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Nonesuch

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  1. Nonesuch

    EPISODE 112 — Jupiter Ascending

    There's so much chillness and mutual respect on this forum that I almost feel suspicious...
  2. Nonesuch

    EPISODE 112 — Jupiter Ascending

    Hehe, rest assured that my goal is now to see your newfound respect for JA transition into mild enjoyment . I didn't consciously ignore your point about the telescope (I was just focusing on the broader argument), but I don't feel the father's actions reflect badly on him. The situation was completely unexpected and alarming, and everyone - including the robbers and the father - was panicking. We can presume that the father, who loved the stars intensely and watched them at every opportunity, was deeply attached to his telescope and was horrified by the thought of losing it - he reaches out for it and begs that it be left in panic, presumably without thinking straight or truly registering the danger. It's not as if he was consciously choosing to die - he was grasping for an object that had deep meaning and significance for him, and his final expression is of dazed shock. It's very different from Padme losing the will to live, because that line implies a lack of desire to carry on living on Padme's part despite her just having had two children - that's far more bizarre and head-scratching than a panicked man reaching for a beloved object in a moment of crisis and paying the ultimate price for it.
  3. Nonesuch

    EPISODE 112 — Jupiter Ascending

    Hehe, I LOVE that. I'm totally adopting that as my personal headcanon. I actually love that the impetus for creating human/animal splices in JA appears to be "because we could" - Stinger, the resident bee splice, flat out says that he was created because his splicer "loved bees". It actually makes sense in light of the world created, since there is lots of potential for boredom when you live for thousands of years. Creating and/or purchasing exotic and weird hybrids is just another way of passing the time.
  4. Nonesuch

    EPISODE 112 — Jupiter Ascending

    The illegal alien thing is very contrived and heavy handed, and it's one of the elements of the film I probably would have cut/toned down if I'd been involved in making the thing. The intent is easy to understand - they wanted to establish that Jupiter is adrift (very literally when she was born), isolated and on the fringes of society, with no real place in the universe - it's just that it makes for a very convoluted back story that raises more questions than the film could possibly answer in a five-minute prelude. Jupiter's parents didn't look especially rich (I don't know what kind of wages university professors from Russia would be on at that time, so would welcome a more informed perspective) to me - they shared a small flat in St Petersburg - and my personal theory is that Max was perhaps estranged from his family and that Aleksa didn't get on with them/had no real relationship with them. Aleksa therefore left Russia to live with her brother in Chicago because there was a support system in place there (her brother has his own business and his own house) and the move to America represented a fresh start away from the danger/sadness presumably associated with St Petersburg. But that is just conjecture - you do need to 'fill in the blanks' a lot with JA, and some of it is rather difficult to rationalise (the prologue especially so). This is another aspect of the film that's difficult to rationalise. Personally, I like to think that the bees were genetically engineered to specifically identify individuals with DNA identifying them as members of the Abrasax family, rather than 'royals' full stop. Earth was 'seeded' by Abrasax Industries so the Abrasax family are basically the originators of all life on the planet. Why they would genetically engineer bees to recognise them, I have no idea - it's one of those things I just go with (I'm quite easygoing when I'm enjoying myself). I accept that the film leaves out a lot of explanation/questioning because there simply wasn't time for it. As we've discussed elsewhere the film is very jarringly edited in places, and there are certain scenes where it's obvious that crucial footage is missing (so you have a scene where Balem slaps Jupiter and seizes her face, the film cuts to Caine and Stinger and cuts back to Balem and Jupiter, who are now both separate and very, very tense as if something serious just went down). So I think this problem is caused by a.) the viewer being left to assume that certain discussions/explanations have taken place off screen and b.) significant parts of the film being cut out for murky (and potentially studio related) reasons. Also, I found this. It's so cute that someone thought it would be a good idea to market their no-budget Thor rip-off Jupiter Ascending style:
  5. Nonesuch

