Jupiter Ascending Is Basically BioWare: The Movie. You Should Totally Go See It!

    Film critics, moviegoers and social media are all in agreement: Jupiter Ascending is a rancid pile of exploding bollocks. We can't remember the last time a sci-fi flick was so brutally and comprehensively eviscerated. (Hell, even After Earth had some fans.) If Jupiter Ascending was a band, it would be Nickelback fronted by Fred Durst. If it was a disease, it would be necrotizing fasciitis (don't Google Image that.) If it was a yoghurt lid, it'd be one of those bastard defective ones that refuse to tear off properly and then cut your tongue when you lick 'em. Or so the snarky Twitterverse would have us believe...

    But y’know what? I’m here to tell you that the entire world has got it wrong. Not only is Jupiter Ascending passably entertaining – Channing Tatum plays a hover-skating dog, for Christ’s sake! – it’s also a perfect distillation of everything that makes BioWare games great. It is Mass Effect for idiots and it's bloody glorious.

    Think about all the disparate elements that make BioWare games so great. There's the roster of nuanced party members, each with their own backstory and personal scores to settle. There are the stunningly realised environments that are slowly teased out over the course of the game. There are the tough intermediary dialogue choices that could spell death and ruin for one side or the other. And of course, there's the combat and romance.

    Jupiter Ascending has all of this junk in spades. If Mass Effect's campaign had been capped at two hours and all the writers suffered brain aneurysms halfway through production, the results would look a lot like this movie. Is it perfect? Hell naw. Is it entertaining and fun? Unequivocally.

    And I'm not even joking about the BioWare stuff. Because it's Friday and I really couldn't be arsed doing actual work, I've decided to break down precisely how Jupiter Ascending is like a sci-fi RPG from those award-winning Canucks. [Warning: Stupidity/spoilers ahead.]


    Meet the implausibly monikered Jupiter Jones. She is the chief driver of this freaky-arse vehicle which essentially makes her the player character/FemShep in Jupiter Ascending's universe. She's also closely modeled after Mila Kunis — like pretty much every female BioWare character I've ever created.

    As with most BioWare heroes, her backstory isn't particularly important: all you need to know is that she's the "chosen one" who must save our planet from destruction. This mainly involves embarking on a bunch of fetch quests and stealth missions while sussing out which NPCs are boneable. Sounding familiar yet?

    Jupiter Ascending boasts plenty of astrophysical space candy for technogeeks to salivate over — just like a certain action RPG I could mention. This baby looks like a cross between a stealth aircraft and a Dune-like ornithopter. In fact, whole swathes of Jupiter Ascending's mythos have been lifted wholesale from Frank Herbert. (There's a Westwood Studios joke in there somewhere but I've given up trying to find it.) Incidentally, how "Mass Effect" is that background? Phwoar, eh?

    Like Mass Effect, the movie depicts a menagerie of sentient alien races; some of which are more successfully realised than others. If this guy appeared in Mass Effect, he'd either be stuck behind a merchants' stall or saddled with a shitty side-quest that 99 per cent of gamers would ignore.

    The film shares BioWare's penchant for lovingly rendered statues dotted about the place. If this really was a game, there'd be a little plaque on that statue which force-feeds the player sixteen paragraphs of tedious lore. I'd stake my genitals on it.

    At around the halfway point, the film gets dragged down by a tediously protracted subplot where Mila has to file some tax papers before she can be crowned queen of Earth. No really. This plays out EXACTLY like a fetch-quest, with Mila and her party running around the landscape chatting to various nobodies and carrying McGuffins to different locations. It's the kind of unnecessary filler that BioWare RPGs are infamous for.

    Intergalactic lurve/Gratuitous lady bits

    Like every Mass Effect player ever, Jupiter opts for a freaky inter-species romance instead of one of the more conventional (read: boring) human options. This guy is a half-man, half-dog "splicer" which probably means he has a retractable sea cucumber-shaped penis. Sadly, we aren't treated to a clunkily rendered love scene like in Mass Effect 3.

    Naturally, there's a handful of other "romanceable" NPCs on the menu. This guy wants to marry the shit out of you: he treats you to a succulent starlit dinner and everything. If I'd been controlling Mila I totally would have jumped his bones and broke doggy-boy's heart. You need to "Captain Kirk" these situations. It's what the game writers want.

    Does anyone remember that scene in the first Mass Effect when the Asari oracle Sha'ira stopped mid-conversation to implausibly take all her clothes off? There's a bit in Jupiter Ascending where a character does exactly the same thing. It's one of the best parts of the movie.

    Know Thy Enemy!

    These guys are called Keepers and they fulfill the same role as Mass Effect's low-level Reaper husks. They are the first foe Jupiter encounters and are pretty easy to dispatch. Also, tell me those identikit faces/poses don't look like a video game!

    This flying bounty hunter is more like a mid-game boss. In classic BioWare style, the party clashes with her several times throughout the course of the movie. Annoyingly, nobody gets to steal her bitchin' see-through hover bike.

    This big ugly mug is basically Saren, but even scalier. Like the rogue Spectre agent, he is initially tolerated by the party despite clearly being a villainous lizard man who wants to kill anything that moves. He's the penultimate baddie who takes a hell of a kicking to beat. If this really was a BioWare game, his whiplash tail attack and tendency to fly away from projectiles would really start to burn your custard. Time to switch to casual mode, methinks.

    End game

    Jupiter Ascending presents its FemShep with three possible game endings: she can save the lives of her family which will condemn Earth to obliteration, she can save the Earth by sacrificing her family, or she can fark all that noise and fight the bad guy with a metal pole. Amusingly, Mila attempts to do all three in quick succession.

    It's like she kept reloading her last save until she found the dialogue option with the most satisfactory outcome. Tch. That's like, the worst way to play BioWare games.

