Jupiter Ascending review: Lost in space

Genre: Sci-fi; Starring: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne; Director: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski; Release Date Wide: 02/06/2015; Runtime (in minutes): 127; MPAA Rating: PG-13; Distributor: Warner Bros.

Mila Kunis plays a young woman with the great comic book name Jupiter Jones, who leads an ordinary life cleaning toilets in Chicago. That’s until a band of evil homunculus aliens attempt to murder her while she’s in gynecologist stirrups. In bursts Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), an intergalactic wolfman in hover-boots, pointy ears, and a blond goatee. “I have more in common with a dog than with you,” he says after rescuing her. Kunis is an actress most capable of spouting off a joke and doesn’t skip a beat before exclaiming, “I love dogs!”

That line is one of a few in the Wachowskis’ latest misfire (made for a gargantuan $175 million and delayed since last summer) that receive a big, non-condescending laugh from the audience. At two hours and seven minutes, Jupiter Ascending is actually the directors’ shortest movie since their 1996 debut, the imaginative crime noir Bound, and more than any of their work in between (three Matrix movies, Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas), it edges towards that film’s saucy, self-aware tone. But Jupiter Ascending’s early cleverness dries up quickly, especially when Kunis is offscreen, leaving us with just another incoherent sci-fi spectacle.

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