Jupiter Ascending (2015)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 24-Jun-2015

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Featurette-Jupiter Jones: Destiny is Within Us (6:39)
Featurette-Jupiter Ascending: Genetically Spliced (9:59)
Trailer-x 3 for other Roadshow releases
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 122:21
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Andy Wachowski
Lana Wachowski
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Channing Tatum
Mila Kunis
Eddie Redmayne
Douglas Booth
Tuppence Middleton
Sean Bean


Case ?
RPI ? Music Michael Giacchino


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) came as an immigrant to the USA as a baby with her Russian mother and now, as an adult, she lives in Chicago with her extended family, working long hours as a cleaner with her mother and aunt. Her world is close knit, and her life one of drudgery. But there is a much larger world out there than Jupiter, or anyone on Earth, can imagine. For Earth is only one planet, albeit an important one, in a huge inter-galaxy empire in which the various planets are owned principally by members the House of Abrasax, traders who “harvest” the inhabitants of the planets they own rather like cattle. Currently the three siblings of the House of Abrasax are Balem (Eddie Redmayne), who currently owns Earth, the playboy Titus (Douglas Booth) and their sister Kalique (Tuppence Middleton). But it just so happens that Jupiter is a “recurrence” of the siblings’ dead mother and that she may be the rightful owner of the Earth.

     Each of the children of the House of Abrasax is interested in gaining control of Jupiter, or at least making sure she does not stay alive long enough to discover who she is and claim her inheritance. Balem sends a hit squad to kill Jupiter, but she is saved by Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a wolf / human hybrid soldier who has been sent by Titus to get her. However, before they can leave Earth Caine and Jupiter are attacked and seek shelter with Stinger Apini (Sean Bean), Caine’s old military commander. Stinger, as well as the others hunting Jupiter, have different agendas and after a great deal of double-crossing Jupiter ends up being taken to meet Kalique, where Jupiter’s royal antecedents are confirmed. But as twists, lies and double dealing pile up around Jupiter, can Caine rescue the woman he has come to love before her life becomes forfeit to the machinations of the siblings of the House of Abrasax?

     Jupiter Ascending is written and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski; the film cost $US176 M and it is fair to say that the audience and critical response to the film has been lukewarm at best. Many were critical that Jupiter Ascending is not The Matrix, which it certainly isn’t, but The Matrix (at least the first one) was so inventive and ground-breaking, and made such a huge and unexpected impact, that it is unfair to compare pretty much any recent sci-fi film with it. Most of the films of the Wachowskis are full of ambition, invention and ideas; they don’t always work so with big ideas and big expectations come big disappointments. Their previous film Cloud Atlas (2012) I reviewed on this site. That film divided critics but was an audacious, complex film with enough ideas to fill an encyclopaedia and I thought it was a brilliant, spellbinding experience. Jupiter Ascending is a different type of film, for while Cloud Atlas was complex, adult sci-fi, Jupiter Ascending is comic book fantasy action sci-fi, a fairy story for the “me” generation; simple, very loud and spectacularly colourful. It is no surprise that in the extra features the Wachowskis cite Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz as among their influences. To which they could probably add Star Wars, the works of Machiavelli and any book on Imperial Rome!

     So while the machinations, lies and double dealing of some of the characters in Jupiter Ascending add some mystery to the story, Jupiter Ascending is really a very simple good vs evil tale and there is absolutely no surprises about where it is heading, or where it will end. But the ride along the way is quite breathtaking with some of the most beautiful and spectacular images I have seen on the screen for a long time. There are space craft silhouetted against red and blue planets, fantastic costumes, massive palaces and sets and cities in the sky that could have come from Star Wars, only darker! The various hybrid creatures, using both make-up and CGI, are inventive and the action sequences, with wire-work, stunts and CGI are frantic, loud and colourful, and the destruction which ends the film in a blaze of noise, fireballs and explosions is right up there with climax of Aliens. The actors don’t fare as well; Mila Kunis is no Sigourney Weaver, Channing Tatum is his usual wooden self, Eddie Redmayne may have won an Oscar for The Theory of Everything but it is hard to see just what he is trying to do with the villainous Balem, alternating between hoarse whispers and yelling. It should be noted, for those who take stock of such things, that Sean Bean does not get killed in Jupiter Ascending.

     Jupiter Ascending is popcorn entertainment, very expensive popcorn entertainment, but if you reduce your expectations and don’t expect The Matrix and just marvel at the spectacular images and frantic action you can have a good time.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Jupiter Ascending is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, the original theatrical ratio being 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This film is stunning on DVD so I can only imagine how breathtaking it would be on 3D Blu-ray! Jupiter Ascending has a 3D Blu-ray release but even the 2D DVD has such wonderful depth and detail that sometimes feels 3D!! Colours are manipulated: they look anything but natural, but that is the intention with vibrant reds, blues and yellows that leap off the screen. A number of sequences occur in the dark and shadow, interspersed with flashes of bright colour such as explosions but the print handles it perfectly. I saw no colour bleed, blacks were solid and shadow detail fantastic. Skin tones are natural, contrast and brightness is consistent.

     There was motion blur in one sequence against the green of a cornfield, but otherwise artefacts and marks were absent.

    English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available in a largish white font. Smaller English subtitles appear automatically to translate Russian dialogue.

     The layer chance at 63:07 resulted in a slight pause in the middle of a scene.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 at the unusual 384 Kbps and there is an English descriptive audio using a male voice with the same specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 at 384 Kbps.

     Most of the dialogue was clear although sometimes the actors mumbled while in action sequences it could be muffled. The sound stage was very loud and aggressive and included numerous panning effects; the rears and surrounds are used constantly for the music, laser shots, flying attack craft, space ships, fire, explosions and wholesale destruction. The subwoofer added bass and rumble to spaceship engines, massive hybrid feet, explosions and the crash of destruction.

    Lip synchronisation is fine.

    The original score by Michael Giacchino, who won an Oscar for Up (2009), is thunderous, swelling, choral and, generally, epic. It nicely augments the colourful visuals.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     A couple of EPK type featurettes.

Jupiter Jones: Destiny is Within Us (6:39)

     About the character of Jupiter. On-set footage, art work and story boards, film footage and comments by the Wachowskis and cast members Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Tuppence Middleton and Eddie Redmayne.

Jupiter Ascending: Genetically Spliced (9:59)

     Jupiter Ascending features “splices”, genetically modified hybrids, such as humans mixed with, for example, a wolf, bee, snake or owl, designed for specific jobs. The footage showing character designs, makeup and CGI effects is quite interesting. Added comments from a number of the cast, the makeup and hair designer, costume designer, VFX supervisor and the stunt / fight coordinator.

Trailers

     Trailers for Big Eyes (2:22), The Duff (2:27) and While We’re Young (2:23) play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our Australian Region 4 DVD contains the same two extras as the US Region 1 DVD. Both the Region A US and Region B Australian Blu-rays add an extra 5 EPK featurettes. A draw.

Summary

     Jupiter Ascending is certainly not The Matrix, but it is a spectacular comic book fantasy sci-fi adventure that features frenetic action sequences, more hybrid inter-galactic creatures than Star Wars, a loud, enveloping audio and some of the most beautiful, colourful and spectacular images I have seen on the screen in a long, long time. Don’t think too much about the script and the acting, just grab the popcorn and marvel at the visuals.

     Top of the range video and audio for DVD; the Blu-ray should be awesome!! The extras are minor.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, June 29, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE