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hey, how about I post something

So, I was recently reminded that Jupiter Ascending was a thing, and I tried watching it. Well, I did, I watched the whole thing. And I was going to call it a big bucket of nonsense, and leave it at that, but ...

No, it's like nested buckets of nonsense. To the point where you look at it and think, you know, that's almost kind of neat to pull off ... and yet even that very achievement can't transcend the total, thorough nonsense, one bucket inside the next, all the way down to the middle. It's boringly tame nonsense, never once even threatening to break out into the kind of recklessness and liveliness and enjoyment that nonsense can free you up to shoot for. (Although again I must acknowledge that the sheer thoroughness of it is kind of ... not impressive. Remarkable, perhaps? Worthy of remark. As I have duly done.)

It just kind of pinwheels around from one thing to the next like it's trying to keep its feet on ice, grabbing at whatever and whoever it can to keep itself basically upright and moving toward the blessed safety of the climax/ending/rail at the edge of the rink, all the while trying to impress its audience by flailing that I meant to do that! And because it's trying so gosh-darned hard, you kind of just grimmace and nod sympathetically into your *chinhands* and hope politely that it gets to its destination sooner rather than later and we can all go home. There's really not much else to be done when you can work out somewhere in his first scene that they're not going to kill off Sean Bean, just because he's Sean Bean and that's the joke. (Then they winky-wink at it.)

... Now that I've said that, probably the most remarkable thing about it is how it somehow manages to avoid being actually obnoxious. Even that winky moment is earnest and quick and wants to be your friend enough that you just shrug and let it happen. There's some stuff in it that does, briefly, work – Channing Tatum's character's relationship with Sean Bean's being one of them; meanwhile, the "romance" is possibly even more perfunctorily written than Neo and Trininty. But amongst it all, there are just enough occasional flares of ideas that you think maybe, maybe, it'll get its balance and, maybe, even do something. And then, it doesn't.

It is hands-down the most extraordinarily mediocre grandiose space opera you could possibly envision, and at the end you're just kind of looking back over the whole thing going, er ... okay, but ... what? With maybe a side of, oh honey, or a *you tried* gold star if we're feeling generous and/or vindictive. (At the very least, this experience has furnished a definitive answer for whether you can just be "whelmed", and I'm not even in Europe.)

Or maybe I'm broken – maybe Guardians of the Galaxy and the MCU has spoiled me for cranking at this hyper sugar-rush child style of storytelling, as though spending lots of money will somehow allow them to cram more *stuff* into the movie format without drowning, crowding, or trampling out the story ... at some point I might possibly get around to seeing AoU, and then I guess we'll see.

Maybe it's because the Wachowskis do seem to deal in ideas and world-sketching more than story (with The Matrix they hung them off the basic Hero's Journey framework and let it do the story work for them; see also Star Wars: A New Hope), and this time, unlike with GotG, there weren't any scraps of story lines getting chewed up and scattered by the deluge of *stuff* and annoying me at the waste. It was just shimmery idea-froth from beginning to end, nothing more to it. Well, other than Channing Tatum manfully carrying on with his inexplicable, unassailable Charming Potato thing in the face of every indignity and successive bucket of nonsense he's wading through. And, look, Sean Bean's in it and he really does live all the way to the end, so there's the novelty factor. It's almost cheesy enough to occasionally work, and there are some stunning space-fantasy visuals along with Chicago being all sexy-like. So, if those are your things, you could do worse.

But hey. At least I wrote something.

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January 2016
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