Welcome to another meeting of the Super Opinionated Power Club!
I just came back from the IMAX 3D theater where I paid the sort of prices I pay for nail polish to see JUPITER ASCENDING while wearing gambling glasses. We have to talk about this immediately.
First of all, let me disabuse you of the notion that I’ve read any actual professional reviews of the movie -- I saw the Rotten Tomato score, that was enough. (The last time I checked it was around 22%.) I live a great deal of my pop culture life in a carefully-chosen, highly insulated bubble...if I was fancier I would call it “curated”. I don’t watch TV in its first season, I listen to my friends when they tell me I wouldn’t like something, and I only bother to seek something out once I’ve heard it come up a few times from different people whose judgment I trust about media.
So I’m aware that there’s a noisy part of the crowd who really doesn’t like this movie, and that crowd also happens to have written the rules for most of history about what films get an A or five stars or awards or whatever (convenient!)...but much like BEYONCE not getting Album of the Year, sometimes the art is still great and the systems designed to recognize it just announce their own irrelevance and failure via their own attempted performance of valuing said art. Aaaaand that’s pretty much what’s going on here with JUPITER ASCENDING.
Folks, this movie is better than STAR WARS. I’m not even joking. I’ve seen loving Tumblr reviews saying “well it’s garbage, but it’s YOUR garbage”...but it’s not garbage. Or, if it’s garbage, then so is just about every sci-fi film I have ever sat through, including the ones everyone has been insisting are “great” for decades. Is it escapist and bombastic? Yuuuup. I again point you to STAR WARS tho. No, but like really, try and rationalize “dude in a cape and big helmet” with the John Williams theme. Mel Brooks already made an entire movie making fun of how over the top that movie is. A lot of sci-fi is kind of crap, and that does not prevent it from being fantastic, and we’re clearly not calling most of those things a bit crap anymore (which I’m totally okay with), so then by those rules JUPITER ASCENDING is a *solid gold dancer*.
I hope they make three films about Jupiter Jones. I hope they make *six* and I get to stand around and passionately debate whether the latter three were better or worse than the first three (f i n a l l y). I hope sci-fi fandom loves and memorizes and immortalizes the names of all of the secondary and tertiary characters for the next several decades -- characters who are fantastic, and interesting, and by the way not a whole host of white dudes. I hope girls and boys grow up acting out fight scenes on playgrounds from this movie. I hope “I’m not your damn mother” becomes a new shibboleth at cons and parties like the incredibly tired “Luke, I am your father” because finally, there is a huge operatic science fiction film that is not insulting to me at several turns, and is in fact delightful at many points. (If you have ever read one of those sweeping AU fanfics that clocked in at over a hundred thousand words and wished someone would make it a movie...my friend, your time has arrived.)
The aesthetic of the film is so perfectly in line with where I am right now, and where certain parts of fashion are right now generally, it’s ridiculous. If you’ve seen the Valentino and Elie Saab pre-fall and fall collections for this year, to name but two, then you need to see this movie for the costuming alone, because it is Ultimate Space Princess. Jupiter also has some really excellent Health Goth going on for part of the movie, and all of the royals have their own looks that are just...you have to go stare.
The fight choreo is the one part that lost me a little, because CGI fighting turns into goo in my brain and I can never figure out where anything is or what’s going on after a while. (Relatedly: everyone give yourselves the gift of seeing JOHN WICK if you haven’t already, it’s the only antidote to that, best American action film in aaaaages, everyone’s using hands, knives, guns, and cars, and they’re all normal-sized versions not Weird Zany Super Guns or anything, it was such a relief.) However, *even the silly made up space fights got cool*, at one point this giant space battle had little tiny ships falling out of a giant ship like organized rectangular snowflakes, shimmering in space, and the fight shrapnel looked like glitter and flame, and the mess didn’t even feel like it had to make sense or communicate narrative information, it just was there to be beautiful.
I was going to maybe see 50 SHADES OF INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE next week because sometimes I like train wrecks and can’t help myself, but I may go see JUPITER ASCENDING again because I had so much fun. I really encourage everyone to do the same.
And that is What Is Up With Me this week, basically...the subtext of the entire letter being “holy fucking shit I left my house *at all* where is my goddamn medal” because Boston right now.
[...] of the Week
Animated gif: It’s a classic for a reason
Fanfic pairing: Erica Reyes of Teen Wolf and Donna Meagle of Parks & Rec in Space (JUST TRY AND TELL ME YOU WOULD NOT READ THAT)
Made me cry: Over the weekend I saw Anita Sarkeesian receive the Harvard Humanist of the Year award and give a truly incredible speech. I don’t believe it’s online yet, but if the text or recording becomes available, hoo boy.
Quote: “Sleep heavily and know that I am here with you. The past is gone, and cannot harm you anymore. And while the future is fast coming for you, it always flinches first, and settles in as the gentle present. This now, this us, we can cope with that. We can do this together you and I.” -- Cecil Baldwin, Welcome to Night Vale