Film: Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending is a 2015 space opera film from the Wachowski siblings.

Jupiter Jones is a Russian immigrant girl raised in Chicago who makes her living cleaning houses with her family. Unbeknownst to her, she is also the genetic recurrence of the Queen of the Universe, whose three scions are vying for control of Earth. Balem Abrasax sends agent to kill Jupiter, but Titus Abrasax sends Caine Wise, part-dog part-human super soldier, to protect her, and they team up with Stinger Apini to confront the Abrasax siblings and protect Jupiter's claim.

The film was released in the US on February 6th, 2015. Watch the teaser trailer here and the main trailer here.

No relation to Mercury Rising.


Tropes found in Jupiter Ascending:

  • Action Survivor: Jupiter is this for 3/4 of the movie, until she refuses to sign Balem's contract
  • A God Am I: Balem considers himself to be the bringer of life (in the form of his family's youth serum) and death.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Everyone in this movie speaks English and it is never even handwaved away. It gets to the point where even the writing in the alien spaceships and bureaucratic offices is in English.
  • Almighty Janitor: Literally with Jupiter, which could be one of the few times that this character trope belongs to a main character. At the end, she returns to her job as a maid, cleaning toilets while wondering how to deal with the changes in her life.
  • Animal Motifs: The Splices, with varying levels of subtlety.
    • Stinger is a beekeeper with incredibly precise piloting skills. He also used to have wings.
    • Caine is described in-universe as a lone wolf searching for a pack. His characterization is defined by his loyalty to Jupiter and martial skills.
  • The Amoral Guy Wins: By the end of the movie Kalique's scheme has gone off exactly as planned...Jupiter claimed her inheritance at the expense of one of Balem's most important holdings. What's more, depending on how inheritance laws work she may even get a share of what Balem had left when he died.
  • Ancient Astronauts: The alien dynasties that seeded Earth millenia ago inspired many of humanity's myths about vampires and dragons (one of the races that work for Balem even looks like smaller dragons) and possibly even deities. Humanity isn't even native to Earth, having actually evolved on a planet called Horus, and Earth was "seeded" by Abrasax Industries roughly one hundred thousand years ago.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Balem subjects this to Jupiter (See I Have Your Wife, below). Subverted when she realizes, that even if he does kill her and her family, he can't harvest Earth if she doesn't abdicate, whereas if she does, then they're all animals for the slaughter. She thus decides that, if the choice is between her and her family being murdered or being harvested with the rest of the Earth, she'll pick the option that hurts Balem.
  • At Least I Admit It: Unlike their sister, Balem and Titus don't try to sugarcoat the fact that obtaining their youth serum results in the deaths of untold billions of people.
  • Awesome McCoolname: The Power Trio: Jupiter Jones, Caine Wise and Stinger Apini.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Jupiter and her family. They argue and belittle each other during dinner, but when Jupiter goes missing they are all worried sick and in the end they all pitch in to buy her a telescope.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Balem and Titus. The fact that they’re also at odds with each other is the only reason Jupiter has a chance in hell of staying alive.
    • Non-Action Big Bad: Even Jupiter, who gets abducted or taken hostage by everyone in the film, can easily defeat Balem in a one-on-one fight.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Nobody outside of Jupiter is genuinely concerned with the harvesting of billions of innocents like the people of Earth and others in order to have the genetic material for Recodes, seeing it little different as animals slaughtered for their meat and it being perfectly legal within the system.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Titus vents Caine into the vaccuum of space, but leaves him his jet boots and allows him to kick a crate filled with instant-space suits that get vented along with him, thus allowing Caine to survive until the Aegis arrive to rescue him.
  • Bullet Time: It's the fucking Wachowskis, though it shows up extremely sparingly.
  • Casting Gag: Mila Kunis, a woman of Ukrainian descent, as a Russian immigrant, which is doubly darkly hilarious due to the quasi-war between the two states.
  • Chronically Killed Actor: Guess. Subverted, even though there were at least two reasonable spots for it to happen: The Hammerheads, and the Redemption Equals Death.
  • Cool Plane: The maneuverable, adjustable, submersible one-person fighter craft of the film outdo many of the space fighters out there.
  • Cool Starship: Take your pick, from the functional and cool looking Aegis ship, to the over-the-top elaborate personal ships of the Abrasax family.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: At least one fight scene is human/wolf hybrid Caine fighting a group of space dragon soldiers.
  • Costume Porn / Pimped-Out Dress: Jupiter's silver, white, and red gown with matching headdress. It's her wedding dress.
    • Likewise Kalique's own dresses and gowns fit this trope too.
    • Don't forget the shoes! Jupiter especially ends up in some fantastic heels, some of which even Mila Kunis is visibly uncomfortable and/or struggling in.
  • Disney Villain Death: Happens to Balem.
