Nov 20, 2019
Jupiter Ascending (2015): a recap (part 4 of 12)
Previously on Jupiter Ascending: Suppose aliens blew up a major American city and nobody came? Jupiter tried to make some easy money for herself and her cousin Vladie by donating her eggs, but instead found herself in the clutches of gray aliens who wanted to kill her. Caine Wise came hover-skating to her rescue, and in the ensuing chase, most of downtown Chicago got destroyed, which surprisingly went unnoticed by most of the city’s residents.
Cut to the smoking ruins of the Chicago skyline, and only now do we finally hear some sirens as people respond to the destruction (though really, it’s still only implied; we don’t actually see any of those people). The camera pans down to the highway, which is looking suspiciously clear of traffic given the chaos that just went down.
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Jupiter and Caine are speeding along in a stolen Chevy Impala, and Caine is driving, which is just a tad weird. Jupiter is the one from Earth, so it would make a lot more sense for her to be the one driving the car, but I guess that’s just way too much for a damsel in distress to handle. Jupiter demands to know what’s going on, and Caine explains they’ve “stumbled into a war within the Abrasax family”, which is “one of the most powerful dynasties in the universe”.
Jupiter doesn’t care who they are, because they won’t get away with blowing up the city. But Caine assures her “those buildings will be rebuilt by tonight”. Jupiter doesn’t believe this, so he tells her to turn around, where the Willis Tower is slowly being rebuilt right before her eyes… I think. I’m just guessing, because she goes, “Holy crap!” but it’s kind of hard to tell what we’re supposed to be seeing in these shots.
She says that even if the buildings are repaired, a “bunch of people saw what happened”, and we’ll just have to take her word for that. She says they “can’t cover that up”, and I’m not sure who said anything about covering anything up, but Caine points out she has a picture of “a Keeper” on her phone (actually, about four or five Keepers, but who’s counting?) that she can’t remember taking. “They blanked you. Short-term stuff is easy.” He says in the case of this kind of wide-scale event, they can’t blank everybody, but “no one believes the ones that slip through the cracks,” presumably accounting for the existence of hardcore UFO crazies.
Jupiter wonders “why this is happening to me”, though I think it’s a bit more accurate to say something just happened to the entire city of Chicago. Caine says he doesn’t know why they’re after her, and he even asked Titus the same thing when he was hired for the job, but Titus only told him it was “personal”.
He then explains that the “House of Abrasax” has “three primary heirs”. Balem is the oldest, and he “controls this planet”, and is the one who wants Jupiter dead. Jupiter insists she’s a “nobody”, but Caine knows Balem wouldn’t “demolish an entire city for a nobody”.
And now we abruptly get a repeat of the scene at the fertility clinic, with Jupiter hovering above the operating table, and the doctor saying to kill her. Caine again bursts into the room, and we hear Balem’s death-like rasp as he says, “Slow.” The scene goes into slow-motion as Balem steps into the frame, revealing this to be a holo-recreation of Jupiter being rescued.
Balem crouches down to look at Jupiter. “There… you… are!” He tells Jupiter’s image that there are “moments when I actually miss you!” Also, no one understands the universe, or Balem himself, “like you did”. And you’re probably getting a fairly strong hunch about why the Abrasax siblings are so interested in Jupiter, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise just yet. Balem stands and sees Caine and the Keepers beginning to fight in slow-mo, and reaches behind his ear to touch a button and switch off the simulation.
He’s back in his cavernous room on Jupiter (the planet, and I’m already sick of having to clarify which Jupiter I’m talking about), surrounded by Mr. Night, Mr. Tskalikan, and a few Keepers. He asks Tskalikan how a “single Splice”, meaning Caine, I assume, can “destroy an entire fleet of Shadows”, meaning, um, I guess the ships that were chasing them around the Chicago skyscrapers. Tskalikan says they “underestimated” Caine, and Balem says the next time this happens, he’ll hold Tskalikan “accountable”. Wait, but didn’t they already screw up once before, when the Keepers were probing Jupiter’s friend Kathrine Dunlevy instead of her? It’s not often you see the big bad villain give his underlings a third or fourth chance to mess things up.
And now Caine and Jupiter have traveled way out into the middle of nowhere, and are currently driving through cornfields. And it’s only now, after they’ve been presumably driving for hours, that Jupiter notices Caine is bleeding. She says, “Lucky for you, a woman owns this car!” And she pulls a maxi-pad out of the glove compartment and puts it on his wound. And yes, I realize that maxi-pads really can be used on wounds to stanch the bleeding, but… what made them want to put this in the movie? Is it supposed to be funny, or charming, or entertaining? Or maybe it’s supposed to be a helpful first aid tip. Sure, let’s go with that.
Jupiter thanks him for saving her life and wonders if he does “this sort of thing a lot”. Caine admits he doesn’t, and Titus only hired him because he’s “good at finding people”. She wonders if she’s taking him to Titus now, but nope. Instead, they pull up at an old, dilapidated house where all the paint is peeling off, and the exterior is covered in honeycomb bee hives, and there are lots of bees buzzing around in the front yard.