    In conclusion, go and see Jupiter Ascending this weekend: you probably won't regret it much. Just pretend that shit with the bees didn't happen and you should be okay.

    Jupiter Ascending is currently playing in cinemas and on illegal streaming sites around the country.


    I wanna see it because it looks gorgeous. Every now and then I just want pure dumb fun and it looks like this might be it

      It looks amazing, but it has some insanely cheesy dialogue and is basically 2 hours of Channing Tatum roller blading and 30 seconds of Mila Kunis roller blading.

      Looks like the Matrix was a fluke.

        Considering how the 2nd and 3rd ended up, I'd say it was

        They wrote V for Vendetta... so I guess they get partial credits?

          They wrote the screen play for it. Not their own original source material though.

    Isn't there a 4 hour cut of this movie that is actually amazing?

      I think that's Cloud Atlas

        Yeah, it was either that or this, can't remember which. I think you may be right though. I'd like to see it, but probably no chance of it ever being released.

        You speak da true true.

        In honestly wasn't a huge fan of Cloud Atlas, but you can at least commend the sibblibgs for daring to do something different.

        Where do I find this 4 hour cloud atlas?????

          Not available anywhere currently from what I understand, but could come to Netflix.

    I guess that works, if you think of Mass Effect as Star Wars the video games & Star Wars as Foundation the movie.

    That tediously protracted subplot was one of my favourite bits & has the best cameo I have ever seen:

    Terry Gilliam

    Hey! I like Nickelback!

      Please no trolling!!!

        I'm serious.

        Sure some of their radio hits are generic, but they have some decent stuff. I think people just find them an easy target to poke fun of. And that's OK, but don't think you're being unique / anti-commercial / cool /original by down-voting me for liking them.

        At this point its probably more 'original' to actually admit you like them lol. At least I'm honest ;) I can only imagine how many closet Nickelback fans are forced to hide their fandom in shame because of all the Chad Kroeger bashing.

          Just tell me one thing....what the hell is on Joey's head?

      Liking Nickelback now is like being an ABBA fan in the late 80s. Your time will come. Probably.

        I was an ABBA fan in the late 80s. I don't see Nickelback making a comeback in the same way. Though 'How You Remind Me' probably will become a Broadway musical.

    Want to see it anyway. And googled necrotizing fasciitis, wow.

    Its Ironic, I always knew deep down this was going to be a absolute shit movie basic on the cast/story/premise and previews shown LONG before its release. Probably won't even bother watching it, perhaps someone will recut the extended version into a better movie?

    If anyone has seen Riddick movie, watch the uncut/non-trimmed version, actually makes sense and doesn't leave a bad taste in your mouth!

    Last edited 20/02/15 11:35 am

      I didn't mind the cut version of riddick. You could tell it was done on a budget and it was still pretty much what i expected. The only sour point was just the horrible dialouge between riddick and Starbuck at the end :P

    I'll trust the dozen movie reviewers I use that ALL say it's a steaming pile of shit and give it a miss.

    Saw it yesterday.

    Very nice visuals and interesting designs when it comes to ships, cities, planets and 'aliens'. That's where it ends. 100% predictable story, even good old Boromir makes an appearance. Also such a stupid ending that makes the colour coded ME3 look like Shakespeare.

      I saw it yesterday with the lowest of expectations, and I honestly don't understand where the hate is coming from. This movie is not in the same ballpark as a Battlefield Earth or After Earth (to which it's unfairly being compared). Yes, some of the dialogue is laughably bad, yes it's a tonal mess, yes it's super weird (but why is that a bad thing?) but I appreciate it being a new property, and looking like a million bucks. All the sci-fi elements in this movie are jaw-droppingly gorgeous and while Channing Tatum looks like dog turds, few can choreograph a fight like the Wachowskis. It's a solid B- from me.

        Lots of good concept stuff, although I didn't guite get the difference between a clone and a recurrence. Still I would give it a b+.

    Slow news day?

    Article aside, Chris you've just become my new favourite Kotaku writer. You put more work into your "Because its Friday" paragraph than Plunkett puts into entire articles. Nicely honest and you made laugh and may well have convinced me to go and check out this movie.

      You totally should! It lurches from genuinely entertaining to so-bad-it's-good like a godamn seesaw. But it's never, ever boring.

    Does it also have an explanation for how most if not all intelligent life forms in the galaxy evolved to be of similar height, bipedal, have distal phalanges and have the eyes, nose, mouth and ears generally in the same areas? If not, it's totally Bioware, bring it on!

      In BioWare's defence, Mass Effect did have those slow-talking elephant assholes.

        And the Hanar, Thorian, Keepers, and Rachni...

    Saw the trailer, started off great then quickly escalated into star wars meets that bad final fantasy film, total trash by the end of the trailer.

    Illegal streaming sites, you say? Which ones??

    Nah, its good! I saw it today. Stop expecting some sort of life-altering outcome from watching a movie... Its entertainment ffs! And this movie is quite entertaining.

    Last edited 22/02/15 6:52 pm

    This movie is a stunning visual of science,consciousness, and their combined infinite possibilities. Its a classic tale of the hero's journey and that's why it will resonate with the subconscious of the audience. There are symbols galore throughout the movie you just have to be consciously perceptive to see them. Convergence is the scientific theme throughout the film. I mean the singularity or convergence of consciousness, nanotech, biotech, synthetic biology,chemistry, genetic engineering, and computer technology and other branches of the sciences. I should mention that scientists are actively working on convergence as I type. The Wachalsky brothers or should I say brother and sister (one of the them recently became a woman) produce fims with deep scientific and spiritual meaning ( my all time favorite the first matrix trilogy). This film is where we seem to be going. The questions posed are numerous

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