The best way to sum-up the latest sci-fi misfire from the makers of The Matrix is that it ‘isn’t as bad as many had feared’, writes Gavin Miller.
Despite a popular cast that includes hearth-throb Channing Tatum, Ted and Family Guy’s Mila Kunis, the always amiable Sean Bean, and The Theory of Everything’s Golden Globe – and now BAFTA – winning Eddie Redmayne.
But it’s far from awful, particularly inspired by the Wachowskis’ visually stunning universe – which makes great use of the planet Jupiter, especially in 3D – and a few nice action set-pieces.
The elaborate story isn’t quite as messy as expected, but its confusing and perplexing plot stream will still leave some scratching their heads .
Ascending tells the tale of Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), who just happens to have the same genetic DNA as the universe’s ruling Abrasax family in the outer reaches of the cosmos – which in a nutshell means she’s in line to own ‘Earth’.
But head-sibling Balem, played by Redmayne’s softly-spooken but darkly-brooding villain, wants her out of the picture, and has sent his minions to take her out.
Enter Tatum’s genetically-engineered ex-military hunter Caine – spliced together from human and wolf DNA – to protect her from danger.
And for the most part this just about remains watchable throughout – without ever offering anything new – but the cast (bar the stand-out Redmayne) never look like they’re doing anything more than going through the motions, and this fantasy action-adventure never gets close to igniting.
There’s a few nice ideas thrown into this kind of The Fifth Element-esque world, but the special effects alone can’t save this from being a wasted opportunity that ends up being surprisingly uninspirational fare.
Sadly Jupiter descends more than it ascends.