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Movie review | Actors have a hard time rising above the script in ‘Jupiter Ascending’

“Jupiter Ascending” * * *  1/2

In true space opera form, “Jupiter Ascending” is a big budget ($176 million) love story with lots of thrilling space travel, aliens (both good and bad), and plenty of obvious moral dilemmas.

The movie stars Mila Kunis, as a reluctant and unaware space queen who scrubs toilets on Earth but ascends to the throne elsewhere in the universe. Kunis, with whom we first fell in love on the small screen in “That ‘70s Show” and later in the films “Book of Eli,” and “Black Swan,” is almost always good, and does a fine job here.

The problem is that rising above the “Jupiter Ascending” script would be hard for any actor, and she seems to struggle at times. That being said, the movie pops visually with one of the best space chases ever conceived and brought to the big screen; this one through present-day Chicago. Channing Tatum, who is generally decent and likeable has the same challenges as Kunis.

Even Oscar-winning Best Actor Eddie Redmayne (“Theory of Everything”) has trouble selling his role as the evil destroyer of planets. All in all, it was a fun movie with an interesting storyline, that makes up for a subpar screenplay with dazzling special effects.

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