The liveliest sequence in Jupiter Ascending comes near the middle of the film. We’ve already met Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), a Chicago cleaning lady who everyone is convinced is some kind of intergalactic royalty. She’s being protected by Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a man-wolf hybrid who used to have wings but who now gets around on a pair of boots that allow him to rollerblade through the air. They’ve arrived on an alien planet, and Jupiter—who informs us in a voice-over at the beginning of the film that she is an undocumented Russian immigrant—has to become documented as space royalty. So she and Caine wait in line to receive her official papers. The bored bureaucrat at the end of the line sends her somewhere else because she doesn’t have the proper tax forms. It goes on like this for a while, with Jupiter and Caine being ferried from one line to another by a chipper android that slowly becomes disillusioned with the paperwork process. (Terry Gilliam makes a cameo as an office clerk, in case you didn’t already recognize the Brazil references.) Yes, in a movie packed with spaceship chases, intergalactic battles, a royal space wedding, and an exploding alien city, the part of Jupiter Ascending that feels the most fun and organic is a five-minute scene about the familiar aggravation of dealing with bureaucracy (127 min.).
Director: Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski
Producer: Grant Hill, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, Roberto Malerba, Steven Mnuchin and Bruce Berman
Cast: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Doona Bae, James D'Arcy, Tim Pigott-Smith, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Christina Cole, Nicholas Newman, Ramon Tikaram, Ariyon Bakare, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Frog Stone, David Ajala and Gugu Mbatha-Raw