Why Did I Watch It? Love the Wachowskis (mostly) and this was their one film I had not seen.
At the centre of the universe, something is up. The 90 000 year old matriarch of the Abrasax family (kindof like the Lannisters, only in space) has been murdered, setting off a powerplay between her three children (kindof like ‘Succession’, only in space). Which one of them will gain control of the earth, and its valuable crop of human cattle? That’s right: if you have ever had a sense that something, somewhere, was terribly wrong, you were right; the entire population of our planet is destined to be ‘harvested’, and used to make alien skin cream.
Meanwhile, on earth itself, the Abrasax matriarch has been instantly reincarnated into the body of a Russian immigrant domestic cleaner, improbably played by Mila Kunis. I mean, I mean, why this? And if this, why her? I guess it should be noted that this same Russian immigrant family also contains Kick Gurry, so the instructions to the casting director probably read: fuck it.
In any case, having Mila on the board simplifies things. Now that the reincarnated Abrasax matriarch is back, she becomes THE KEY TO THE WHOLE THING. Whoever controls her, controls her magic arm stamp, and whoever controls the magic arm stamp gets it all: Abrasax dominance, all of the earth, as much alien skin cream as they could ever want.
And really, there is a lot more: sentient dragon-men, rocket roller blades, Mila’s amazing bee control powers. ‘Busy’ would be one word for the Wachowski siblings overheated space opera… and ‘terrible’ would be another. The creative imagination that served the directors so well in ‘The Matrix’, spins wildly out of control here. The big ideas they stretch for this time are heavy handed and half baked, and the plot doesn’t even attempt to make sense. The actors mouth incomprehensible dialogue in front of cartoonish CGI backgrounds, and then they fight. It is like watching a campy parody of ‘Dune’.
Eddie Redmayne, pre-Oscar, generates a tiny little bit of something, as the most toxic of the evil heirs. His part is relatively small, and his role is clear; he is the theatrical villain, whose many centuries of existence have turned into a cold blooded monster. Somehow he gets on the right wavelength for this material, and his loopy performance is a lot of fun. And, there are some nice shots of Jupiter. I listened to a positive podcast review of this movie – it does have its fans, and a minor cult following – and this confirmed: the Jupiter stuff looked great on an IMAX screen.
Otherwise, just a mess. Loud, bombastic, boring for all of the activity on screen. More fun to make fun of, than to watch.