Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is the daughter of an unassuming immigrant couple captivated by the mystery of the universe. She also believes that there’s more to the dazzling nighttime display of dancing stars than meets the eye. The real truth is not only far beyond her wildest imagination but also her own solar system, and it’s about to reveal itself in the most dramatic fashion.
Across the universe, Jupiter’s alien relatives are out to track her down for their own nefarious purposes. One has tasked Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a gene-spliced warrior (part man, part wolf), with returning her safely to their home planet. He uses the time to explain as much as possible before they arrive back into a world that Jupiter can’t possibly understand.
This mythical sci-fi fairy tale is an original story from The Wachowskis (The Matrix series and Cloud Atlas). It’s an exercise in excess that seems designed only to find out just how much sensory overload an audience can endure. If you’ve ever wanted to know what “too much” feels like, this is your perfect opportunity.
Even the list of films it seems to borrow from is daunting — The Terminator, The Wizard of Oz, The Matrix, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Flash Gordon. The story and action are classic, fantastical comic book fodder. The visuals start off in spectacular fashion but soon wear out their welcome. The CGI effects follow suit with incredible scenes that ultimately lose their fascination. If there’s any visual element that isn’t overdone, it’s the 3D treatment, which is the only way to see this film. The audio feels like someone turned the volume up to 100 before finally just ratcheting the knob past all possible resistance into the ear-vaporizing zone. Much of the dialogue gets lost in a cacophony of competing noise.
The overindulgent effects suddenly seem essential when compared with the poorly conceived and highly contrived plot. For starters, there’s the laughable nature of every single earthbound scene. Russian immigrants have never been portrayed so carelessly. Then there’s the extremely awkward romantic subplot between Jupiter and Caine. Her entire world has been literally turned upside down. She’s lost, trapped and in continual danger. Would her first rational thought really be to think of her libido?
More than anything else, I came away with a single thought about what I’d just experienced. The Wachowskis have just created the perfect torture device for Amish criminals.