    EPISODE 112 — Jupiter Ascending

    It's a creative conceit of a film that also features dragon men and flying space cathedrals - Jupiter Ascending doesn't profess to be a documentary and is more sci-fantasy than sci-fi. No one should use a film like this as a source of science fact, just as they shouldn't use something like Star Wars as an accurate representation of space. She's an illegal alien and is presumably very careful about giving out her real name and address (especially to a shady fertility clinic). Therefore she used her friend's name as a false name. It's a pretty generic wedding ceremony with no explicit reference to Christian beliefs of customs. I don't see how it's problematic. That confirmed Jupiter as the recurrence of mama Abrasax, securing her legal position and her ownership of Earth. Before she was confirmed as a recurrence Balem could have killed her and kept the Earth without problems and Titus would have gained nothing from marrying her. After the bees swarm around Jupiter, Stinger kneels and says "your Majesty" - it then cuts to Jupiter looking confused and bewildered before the kitchen scene. I can only presume that they tell Jupiter that she's a royal recurrence in the scene before the kitchen scene, but I do agree that it's bizarre to cut something like that. And Jupiter is endlessly asking questions and demonstrating curiosity and bewilderment at her situation - she's always trying to learn what's going on but doesn't even know where to begin. She studied the 'entitled code' because she had it with her and hoped to find some kind of stipulation which might have been of use to her, which she did.
  6. Nonesuch

    EPISODE 112 — Jupiter Ascending

    Well, with the plot I like the episodic nature of it. I love fairy-tales and the structure of Jupiter Ascending draws upon the classic 'rule of three' with Jupiter meeting each of the three siblings one by one. I also liked going on a journey with Jupiter and learning more and more about the world, gradually appreciating the characters' motives and histories and how they inform the present situation - it's a big part of why I find rewatching the film immensely rewarding, since knowing that Balem killed his mother and chooses to believe that she asked him to do it (for example) made rewatching his scenes very interesting and even revelatory. I obviously appreciated the characters to different degrees. My favourites were Jupiter and the Abrasax siblings. I liked Jupiter because she was goofy and deeply uncomfortable with her new status, and I found her very human and empathetic; I also admired her courage, and liked that she was shown to be a flawed hero - so she doesn't automatically refuse to go along with Balem, wavering when she sees her mother in danger. I found the Abrasax siblings interesting because they all had such different approaches, motives and relationships with Jupiter, who is both their dead mother and a potential threat/opportunity. I was intrigued by their interactions and what they revealed about their relationships with their actual mother. I also found all of the performances by the siblings' actors good - Tuppence Middleton (Kalique) was excellent at playing serene indifference to genocide, Douglas Booth (Titus) was fun as an irresponsible playboy with a devil-may-care attitude and Eddie Redmayne (Balem) was superbly deranged as an insane and histrionic 50,000-year-old man. And things were going so well!
  7. Nonesuch

    EPISODE 112 — Jupiter Ascending

    You're right in that there is something of a disconnect at work. I love film and place great value on plot and character (I found virtues in the plot and characters of Jupiter Ascending, btw). While my appreciation of JA's visuals is only an aspect of my enjoyment of the film, I'm not going to deny it's a big aspect - I'm a very visual person and I love silent films, so I have a very deep appreciation for film on a purely aesthetic level. The designs and environments of Jupiter Ascending are ornate, baroque and excessive, and its visuals couldn't be more different from those of Star Wars - I prefer the visuals of JA because they appeal to my personal tastes and preferences, but I completely understand why you prefer the visuals of Star Wars. Our appreciation of the visuals of both films is, however, entirely subjective and based on our tastes and our personal relationships with them. I used visual effects as an objective measure of quality because it goes without saying that the effects of something like JA are technically superior to the effects of Star Wars - it's hard to dispute that since it's like comparing a brand new Mac to a 1984 Macintosh computer. There's no competition. Technical superiority, however, does not necessarily mean 'better' - I personally pay little attention to how sophisticated a film's effects are, only caring if they work in context and fit the picture. So I still find the special effects of Fritz Lang's Metropolis astonishing and awe-inspiring despite their being nearly 90 years old. Technical ingenuity can only do so much, which is why I was thrilled by the artistic flair and imagination on display in Jupiter Ascending while being left entirely cold by the no-less sophisticated effects of something like Jurassic World (not a bad film per se, just a mundane one with no distinct visual identity). Oh, I certainly don't think JA will ever come close to SW in terms of cultural influence. The point I was trying to make is simply that I don't feel JA is doomed to end up in the dustbin of cinematic history. I may be proven wrong, but we'll have to wait and see. I obviously can't speak for the 2nd opinion guy, but I had the impression he meant 'operating in the same sphere as Star Wars' - I didn't think he was saying JA matched Star Wars in terms of overall quality, since that would be almost impossible to argue convincingly - I think he just meant they were in the same ball-park in terms of their aspirations and scope. A film's having aspiration and scope do not necessarily mean it has quality, of course, but they do mean it has ambition. Star Wars and JA are both very ambitious films in their own ways and contexts, which is why they deserve to be part of the same discussion. Thank you so much! I've been really impressed by how polite and respectful everyone on these boards has been. I appreciate that I'm something of an anomaly in genuinely enjoying this movie and doggedly defending it, and I've been super impressed by how willing to engage in intelligent dialogue and discussion you've all been. All too often I've encountered people who are solely interested in airing their own dislike/hatred of the film, rejecting any views that go against the prevailing narrative, and while there's nothing heinous about that (what is the internet if not a place for airing opinions?) I think it's super cool when people with contrasting stances can be grown up and have intelligent discussions about the topic in question. I'm really glad that you respect the movie for what it attempted even while you can't really say you enjoy it. I'll definitely try and stick around .
  8. Nonesuch

