Complete A-Z list

Jupiter Ascending (3D) (DQ)


Stars: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Christina Cole, Nicholas A Newman, Ramon Tikaram, Ariyon Bakare, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Frog Stone, David Ajala, Doona Bae, Bryony Hannah

Director: The Wachowskis

The Wachowskis' spectacular space oddity cost $175million and every cent of it is up there on the screen. Gigantic sets, stunning, dazzling effects and visual wonders assail us at every turn.

But, oh! if only they'd spent a million of their massive budget on the script.

'Technically speaking, I'm an alien,' Jupiter Jones (Kunis) introduces herself (of Russian-American parentage, she was born on a ship) at the start of the story - but all too soon she finds herself whisked off to an advanced alien civilisation, where's she's anything but at home.

Turns out she's a galactic queen whose domain is the Earth, but there are factions on the new world who intend to see that she never sees her home planet again.

It's the bees who give the queenly game away, just after she's rescued from extinction at the hands of nasty relatives of Gollum by jet-booted hunter Caine (Tatum at his most taciturn): the insects surround her but don't sting. 'Bees,' she's told, 'are genetically designed to recognise royalty.' Ah, that'll be it then.

She falls heavily for Caine, goatee beard, eyeliner and all, even though he informs her his own genetic makeup renders him more dog than man. 'I love dogs,' she replies. 'I've always loved dogs.' Down boy.

Once on Planet Weird, she mets the treacherous Boracic (sorry, Abrasax) brothers, the evil Balem (a whispering Redmayne) and his smarmy brother Titus (Booth), both of whom want to dispose of Jupiter and grab Earth for themselves so that they can continue to 'harvest' stuff from the people there and prolong their own lives.

At least, I think that's the core of the plot, but your guess may well be as good as mine.

As each character proves more eccentric than the last, Tatum acts with his pecs and Kunis with her gigantic false eyelashes, though she does do the green-screen action stuff with gusto. You can't help but admire the technical achievements here, even if the action whizzes by at such a pace you can scarcely keep up.

Even such wizardry tends to pall before the end, however, in the face of such juvenile, not to mention old-hat sci-fi plotting that you almost expect Ming the Merciless to be behind it all.

David Quinlan

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour.
127 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 05 Feb 2015