after all, one of the biggest studios in the world and it would take something like the global damnation of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to really hurt them. For Warner Bros., relief could be in sight with the May release of Mad Max: Fury Road, which is looking like being one of the most exciting movies of the Summer, and Magic Mike XXL, which will no doubt bring crowds flocking back for more Channing Tatum.
So, what of the Wachowskis? Many decreed that after their downright awful punt at Cloud Atlas, the Wachowski's next movie was going to have to be a smash hit if they wanted to continue scoring big budgets. But does a Jupiter Ascending flop really spell the end for Lana and Andy? While it may not be as critical as that, things are certainly about to get tougher for the pair, who many believe have been dining out on their one true hit, The Matrix.
Up next for the Wachowski's is Sense8, which follows a group of people who develop telepathic powers and are hunted down by the authorities. The show will air on Netflix later this year, and if Lana and Andy can't score a hit even with the backing of an all-powerful streaming giant, it could be a while before we see them secure a healthy production budget again.
Jupiter Ascending opens officially on Friday 6th February, but as usual, previews start tonight.