Many people who saw “Jupiter Ascending” when it came out in theaters in 2015 assumed the science fiction fantasy was based on a book. It seemed like it must have been based on a book, but actually, books based on the movie only came out after the movie. “Jupiter Ascending” didn’t get very good critical reviews but it was a box office hit. Who would complain about watching Channing Tatum ride in space boots with his shirt off, fighting off flying space dragons?
Here is why “Jupiter Ascending” would have been a bigger hit if it were based on a book.
What did inspire “Jupiter Ascending”?
“Jupiter Ascending” was released in 2015. The movie was written, directed and produced by Andy and Lana Wachowski. The pair were also responsible for hits including “The Matrix” and “V is for Vendetta”. The Wachowskis sort of based the movie on a book. They have said they were inspired by “The Odyssey” by Homer and “The Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum when writing the movie’s screenplay. The movie doesn’t really claim to be anything more than it is, however, a space opera. It’s filled with action but short on plot.
About the movie
Mila Kunis stars as Jupiter Jones, a Russian immigrant working in America as a maid. Jupiter is attacked by an alien but saved by Caine Wise (Channing Tatum). It turns out that Wise is an soldier from outer space. He was genetically engineered and must protect Jupiter. Apparently Wise once had wings but they were cut off as punishment for him biting someone. He still has some pretty tough strength. Wise must save Jupiter because she is the generation’s chosen one. She has interplanetary royal blood and must claim her royal title of princess. The problem is that another royal family does not want Jupiter to claim the throne. There is a lot of action as Caine prevents Balem Abrasa from preventing Jupiter from taking the throne at any cost. Balem is played by Eddie Redmayne who won the Razzy for Worst Supporting Actor. Ironically, Redmayne won the Oscar that year for his portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything“. Fans of Redmayne won’t complain. He was only playing the part in “Jupiter Ascending” as it was written. The movie also stars Sean Bean as Stinger, a cocky Han Solo like character. Lots of action ensues as Caine Wise gets Jupiter Jones to her her rightful place on the universe’s throne.
Why “Jupiter Ascending” should have been based on a book
Usually fans complain that the movie is never as good as the book. The casting is never right. The movie doesn’t have enough time to get into details that the books hold which pulls the plot together. However, in the case of “Jupiter Ascending”, moviegoers would have benefited from reading the book first. A book would have helped moviegoers know the back story of the film. A book would also have provided character development and missing pieces that the movie seemed to leave out in favor of action scenes. For example, when Stinger, an ex Legion soldier is about to explain the origins of the universe but gives up when the projector doesn’t work. We also never learn who Jupiter’s father is. This seems to be an important piece of the puzzle although her uncle and cousin were involved in her claim to the throne. In the end, “Jupiter Ascending” is big on action and special effects with a thin plot. The movie doesn’t claim to be anything other than a space opera.