Variety‘s Brent Lang posted a lulu of an analysis piece earlier this afternoon. It basically said Lana and Andy Wachowski‘s Jupiter Ascending tanked this weekend because it was too original. What? It’s basically a rehash of a hundred…okay, dozens of other adventure tales about a young nobody (Jim Hawkins, Luke Skywalker…whomever) who discovers a special destiny when he/she is plucked from obscurity and embraced by eccentric good guys and thrown into a dangerous high-stakes adventure involving kings and knaves and tyrants. I was literally feeling nauseous from the rubber-stamp sameness of Jupiter Ascending within minutes. Characters with wolf and deer ears, awful dialogue, over-acting, Mila Kunis screaming and falling, floating celestial super-cities, super-evil baddies with effete-dandy gestures, loop-dee-loop air-bike chases around Chicago in which good and bad guys fire thousands of rounds at each other and Channing Tatum takes only one wound in the gut…? This is a movie that screams familiarity at every turn but Lang believes Jupiter paid the price for not being familiar enough. One of us is on mescaline and I don’t even drink wine.
“Originality is a virtue in most creative pursuits, but in Hollywood, it will always be less appealing to studio bosses than more of the same,” he’s written. And then that great sage, Rentrak’s Paul Dergarabedian, goes out on the same limb by agreeing with Lang, saying that “audiences are kind of reticent to take a chance on something they don’t know or understand…they marketed the heck out of this movie, and it was still tough to bring people through the door.” Jupiter Ascending is the same old horseshit and audiences “don’t know or understand” it? Lang says it’s bad for audiences and, ultimately, the movie business when originality fails. And that’s quite true, but it was a very, very good thing that Jupiter Ascending failed. It’s actually kind of wonderful, in fact. It filled me with hope and pride, even. Sometimes Joe and Jane Popcorn can smell a stinker from a mile away, and this was one such occasion. God bless the United States of America and the republic for which it stands — one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.