    EPISODE 112 — Jupiter Ascending

    Excellent points. I find it unfortunate when actors come out with comments like this, especially when the film in question was the product of genuine creative endeavour and passion as opposed to some kind of studio mandate. Channing read the script and had in-depth discussions with the Wachowskis about the film and his character, so he should have known precisely what he was getting himself in for. However, I should point out that Channing may well mean that the movie he saw was not the movie he filmed/read the script for (which is essentially what bit part actor Oleg Nasobin said in his comments). He's saying the movie bewildered him rather than actively bad-mouthing it. It also underlines the unfortunate habit Hollywood actors have of turning on a project once it’s a certified box office bomb and critical disaster. While you will often see actors defend critically well regarded but financially underperforming films they featured in, it’s rare to see actors defend films they starred in that essentially failed on both levels. It’s easy to understand why this is - it’s basically a defensive move, a way of distancing yourself from a project marked by failure to avoid being tainted by that failure yourself. Still, Caine/Channing were by far the least interesting elements of JA to me anyway, so I don't really care if he's dismissing the film like this. Channing didn't do a bad job at all, I just found Caine rather bland and uninteresting (he's a 13-year-old girl's first OC love interest, and such characters don't do much for me).
  9. Nonesuch

    EPISODE 112 — Jupiter Ascending

    Well, to view the films on an 'objective' level Jupiter Ascending would win over Star Wars when it comes to pure visual spectacle - it wouldn't be a competition because the technology we have now is far beyond anything special effects artists could dream of in 1977. I'd say that Jupiter Ascending is at least a match for Star Wars on the levels of its visual presentation and world-building, and I can construct a credible argument defending that stance. It is certainly not a match for Star Wars when it comes to character building and plot construction, but Jupiter Ascending's structural flaws and tonal inconsistencies don't make it the cinematic atrocity it's often made it out to be. They instead mean it's flawed and occasionally head-scratching; however, these issues do not preclude it from having merit and being enjoyable. And most of the measures you refer to are concerned with a film's impact over an extended period of time. While it's safe to say that JA isn't going to be anywhere near as influential/significant as Star Wars was (I don't think any single film has been more influential), none of us know how it's going to be perceived 40 years down the line. Labyrinth was a box office flop and had rather scathing reviews, yet it's now deemed a classic fantasy adventure film and has new viewers coming to it all the time. Examples like that (and now highly regarded movies such as Blade Runner and Metropolis, which were poorly received upon their initial releases) demonstrate why it's dangerous to use things such as box office and critical reception as gauges of quality and/or merit. It's entirely possible to defend Jupiter Ascending and be credible. I'm not saying it's as good as Star Wars, but I am saying that it's not ludicrous to mention both films in the same sentence since they both have a similar sense of scope and visual spectacle.
  10. Nonesuch

    EPISODE 112 — Jupiter Ascending

    I would imagine he meant that it had a similar scope to Star Wars, which is absolutely true - you visit a number of planets and go on a crazy space adventure in both films, so they are on the same level in that sense. And they were respectful since we all have different opinions/perceptions of things. That's a good thing and ought to be encouraged - the world would be a very boring place if we all saw everything in the same way.
  11. Nonesuch

