”Ready or not, Jupiter Ascending is being released, and it’s hardly the first time a studio has given reluctant birth to a theatrical feature that, in a rational universe, would never have been put in production, let alone seen the light of day. Heaping derision on such a woeful debut may be tantamount to shooting fossils in a tar pit. Yet this lumbering industrial enterprise, which was written and directed by the Wachowski siblings, Andy and Lana, is bad enough to be granted landmark status. Jupiter Ascending, in humdrum 3-D, may not be the last of its kind, but in the history of Hollywood’s decline it’s a monument to the decades-long folly of depending on grandiose visual effects to carry the day in the absence of coherent storytelling and simple humanity.” — from Joe Morgenstern‘s Wall Street Journal review.
“In a movie riddled with unintentional humor, Eddie Redmayne spurs the most uproarious laughs,” writes The Washington Post‘s Stephanie Merry. “With the exception of a goofy conversation featuring Sean Bean (‘Bees are genetically designed to recognize royalty,’ he explains with utter conviction), nearly all the awkward tittering comes at the expense of Redmayne’s portrayal of Balem Abrasax.
“You can see what the role is supposed to be. This super-scary bad guy ‘harvests’ planets, killing humans so he can stay forever youthful. A character like that should be quietly sinister and eerily emotion-free — so sedate that when he does unleash a torrent of rage, it sends shivers down your spine. Not a chance. Redmayne speaks in a throaty whisper, fighting hard to make his voice as deep as he can, and the result is often unintelligible. And he’s so slight, so boyish, that he never comes across as intimidating at all. When he grabs the heroine Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) by the throat, you wonder why she doesn’t just flick him in the forehead. That should be enough to knock him over.
“And then there’s the screeching. To show Balem’s penchant for rage spirals, Redmayne raises his voice to epic soprano levels when reaming out his otherworldly lackeys. If he’s capable of inflicting damage, it’s to eardrums alone.”