Let’s get some things out of the way:
1) Jupiter Ascending is bad movie.
2) its a really bad movie that fails at storytelling on a so many levels it would take all day to list them.
3) Eddie Redmayne is 45% of the reason this movie is great.
4) Eddie Redmayne got an oscar and a knighthood after this movie came out. Let that sink in.
5) Jupiter Ascending is fantistic and wonderful and terrible and great and is making my top 10 list for this year.
Now that we’ve established the above as totally true facts, a short story. Back in 2012 I attended the Shared Worlds writing camp where soon to be published author Aimee Hyndman gave a speech for the camp talent show about some experiences teen writers, and just writers in general, have as they grow and learn to write. One of the parts of the speech that has really stuck with me were Aimee’s comments about how writers almost always start out as “fan fic” writers to some degree, as even if we weren’t setting pen to paper, we most defently were in the backyard playing out such scenarios as Voldemort being killed with a lightsaber, Harry Potter meeting the Doctor, or just simply filling in the bits that the very media we consumed didn’t fill in; creating our own stories and characters within a larger universe, and sometimes even creating whole new ones, inevitably inspired by the ones we loved. We did all this, in the small, self centered world of youth, free of concepts such as “quality” and “subtlety”. Keep this in mind.
So with all that said, let me state, for the record, proudly and unequivocally the following:
Jupiter Ascending speaks to me.
Yes, this pretentious, long, repetitious, clumsily put together, horribly acted, train wreck of a movie speaks to me. The laugable names, the overly detailed world, the constant exposition, the large and complex character backstories, the just pure, massive outlandishness, I know it all. Indeed, I understand it and prehaps most importantly, I know who created it all. I know the Wachowskis who made Jupiter Ascending because Jupiter Ascending is the movie that would have been created if you haned 14 year old me two hundred million dollars and told me to make a movie. And trust me, there’s tons of creators who would have done the same thing. Oh the specifics would have changed, but the goofy names, the crazy backstories, the absurd ideas, the politics so unsubtle propagandists would ask you to take it down a notch, the visuals paying constant homage to the many inspirations (or ripping off, if you’re not so kind) all packed into an overly dense narrative that’s super impressed with itself; all that would still be there. Sure a good chuck of this is because, honestly 14 year olds tend to not make the best writers, and sure the Wachowskis should have known better considering they make stories for a living. However, much in the way 8 year old you needed Pacific Rim, 14 year old you needs Jupiter Ascending. Is it good? No. Is the acting aweful? Yes. Does it fail at story telling? In many ways. Was it a massive failure? Totally. Does it make any sense? Not really. But there’s not another film that exists that so prefectly captures the fan fic creating, reference laden, pretentious, nerdy, political, and creative mind that was me, and I’m sure many others, when I first started being aware of stories and the art of storytelling. In a world inundated with and obsessed with nostalgia, its the original bomb that makes me most nostalgic, while also reminding me just how far I’ve come.