    EPISODE 112 — Jupiter Ascending

    I don't think the film's problem is a lack of nuance - if anything, it's a lack of clarity. Certain elements of the film - such as the character motivations and the siblings' relationships with their mother - are very nuanced, and you only really notice them if you're a.) conscious of them to begin with and b.) paying close attention. It's very small things like the way Titus and Kalique both make subtlety disparaging comments about their mother in their scene together ("now you sound like Mother" and "her fetish for wrinkles"), and the way Balem's body language and expressions don't even remotely match up with what he's saying in his first scene with Jupiter. All of these things inform the bigger picture, but they're very small and easily missed or dismissed as arbitrary and meaningless. My feeling is that the film either needed to scale back its ambitions (remove a sibling, for example) and be shorter or be around 30 minutes to an hour longer. The film is very choppily edited and reeks of panicky studio notes - my impression is that the money ran out and the Wachowskis were told they had to keep the film at two hours or less, which is why the final film feels insanely rushed and compressed. I absolutely understand if people don't share my response to/feelings about the film - my only bug bear is when people say the film is shallow and/or lacking in depth and ambition. I can totally see why people might think the film's attempts at depth and complexity failed because it wasn't clear enough about its intentions and didn't really come together for them, but it annoys me when people say they're absent altogether (which you're not doing, by the way - I just bring it up as it's a claim I've come across with great frequency in relation to JA).
  12. Nonesuch

    EPISODE 112 — Jupiter Ascending

    That inability to 'kill your darlings' is probably the central problem with the Wachowskis. I find them quite extraordinary filmmakers and really admire their boundless creativity - you can tell that they literally have endless ideas and ample enthusiasm for realising them. At the same time, you're correct in that the most well constructed and successful films are very disciplined and tight - that's why The Matrix was successful while Jupiter Ascending was not. The Matrix was super disciplined and highly linear and easy to follow, whereas Jupiter Ascending is none of those things. However, since I tend to really enjoy films with odd and non-traditional structures, I didn't mind Jupiter Ascending's lack of discipline and enjoyed the relentless eccentricity of it. I don't normally like to label films as 'girl's' or 'boy's' movies either, and what I meant by my comments is that Jupiter Ascending is very explicitly about a young woman's experience of a bizarre sci-fantasy world - there are very few sci-fi films that do that, especially space operas. Perhaps most importantly (to me), Jupiter is never sexualised and her choices and feelings are always respected and presented as important and meaningful. That's why Caine is a good guy and the Abrasax sibs are evil - Caine is all about giving Jupiter choice and control (which is why he gives her his gun at the beginning and explains how to use it), while the Abrasax sibs are all about denying Jupiter choice and control (which is why they all attempt to make her fit into their very particular plans). The points you make are very insightful, and they highlight why so many people have dismissed Jupiter as a weak and passive protagonist. While she does get rescued a lot, that's nothing to do with her female-ness - it's to do with her status as an untrained, ignorant human who has a very limited knowledge base and almost no useful skills to draw upon. Of course she needs help to survive, and I don't think that makes her useless or stupid - it just makes her realistic and human. Every Wachowski film (and, indeed, their TV show Sense8) is ultimately about the power of choice. In Jupiter Ascending, Jupiter is heroic because she ultimately chooses to sacrifice her family and herself in order to save the Earth - without her consent, Balem can't touch the Earth and Jupiter's choice thus means the whole planet is safe. That's a deeply courageous choice and it's a choice that any one of us could make - Jupiter doesn't need magical powers or combat skills to be powerful since her power comes from her empathy and conviction. I found that very refreshing and resonant.
  13. Nonesuch

