“I’m Caine, here to help you,” says Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), extra-terrestrial tracer-of-lost-persons. He’s talking to Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), whom he rescued from nasty and unattractive ET’s. “Where am I?’ she says. “Still in Chicago,” he says. Or — I might add — “What’s left of it,” his aerial battle with the nasties having destroyed much of Chicago’s best architecture.
Who is Caine? Why is he searching for Jupiter? What do the nasties want? Who are the other aliens and what’s with their wacky hair-do’s and English accents? Important questions? See “Jupiter Ascending.” If not, don’t.
Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis are attractive as Caine Wise and Jupiter Jones. He, a genetically-engineered, pointy-eared, for-hire hunter with wolf DNA, is tracking her. She, a one-time Chicago hotel house-keeper, now heir to a space empire, is discovering her destiny. “You are royalty now, but I have more in common with a dog than I have with you,” he says, acknowledging their mutual attraction and considerable social distance. “When other people call me ‘Your majesty,’ I feel uncomfortable,” she says. “When you do, it’s okay.” She’s come a long way from cleaning toilets at the Whitehall.
Others in the cast include Sean Bean as Stinger Apini, seasoned mentor to Caine — and also a “splice” — who says, when Jupiter is in yet another tight spot, “You’re a hunter! Get down there, Caine, and find her!” Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth and Tuppence Middleton play beautifully preserved, 14,000 year-old feuding Abrasax siblings — Balem, Titus and Kalique — each plotting to seize the intergalactic empire and its wealth, once controlled by their now deceased mother. One of them must ensnare Jupiter first. A wicked bunch, they keep in shape and dress really well. “Each of us has a code for our optimum physical condition,” Kalique tells Jupiter. Spa visits are unnecessary. As Balem, Redmayne sounds like Brando in “The Godfather,” with an English accent and a much better vocabulary.
“Jupiter Ascending” is a silly movie. While its art direction and special effects are pretty to look at, they offer little we haven’t seen before. “The Matrix” siblings, Lana and Andy Wachowski, wrote and directed this $175 million mind-numbing epic, noisy and foolish, filled with references to far better films — “Star Wars,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Star Trek” and, according to the Wachowski’s, “The Wizard of Oz.” Toward the end, Jupiter does say, like Dorothy, “I just want to go home.” By that time, I was ready, too.
Rated R for violence, sci-fi action, suggestive content, and partial nudity, JA runs 127 minutes and feels interminable. Avoid this one.
Is high on my list
Of mind-numbing epics
I wish I had missed.