  • The Dragon: Mr. Greeghan to Balem, after his precedessor Tskalikin is killed for his failure to capture Jupiter. Amusingly, the Sargon, his race of humanoid winged reptillians, resemble Dragons and are implied to have started the original myth on Earth.
  • Easily Forgiven: Caine quickly forgives Stinger for handing him and Jupiter over to Titus. Justified, as Stinger also alerted the authorities about the situation and only did it to save his ailing daughter. Stinger is also one of the few people skilled enough to help Caine save Jupiter, and he also makes clear there are no other potential reasons he might turn on Caine a second time.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Titus and Balem. Didn't stop Balem from killing her, though.
  • Exact Words: Balem's intentions are pretty transparent when he's trying to blackmail Jupiter into abdication—send her and her family back to Earth, and immediately harvest the planet.
  • Fanservice: Kalique emerges nude from the fountain at one point. Also Caine takes his shirt off at one point, perfectly normal since he's treating an injury, but it doesn't go back on until he's collected some weapons, had a fight, stowed away on a space ship and gets to another planet.
  • Fantastic Racism: Splices are generally looked down upon.
    • Earth as well is looked down upon, but it is done subtlely. For example, the Abrasax siblings don't refer to Earth as a planet, but as an industry. They treat the people as a commodity.
  • Foreshadowing: Kalique admitting that her people may have inspired the myths about vampires foreshadows the later revelation that their youth serum is made from people.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Not that Jupiter is a common name for any gender by any means, but it started out as the name of the male Roman Top God, after whom the planet is named.
  • The Greys: They’re employed by Balem to guard Earth and maintain the Masquerade.
  • Half-Human Hybrid/Transhuman: Caine, both genetically manufactured and half wolf. Stinger and Famulus also count, being half bee and half deer respectively.
    • Technically, all of Earth is this way, Earth-humans having been spliced with native species during the seeding.
  • The Hedonist: Titus clearly enjoys having zero gravity orgies, with several participants.
  • Human Aliens: Literally. Jupiter and the Abrasax family are some of the only "pure" humans in this universe.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: Caine refers to the humans of Earth as "Earthsies" in a tone that is very condescending.
  • Human Resources: The Earth, as well as countless other planets, are just People Farms.
  • I Have Your Wife: More than once. Stinger's daughter is ailing, compelling him into handing Jupiter and Caine over to Titus in exchange for the money to afford a 'Re Code'. Balem does this with Jupiter's entire family, in order to convince her to abdicate so he can take Earth for his own.
  • Immortality Immorality: How the the Abrasax family — and presumably others out in space — maintain their long lives is pretty horrible. The substance that rejuvenates them is created by harvesting human life forms they seeded millennia ago on other planets.
  • Impoverished Patrician: "Impoverished" is a relative term here, but all three heirs stood to lose a portion of their inheritance once Jupiter Ascended. A few lines also make it clear they're no longer even in the line of inheritance if she dies, her Earth family would Ascend. Given that Kalique’s scheme hinged on this it can be presumed that the lion’s share of Jupiter’s inheritance would come out of Balem’s holdings.
    • While at the house of a wealthy client, a young woman is dithering over the prospect of receiving a marriage proposal from one of America's richest bachelors. She compares herself to Cinderella. The irony is lost on her, though clearly not on Jupiter.
  • Interspecies Romance: The human Jupiter and the half-wolf genetically engineered supersoldier Caine.
  • Just Between You and Me: Titus tells Caine his plan before throwing him out the airlock. Like most Evil Gloating, it backfires.
  • Karma Houdini: Titus Abrasax faces no consequences for his actions in the movie other than some mild damage to his clipper, although Caine does try to assure Jupiter that he'll receive his comeuppance via bureaucracy.
  • Lampshade Hanging: After a long and not really convincing explanation on how Caine's boots work, Jupiter simply answers: "Yeah, I heard 'gravity' and 'surf'."
    Caine: Up is hard. Down is easy.
  • Masquerade: One is enforced on Earth through liberal use of Laser-Guided Amnesia technology so that the Terrans don't notice when things get out of hand among the aliens.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The planetary alignment when Jupiter was born.
  • Meaningful Echo: "I hate my life."
  • Meaningful Name: Many, if not most.
    • Jupiter has the name of an extraterrestrial body. Jupiter is also the name of the king of the gods, as Jupiter is the queen of the interstellar magnates.
      • In-universe, her name is meaningful to her family as her father named her after his favorite planet, and she was born with Jupiter in Leo.
    • Stinger Apini is part bee.
    • Caine is part canine.
      • He's also a badass who starts out working for a bad guy, fitting with Name of Cain.
    • Kalique is said the same way as Caligula — the corrupt and decadent dictator.
    • Knock off the 'm' from Balem and you have Bale, as in evil and spite.
    • Abrasax is from Greek Mythology, the name itself refers to the order of the seven classical planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn). In the context of the movie, it refers to how their dynasty "owns" all of the planets.
    • The elephant splice pilot is named Nesh, after the Hindu Ganesh.