Caine explains that the guy who lives here is a friend, and a “Marshall for the Aegis”, and the Aegis are “like cops”. Jupiter says, “Space cops! Sure!” Hey, leave the lazy sarcasm to me.
Caine knocks on the front door and Sean Bean answers the door, putting an enormous gun right in Caine’s face. Also, his eyes momentarily glow a bright yellow. Caine addresses him as “Stinger”, and given that Caine’s DNA was cut with a wolf’s DNA, can you guess which species a guy named “Stinger” is crossed with? Stinger says, “Back from the goddamned dead!” Caine thinks it’s “kind of funny” how they both ended up on this planet, but “funny ain’t the word” Stinger would use. He puts down his gun and punches Caine in the jaw, knocking him to the ground.
He wants to know how Caine was able to “get out”, and Caine says it was thanks to Titus Abrasax. Stinger knows that “Deadland ain’t taught you a damn thing” and punches him again. He’s pissed off at Caine for coming back and “reminding me what I flushed down the shitter for you!” As he takes another swing at Caine, he goes into slow-mo for no particular reason, and then Caine is on the ground. As he gets up, he asks where “Kiza” is, because she’d at least listen to him.
Stinger says to “stay the hell away from my daughter” and knees him under the chin. And then Kiza shows up in the doorway, and she’s a young blonde girl with an Australian accent, and she says, “Don’t drag me into your male mating rituals!” They continue brawling in the yard as Kiza calmly introduces herself to Jupiter and we see Jupiter swatting at the bees around her.
Stinger says Caine must be getting weak, adding, “Look at me! Not a ReCode or a drop of Juice in years!” I must admit, he does look pretty good for a guy who hasn’t had a, um, ReCode lately. And then Caine charges at Stinger, and both men end up completely smashing through the front porch railing.
Meanwhile, Jupiter is freaking out about all the bees swarming around her. She yells and runs out into the front yard, and now a big CGI cloud of bees is surrounding her. She raises her hands, and notices that the bees are following the motion of her hands. The two men stop fighting and watch Jupiter as she begins to actually direct the bees. Stinger gets a grin on his face, then immediately drops to one knee and says, “Your Majesty!”
Inside the house, Jupiter is directing more bees and laughing about it. Kiza (whose eyes also briefly flash yellow) brings her a glass of water and also calls her “Your Majesty”, and then says she’s heading out for groceries.
Once she’s gone, Stinger opens what looks like a weapons case and says, “Let’s have a look at you!” Caine stands up and takes off his leather bodysuit, revealing two marks on his back where he apparently once had wings. Stinger says he’s been “clipped and stripped. The mark of a court-martialed Skyjacker!” They explain to Jupiter that they both used to have wings: “the best bio-neural-synaptic prosthetic the military could buy!” So, you know, in case a half-dog/half-man on flying boots wasn’t ridiculous enough, he at one point was a half-dog/half-man with wings.
Then Stinger notices the bloody maxi-pad and rips it off and gives Jupiter a look, and she just smiles and shrugs. Stinger than applies a spray to Caine’s wound that instantly heals it. Jupiter is amazed and Stinger says, “Your Majesty has no idea of the scientific miracles that human beings are capable of!”
At long last, Jupiter asks what this “Your Majesty” business is all about, and Stinger starts off by saying he knows she’s never been stung by a bee. You see, “bees are genetically designed to recognize royalty”, and Jupiter mutters, “You are in for a surprise when you find out what I do for a living!” Well, to be fair, she does spend a lot of time on thrones.
But Stinger insists that the bees can sense who she really is. Because bees, unlike humans, “don’t question or doubt. Bees don’t lie.” And… what? I mean, is this supposed to be valuable, profound insight? Are there people who were convinced up until this moment that bees are questioning, doubtful liars?
Just then, Jupiter gets a call from her cousin Vladie, and she decides whatever that moron has to say must be way more important than learning about alien dynasties and her status as royalty, and she walks away to take it.
When she’s gone, Caine insists he had no idea, and Titus didn’t say anything about her being royalty. Stinger can’t believe he’s working for a “Royal”, and Caine says he only agreed to work for Titus on the condition that Stinger would get his wings back, as well as “full Reinstatement.” Stinger warns that if Jupiter is really a “Recurrence”, then “this is a hell of a lot more important than wings!” And I should note that the capitalization of “Reinstatement” and “Recurrence”, as well as “ReCode” and “Juice” comes directly from the subtitles. Because there’s really no better way to make things sound high-tech and spacey than by randomly capitalizing words.
Next time: Jupiter gets a history lesson from Stinger and learns about the planet that’s the real origin of mankind, which is immediately followed by a big battle between bounty hunters to determine which Abrasax heir gets to have custody of Jupiter. All that, plus we finally learn the truth behind crop circles!