Improbable Phrases

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Jupiter Ascending

You guys. I went to see Jupiter Ascending, because I strongly believe in rewarding intricate, wide and expansive space operas with money. If people like you and me go see them, then the powers of Hollywood will see fit to make more of them. Right? Right.

The problem was that I sort of lovehated it. The graphics were beyond exquisite. Some of the spaceships were in the shape of fishes! The skies and the space stations were also done up in full, gorgeous CGI glory. The costumes were lovely, imaginative and highly detailed. The earrings on Kalique? The best ever. I’d be friends with her just for the jewelry tips. The women were strong, they did the right thing, and their bodies were respected. It had the right balance of technobabble and stuff I could understand.

It was the plot that bothered me. There were these wonderful moments, where you get just a glimpse of some sweet and glorious concept, but only for brief seconds. It had what I will call a rose petal problem. Imagine a flowergirl at a wedding. She has a basket full of vibrant, soft, red petals. And she tosses them out of her basket in small bunches here and there and then walks away from them. This is the plot of Jupiter Ascending. All throughout the movie, somewhat compelling minor characters, fascinating ideas, and single sparkling lines floated in the air for mere breaths before they dropped to the floor of the center aisle. Look! Here’s a girl who’s sick! Why? Who cares! Look at this minor character pilot a police ship! No wait! Look over here instead! There are bees!

It was interesting. I am not saying it wasn’t. I’m just saying that it didn’t always commit to telling you the story. Oftentimes it just wanted to drop the next red petal. Look how pretty it is! I don’t disagree on the beauty, just on the execution of it. Show me lovely things that are in service of the story and I will happily watch them. Show me lovely things solely because they are lovely and it will only take 30 minutes for me to get jaded and cynical. Within 30 minutes, I’ve got your number. You’re only going to show me that until you find something else to show me. And I’m going to be briefly disappointed, but mostly just uncertain which parts of the story I need to remember and which are simply more petals.

Had the story been cohesive, I would have died for this movie. Had all of those petals been gathered up into a rose by the end of the film, I would recommend it wholeheartedly. But it didn’t. It had beauty to spare, but no idea how to streamline it into one story that really resonated. Jupiter Ascending was so frustratingly close to what I wanted, but it never really got there.

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