    EPISODE 112 — Jupiter Ascending

    I think appreciating the full quote in context helps. It plays out like this: JUPITER: How can one person own the earth? KALIQUE: [Laughs] It's just a planet, Jupiter. In this world, people own things far more valuable. You cannot know right now what it will be like when you're offered wealth beyond your imagining. When you can choose to remain young and beautiful, or when you can have the power to change the lives of your family for the better. And all you have to do is close your eyes. Basically, this is a 14,004-year-old woman finding amusement in what must be to her a supremely childish and naive question from a young woman who knows virtually nothing of value. These people prize their own happiness, vanity and pleasure above everything else, perceiving their assets (i.e. planets) as a means to an end rather than things of value in and of themselves. Ultimately, Jupiter Ascending is about a family squabble that is actually rather petty in the greater scheme of things (as far as they're concerned). In the early scene with the three siblings, they're all playing with each other - it's why Kalique rubs Titus's face in the fact that Earth is worth more than all of his planets combined, and it's why Balem gleefully mocks Titus's money problems. They're playing the game of planets but not taking it particularly seriously, since they're all thousands of years old and are long past taking anything seriously (except for Balem, who takes certain things very seriously indeed). And therein lies a key problem I think people have with the film. I've seen many people accuse it of having pretensions of scope and grandeur that it doesn't meet, and I think that accusation can be traced back to the central conflict being very small-scale in relation to the grand universe we're introduced to. At the same time, however, I think that's the whole point - it's not a movie about Jupiter changing the universe, it's about the universe - and her newly discovered knowledge of her place in it - changing Jupiter. Jupiter follows the same trajectory as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz or Sarah from Labyrinth in that her adventures cause her to return home with a renewed appreciation for her life - it's a very small story of internal development told on a ludicrously large and elaborate canvas, and I think that's thrown people off and left them confused as to what the hell it is they're looking at.
  14. Nonesuch

    EPISODE 112 — Jupiter Ascending

    Abrasax/Abraxas are terms associated with Gnosticism. Jupiter Ascending can be read as a Gnostic parable (I won't go into how here since it would take too long, but it can), which is hardly surprising since the Wachowskis are big on Gnosticism (most famously incorporating Gnostic concepts into The Matrix). I'm not familiar with the film/graphic novel you mention, but imagine they also took the term from Gnosticism - so it's most likely a case of their all sharing a common source of inspiration.
  15. Nonesuch

    EPISODE 112 — Jupiter Ascending

    While fully accepting that it's flawed, I love Jupiter Ascending (sincerely, not ironically) and will happily explain why. To begin, I saw the movie four times in cinemas. I was baffled by it after my first viewing and immediately wanted to see it again in order to understand what the hell I'd just watched; however, everything began to cohere with subsequent viewings and I found it increasingly admirable and fascinating. I love that a totally goofy film with space rollerblades and magical royalty-sensing bees also has serious commentary on capitalism, genetics and identity. I love that it’s entirely unashamed about what it is, revelling openly in its absurdity without once winking at the audience. I love that it plays out as the unabashed melodrama it is, taking your tried and trusted ‘lost princess’ story (the user who name-checked Anastasia earlier in the thread was dead right), firing it into your space and throwing in intense emotional and psychological baggage for the fun of it. To be clear, I had absolutely no part in the production of the film – I certainly didn't write it (i.e. I am not Andy or Lana Wachowski), though I have got parts of the script (which means I understand certain elements of the backstory and character motives better). I have obviously thought about the film in depth and I can probably manage a reasonably logical answer to any question about the film you could throw at me. JA requires a lot of patience and creative engagement to enjoy fully, and while no film should ask that of viewers I've found going back to JA immensely very rewarding. I generally watch it with a big grin on my face. Most importantly (to me, anyway), Jupiter Ascending is ridiculously ambitious - it's baroque, eccentric and all over the place, and these all are traits that endear it to me. It reminded me a lot of my favourite fantasy flicks, especially Labyrinth - it's glittery, over-the-top, memorably acted (whatever anyone says about Eddie Redmayne, they shouldn't be able to deny that he was memorable) and tonally inconsistent. It's also unashamedly a movie for girls and young women, which I (being female) appreciate. I actually found it a real shame that all of the commentators on the podcast were guys, since a film like JA is really begging for a female perspective. Having said that, I did appreciate the defence of the film at the end - while brief it's nice that the dissenting opinion was aired. Perhaps the best way to put it is this: JA is the butchered theatrical version of an epic 1980s space opera anime that never existed, so it's a sprawling twelve-hour story compressed into a two-hour straitjacket. It's bursting at the seams and while I absolutely understand why it failed to connect with the majority it totally worked for me. I love it to pieces, flaws and all, and wish more films would shoot for the stars like JA did.
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