Oh Jupiter Ascending….if I could describe this movie in one word it would be potential. This movie had the potential to be so incredibly awesome. Think about it: in a world where reboots, remakes, sequels and franchises are the norm in Hollywood, it’s very rare to find a film with a wholly original concept.
And the concept sounds great on paper: the galaxy is ruled by a group of alien royal dynasties, who harvest the life forces of evolved planets in order to remain perpetually young themselves. An ordinary human girl, Jupiter Jones, finds out that due to her genetic makeup, she is actually the heiress to the planet Earth. However, the alien Balem, one of the sons of the previous owner of the planet, wants Earth for himself, as Earth is meant to be harvested next.Jupiter finds herself plunged into interstellar intrigue with the fate of planet Earth at stake.
It sounds really good, it SHOULD have been really good, and yet….despite amazing visuals and a gorgeous score from Michael Giacchino (more on that in a minute), this film fell FLAT and I mean really flat!!! Portions of the dialogue were cringe-worthy, and the performance of several actors was criticized as wooden, flat and generally not as good as it could have been. In other words, Jupiter Ascending launched into theaters and then was quietly never heard of again.
One of the few bright spots in this film was the score, written as I said by Michael Giacchino. In this interview that I discovered, Giacchino explained that when the Wachowskis approached him about scoring this film, they actually asked him to write the music BEFORE the film had been shot, so they could edit the film around the music. This is rarely seen in the world of film music, as normal practice is to make the film first and THEN create the musical score. In effect then, the Wachowski’s were asking Michael Giacchino to create a “symphony” for Jupiter Ascending that would then be edited into a proper film score.
While I can’t necessarily recommend the film itself, I do recommend checking out the soundtrack to this film (see the link above) and take a few moments to enjoy the music that Giacchino worked so hard to create. It always hurts when a great score is attached to a less-than-stellar film. But, such are the risks of being a film composer. Enjoy the interview
(I apologize for the background noise, it sounds like they filmed in a restaurant)
If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of Michael Giacchino, see here
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*film poster is the property of Warner Bros. Pictures