Monday, February 16, 2015

Kingsman Ascending

by CaulynDarr

I saw Kingsman this weekend and Jupiter Ascending the weekend before.  Both movies actually had a pretty similar core story(1%'ers suck). One was spectacular; the other passable. See my thoughts after the break.

Jupiter Ascending

We'll start with the less impressive movie.  Well, OK, some things about the movie were pretty cool.  You don't see space opera movies with this particular ascetic much these days:

Ohh, purty
If there was a cool piece of Sci-fi art, that you ever wondered why they don't make a move that looks like that; well, this is that movie.  The action is pretty good too.  Cool space ship dogfights, laser guns, jet boots, and particle effects are not in short supply.  Also space dragons.

Freaking space dragons!
There's some 40K-ish elements to the setting, and a cool funny bit in the middle that ends with a Terry Gilliam cameo.  

Unfortunately, the story isn't all that great.  It's serviceable, but it feels like there was plot for three movies shoved into one, and none of it gets explored to a sufficient degree.  Humans civilization is billions of years old and started on another planet. The nobility seeds life throughout the galaxy because they need to harvest human genes to create the Spice Melange( seriously, it's sparkly blue and makes you live forever).  Pretty much Dune meets Soylent Green.  It's actually one of the better usages of the ancient astronauts plot lines(it's got like 30% fewer plot holes than average).

The elite of the universe also have a quasi-religious devotion to genes, so when a human is born with the exact same DNA(with billions of people on billions of worlds not completely unreasonable) it's a big freaking deal.  They essentially get to inherit that persons wealth and title.  Mila Kunis gets born with the exact genes of the late matriarch of the wealthiest family in the galaxy--who just happens to own the Earth.  Of course her three kids are still around and plot ensues.

Jupiter(Kunis) gets carried though the story without stopping to really dwell on anything.  The whole "killing uncountable innocent people to keep the rich eternally young thing" doesn't really get called out in the end.  And it feels that not exploring why Jupiter gets born on a planet that the three siblings are currently squabbling over and is explicitly deeded to her never gets explored.  It's hinted that maybe the late Queen was trying to bring down the whole harvesting people based economy.  It would have been cool if the whole plot was a Batman Gambit put in motion by her 3000 years ago or something.  Unfortunately the movie is so busy that it doesn't get to entertain such notions.

The movie is very much watchable.  I think it's Rotten Tomatoes score is taking a 20-30% penalty for being a genre film.  That, or the critics are still punishing the Wachowskis for the Matrix sequels.  I just think it could have been much better.  I could defiantly see it becoming a cult sci-fi film like the Fifth Element where we come to appreciate it for what it is 5 or so years down the line.


This movie was very surprising.  Like, "Why the hell is this movie getting dumped into a February release slot?", surprising.    The movie is a Hot Fuzz style parody.  They break down the spy genre pretty mercilessly in the first two acts, just to re-build it in a "we still love you" kind of way in the finale.

The action is slick, the pacing is great, the performances are killer. Samuel Jackson is a bond villain.  Seriously, why has it taken this long for Jackson to be cast as a Bond villain?  His character is genre savvy as all hell, and persuasive too.  I mean, I might join his cause if he asked me.  He makes a very convincing argument if you aren't self-aware enough to see thought the hypocrisy of it all.  So I can totally see all the people that join up with him doing so in real life.

His plot of doom is a way to save the world from ecological collapse.  Unfortunately, it's pretty much a sucky plan if you are one of the plebs.  Somehow all the captains of industry and political leaders that steered us into the whole mess get a free pass.  Thanks Obama!(relevant).

I know I just talked less about the movie I liked than the movie I didn't like so much.  There's a lot I can talk about with this movie, but I want to avoid spoiling it for you.  Just trust me, it's awesome, go see it.


  1. Jupiter sounds a lot like what I figured it would be from the trailer. I lot more interesting to look at than to listen to the dialog. :)

    My problem with the W 'siblings' is that they're only really good when they're stealing/adapting other people's stories (Matrix 1, VfV).

    You've made me want to see Kingsmen though. I didn't know anything about it before.

    1. Just be warned. It's surprisingly violent. It starts out looking like it will be full of the sanitized violence that's typical of PG-13 movies these days. Then people's heads start asploiding. It's rated R and not ashamed of it.

  2. Ok, just saw Kingsman tonight. Wow! Just perfect. Especially the church fight and the asploiding. The latter had me laughing my ass off.


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