    • Gugu Mbatha-Raw's character is a deer-splice and Titus' right-hand woman. Fittingly, her name is Famulus, which means "assistant or servant."
  • Mommy Issues: Freud would have a field day with the Abrasax siblings. To one degree or another, they all display a lot of unresolved issues with their late mother, which in turn fuel most of their actions in the movie.
  • Naval Blockade: Balem orders a planetary blockade of Earth as soon as he finds out that Jupiter escaped his agents. It fails miserably.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Balem gives Jupiter a pretty relentless beating with a metal rod after she foils his plan. She later returns the favor.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted; Jupiter uses a maxi pad (for lack of anything else) as a bandage for Caine's wound, telling him to be thankful that the car they’ve stolen is owned by a woman - although she applies it sticky side down.
  • Not with the Safety on, You Won't: Jupiter holds Caine at gunpoint when she first meets him. Subverted in that he tells her how to disengage the safety, so when she holds it up again, it's primed to fire.
  • Out-Gambitted: While Balem and Titus are fighting for possession of Jupiter, Kalique oh so casually strolls in and takes her from under their very noses via hired mercenaries.
  • People Farms: The planets seeded by the Abrasax family - and presumably other businesses like them - are essentially these, on a truly mind-boggling scale.
  • Praetorian Guard: Each of the Abrasax siblings have their own Royal Guard. Balem doesn't rely on them as much as the others in favour of Mr. Greeghan and his men. Jupiter is also informed that she's entitled to a Royal Guard by law, after being legitimized.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Zig-Zagged. Jupiter herself clearly wants to prevent the Earth from being harvested, but the Aegis crew, and in general anyone who helps her, are never shown to care one way or the other about the Earth. They're portrayed as heroic simply for protecting Jupiter's legal inheritance.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Type D for Kalique, who doesn't seem to realize the gravity of the fact that billions of innocent people have to die for her to get her youth serum. At least Balem and Titus acknowledge it as mass murder.
  • Really 700 Years Old: All the Abrasax siblings, and potentially any monied character Jupiter encounters in space. Kalique in particular just turned 14,004 years old and her mother was in her 91st millennium when she died.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Balem is willing to harvest Earth ahead of schedule just to spite and/or kill Jupiter, even though Mr. Night points out the serious financial blow doing so would entail.
  • Royally Screwed Up: The Abrasax clan; even the best of them—arguably Kalique, the only one whose endgame doesn't seem to necessitate Jupiter's death—has no qualms committing genocide for the sake of immortality.
  • Scenery Porn, Scenery Gorn, and Technology Porn, in spades: All are taken to absurd degrees of detail, ranging from the insides of even the cruisers and motorbikes, to the individual planets and the starships. On the Scenery Gorn front, Caine is particularly harsh on walls, often using them as a form of entrance.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Averted. In a rare exception in space opera movies, 3 million or even billions of people isn't a huge number, centuries and even thousands of years is a short period of time, and a planet is a common resource- though some are more valuable for various reasons.
  • Space Opera: Looks to be the first original space opera film in quite a while.
  • Space Police: The Aegis.
  • Super Soldier: Caine, made in similar circumstances to Jenny in Doctor Who.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Stinger and his daughter both have these, although they only appear gold for a moment when they do so.
  • Starship Luxurious: All the personal ships of the Abrasax heirs qualify, but Titus’ clipper takes the cake. It has its own cathedral inside, as well as 100 meter tall gilded statues lining the hull.
  • Time Abyss: The late Abrasax Matriarch was over 91 thousand years old when she died. Of the "younger" generation Kalique recently passed the 14 millennia mark and she's the middle child.
  • Vast Bureaucracy: The captain of the Aegis cruiser would much rather go into battle than dealing with the bureaucracy that claiming Jupiter’s title to Earth involves. She’s not exaggerating.
    Jupiter: I'll never complain about the DMV ever again.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Titus disappears from the story after Caine rescues Jupiter from the forced marriage. Granted, he might have been apprehended or arrested, but we never see it, and it's never mentioned by anyone.
  • When the Planets Align: Played straight with added Significant Birth Date leading to Jupiter's Chosen One status. It does, however, fall into the category of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane.
  • The Windy City: The Wachowskis are Chicagoans, and so are Jupiter and her family.
  • World of Ham: Jupiter grows up with a Family Of Ham, and later discovers that she's actually part of a family of even more ham IN SPACE. All three Abrasax siblings are Large Hams, with Balem approaching BRIAN BLESSED levels.
  • X Meets Y: From Cracked: "Jupiter Ascending is apparently what you would get if The Matrix suplexed Snow White [& The Huntsman] into a hyperbaric chamber and fired it into space."
  • You Have Failed Me: After his bounty hunters betray him and his keepers fail to capture Jupiter, Balem tortures and executes his reptillian Sargorn head of security, Mr. Tskalikin. Balem makes sure the replacement, Mr. Greeghan, watches it happen.