Friday, 27 February 2015

The Matrix + The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy = Jupiter Ascending

I'm not ashamed to say I enjoyed watching Jupiter Ascending, but I'm not proud either. Discussing why it was fun but it wasn't such a great movie, I had this conversation:

Me: I liked it but it wasn't great.
Be: Yes, but not all pictures are artsy-fancy like The Pianist.
Me: I'm not comparing it to The Pianist, I'm comparing it to The Matrix.
Be: Fair enough.

And I wouldn't go as far as with the case of Avatar, in which case the movie was blatantly unoriginal (just a remake of Pocahontas in Space, but that's another story). They didn't just went and made The Matrix in space, but the Wachowskis did recycle a lot, and with all the fancy dresses and shiny lights, many people didn't notice.

But there is also another movie from which they took a few elements, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in case you don't remember it was a sci-fi film from 2005 (kind of The Guardians of the Galaxy of this year, at least to me: unexpected, funny and different).

So, now I want to talk about the elements they took from each... Besides this point, there will be spoilers...

From The Matrix

The Chosen One: Both start working meaningless jobs in the big city, in The Matrix is Neo, in Jupiter Ascending it's Jup. Points on originality for her background story, which I'm sure would make a great Regina Spektor song (Russian immigrant with a thing for telescopes that becomes the queen of Earth).

The edgy love interest: Trinity is all cool in black letter, and Caine Wise is all cool in black leather. They are attractive ass kickers that break the news to "The Chosen One" and then fall in love with them.

The validator: Call her Oracle or honeybee-man Stinger. Once "The Chosen One" is brought to them, they proceed to give their seal of approval and validate them as the real thing. Both live in a modest house and look ordinary, but they are so much more...

The human harvesting: What's with the Wachowskis and this? Machine or Royalty, in both cases, this was the key for their system to work efficiently.

The peasant-hating villain: Both Agent Smith and Balem Abrasax have a disdain for common people (well, disdain is an understatement), they could easily be talking about some type of annoying but profitable crop, like gluten free oats. And they both get to make a speech about it before proceeding to the final fight.

From  Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
They didn't take as much as from The Matrix, but still both movies share a few details that really reminded me of that film.

The abrupt end of the world: Even though it doesn't actually happens in Jupiter Ascending, in both movies life on Earth is about to go off. And in both cases is for the benefit of a more advanced crew (in Hitchhikers it was to make way for an hyperspace bypass, whatever that might be).

The Space bureaucracy: Not even in a galaxy far far away you can have a document stamped without having to deal with this slow, bitter, jaded administrative staff. They will make you queue and queue and tell you you got the wrong form. But if you want something important done, you'll have to go through this. In both films.

Colorful Sci-Fi: Not all sci-fi has to be darkness and neon green and binary code raining from computers. In this vibe Jupiter is closer to Hitchhiker, from the boring looking offices to the fantasy landscapes and the shots at glossy planets floating in the wide space.

Again, as I said, I'm not saying there wasn't anything original, but I agree with the people that called the film a big, bold, beautiful mess; it was like trying to eat a pancake with an ice cream scoop on top with chocolate dipped bacon as topping, and a strawberry milkshake to accompany it.
Sounds horrible? Not completely.
Could you sit and eat it non stop for 127 minutes? With difficulty.
Would you enjoy it? Perhaps, but you won't feel proud about it.

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