Saviors of the universe
The Matrix creators conduct space opera of the campiest order
I’ll have to cop that one of my guiltiest pleasures in decades of movie-going has been Dino De Laurentiis’ 1980 proto-Skittles delirium, Flash Gordon. Yeah, that intergalactic camptacular that the pervy teddy bear movie went on and on about—but for good reason. Rarely has camp been pulled off with such panache. The Queen soundtrack was just icing: “Flash! Whaaa-ahhhh! Savior of the universe!”
And so the Wachowskis’ (of The Matrix, for those who missed Sci-Fi 101) latest WTF-fest, Jupiter Ascending, gets a goose in the old popcorn box just for having strands of Flash Gordon woven into its DNA, albeit with the camp played hetero. Jupiter Ascending has a lot of other movies in its genetic code, but the Wachowskis wrap it all up into a flaming space burrito that is distinctly cooked up from their own long-running cinematic fever dream.
Granted, the popcorn box ain’t totes exploding because, despite all its pleasures, Jupiter “Ass-ending” ain’t a good movie. But it is good fun (if you can lock your logical buzzkill in the closet for a couple of hours), and a distinctly entertaining dose of space-opera balderdash that is much more fun than those Star Wars prequels, which the Wachowskis tweak at one point with an extended bit of spoofing.
It’s eye-candy to the Nth degree, with Mila Kunis as a Cinderella-story hotel maid swept off her toilet-scrubbing knees by some half-wolf space ninja (Channing Tatum) assigned to protect her from interstellar 1-percenters who are bent on killing her so that they can … um … well, it’s complicated, and not good news for the residents of planet Earth. So it’s much easier to just nod along with the Chicago Loop being destroyed (again) and just eat your popcorn already, OK? It’s 2015 and a cognitive narrative is so 20th century.