The reviews of Jupiter Ascending are in, and they are ugly. Andy and Lana Wachowski’s latest movie has just a 22 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment, and it’s unlikely that the number will get much better for what is a bloated, confusing space opera that’s long on computer graphics and short on compelling drama.
Still, it’s not a total waste, because the Wachowskis are too creative to not seed their film with delightful little treats for their loyal fans. Here are six of those fun elements that will leave you smiling if you brave the cold (and the reviews) and see Jupiter Ascending this weekend. (Warning: Minor spoilers to follow.)
Nesh, on the far right, is one of the best things in Jupiter
1. Nesh, the elephant-man pilot: Human-animal hybrids (called “splices”) have a prominent place in the Jupiter Ascending universe, headlined by the wolfish Channing Tatum. The best hybrid, however, is what looks to be an elephant piloting a spaceship. One brief shot, as you can see in the photo above, confirms that the character is definitely part human, since he stands upright, but the wild trumpet-like scream he unleashes in the heat of battle definitely confirms that Nesh (as he’s named in the credits) is more animal than man. In the unlikely event that this movie gets a sequel, it better be about Nesh.
Terry Gilliam in Jupiter Ascending
2. Terry Gilliam’s cameo: While Jupiter Ascending’s confusing intergalactic politics recall those of The Phantom Menace (a comparison no one wants), the film’s sequence depicting a nightmarish bureaucracy owes much to Terry Gilliam’s classic Brazil. The Wachowskis were obviously quite aware of their debt to the Monty Python great, since they gave Gilliam a cheeky cameo as the most stubborn cog in the awful paperwork machine.
3. Eddie Redmayne doing his best impression of Marlon Brando: Sure, he made a remarkable (and potentially Oscar-winning) physical transformation to play the paralyzed Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. But here, Redmayne gives his vocal chords a good workout to play the evil Titus. His almost-whispered growl and infrequent screams are reminiscent of the great Marlon Brando, especially in his later years. And if that’s not enough, Redmayne is dressed to the nines in an outfit that looks equally inspired by Greek mythology and The Artist Once Again Known as Prince.
Mila Kunis at the Jupiter premiere
4. Mila Kunis breaks out the Russian: The actress, who was born in the Ukraine and emigrated to the United States with her family in 1991, has rarely used her first language on screen. (A few years ago, she memorably sassed a reporter in Russian during a Moscow press conference.) In Jupiter Ascending, she plays the daughter of Russian immigrants in Chicago, and speaks her mother tongue quite often.
Watch a clip of Tatum’s awesome boots:
5. Channing Tatum’s speed skating: Stripping is fine, but what the viewers really want to see is wolfy Channing Tatum skating through the air with rocket boots! He uses the floating footwear to zoom all around the galaxy, and each time he gets moving, he looks like Apolo Anton Ohno.
6. And as a bonus, for you Game of Thrones fans: Sean Bean co-stars in this film as a former military colleague of Tatum’s. And he doesn’t die!
Photo credits: Warner Bros., Getty