Two Films I Couldn’t Finish: Airplane Edition, pt. 2

Last year after visiting the amazing New York City, I attempted to watch a couple of films on the plane which didn’t turn out so well. Most recently, after taking two insanely long flights to London and back, I watched quite a few films; some much more successfully than others. In the tradition of last year’s post, here are two films that I started watching on the plane, however could not finish for a number of reasons. Should I eventually finish watching these? You have the power to decide!

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Jupiter Ascending (2015, dir. Andy and Lana Wachowski)
A young woman discovers her destiny as an heiress of intergalactic nobility and must fight to protect the inhabitants of Earth from an ancient and destructive industry. (source)

What a pile of garbage. I obviously didn’t watch the whole thing, but it’s not difficult to tell a bad film when you see one. One day I would like to watch the entirety of Jupiter Ascending, but judging from the approximately twenty minutes that I watched on the way back from London, this thing is almost unwatchable. In fact, I switched this off and decided to watch Skyfall (2012) again for the billionth time, because I knew at least that it would be reliably watchable.

The film starts with a strangely comic moment that goes sour quite quickly, and then the rest of the twenty minutes that I watched bounce around from drama to comedy to sci fi to slapstick toilet humour as Mila Kunis scrubs a million toilets in her job as a house cleaner for rich people. If the Wachowskis thought this was a good way to hook people in to what is meant to be a grand sci fi adventure, they were totally wrong. It’s completely all over the place in a dizzying, confusing, and repelling way. In addition to this, some of the dialogue was voiced in such a low whisper that I couldn’t hear anything because of the general hum of the airplane, and then when I turned the volume up, the next scene was so loud that my eardrums almost blew out, and that made me hate the film even more.

I know there’s some amazing costume design in this at some point, and that the film is meant to be a feast for the eyes and not the brain, but I couldn’t even see anything visually appealing in the first twenty minutes. It was just bad and it made me feel bad for watching it. I like this review which describes the film as “an ornately polished turd”.

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The Theory of Everything (2014, dir. James Marsh)
A look at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife. (source)

This may be a bit of a controversial one, but I didn’t enjoy this at all. I had had plenty of sleep before starting to watch The Theory of Everything, but it sent me to sleep straight away. I also watched The Imitation Game (2014) during the flight to London and absolutely loved it (review incoming at some point). I perhaps expected The Theory of Everything to be similar. Instead, I found a middling-paced romantic drama that didn’t hook me in at all. I got about twenty to thirty minutes in before falling asleep and waking up when Stephen Hawking was having some samples of his spinal fluid being taken. Then I officially turned the film off and committed to falling back asleep.

Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar for his performance as Stephen Hawking in this film. I must admit that I’m not a huge fan of Redmayne as I’ve always found his performances to be too self-aware and actor-y, as opposed to Benedict Cumberbatch, who really embodies his roles and absolutely transforms himself into another person. I must admit that I switched this film off before Redmayne went full-Hawking, so I may have missed out on the Oscar-worthy part of his performance. All I saw in the first part was a regular, cute nerdy guy who was a bit clumsy. I also have to say that Eddie Redmayne is terrible in what I saw of Jupiter Ascending, but he didn’t have much to work with there.

The film is shot beautifully and that should have been enough to keep me interested, but I tend to just not be very interested in romantic dramas, so it was probably not going to be for me anyway. But yet it’s extremely critically acclaimed and many people I know enjoyed it. Maybe I should try it again. Should I?

32 comments

  1. Everywhere I look there is so much disgust for Jupiter Ascending – so happy I haven’t checked that one out yet. Sorry you didn’t like Theory of Everything though! I thought it was a beautiful film. I agree with you on that Cumberbatch is the more superior actor. It seems like he’s in a league of his own all the time.

    1. Oh yeah, Jupiter Ascending is definitely worth a miss however for some reason I am oddly drawn to its terribleness and I may end up watching the whole thing one day! I think I will try to finish The Theory of Everything at some point. The direction was beautiful.

  2. If you switched off “Theory of Everything” early then you did miss the best part of Redmayne’s sublime performance although I thought he was great in the first half too. 🙂

    It is a wonderful film though, a bit twee in places and VERY English! 😛

    1. I’m not afraid of a twee English film! 🙂 It may well be worth watching to check out how Redmayne does interpret Hawking’s character and physicality.

  3. I was disappointed with both of these, and I definitely agree with others that Benedict Cumberbatch put on a much better performance.
    If you ever feel the need to finish Jupiter Ascending…I would have a few drinks first.
    – Allie

    1. Maybe I’ll find a Jupiter Ascending drinking game and see how I go!

  4. Haven’t seen Jupiter Ascending, yet, but I have watched The Theory of Everything. No, I don’t think you need to finish it.

    http://dellonmovies.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-theory-of-everything.html

    1. Very interesting indeed! The trend for biopic films to be completely self-serving to the subjects of the film is kind of worrying to me. There are so many films that gloss over wrongdoings of real life people in order to construct a character that people will barrack for in a film. It’s kind of problematic!

  5. The Theory of Everything’s one of the few films I give highest ratings.

    1. Very high praise indeed! I’m intrigued to see where Redmayne takes the role so I will end up trying to finish it at some point.

  6. I could never bring myself to watch the theory of everything. Seems like a conventional rom-com. Jupiter Ascending though sounds like it could be hazardous to one’s health!

    1. I truly think if I had watched all of Jupiter Ascending at the time I would have ended up with a headache or worse!

      1. Perhaps your head might have exploded like in Scanners 😛

  7. I happened to watch Jupiter Ascending last night, and it really is a very, very poor film. I think it gets a bit better as it goes on, but only relative to the beginning. The story is a near-incomprehensible mess of infodumps, the action is frantically meaningless, and I didn’t even think it was that good to look at.

    Theory of Everything is a pretty standard romantic drama with two very good performances. As others have said, Redmayne only really gets going once he goes “full Hawking”, though for me Felicity Jones’ subtle performance was even better.

    1. Haha! I hope you end up writing a full review on Jupiter Ascending. I have to say, I did enjoy Felicity Jones’ performance in The Theory of Everything. Her performance felt more authentic to me when compared with Redmayne’s, at least the parts that I happened to see!

  8. Theory of Everything is bland as hell but I had so much fun during Jupiter Ascending – it’s impossibly ridiculous in a funny and strange way

    1. That’s the reason why I think one day I will watch all of Jupiter Ascending – sometimes bad films are so bad that they’re ridiculously funny, and I kind of enjoy that! Like Zardoz.

  9. I haven’t watched both movies and I think I’ll skip Jupiter Ascending. But I plan to watch The Theory of Everything someday. Hehe! Just like you, I chose to watch Benedict Cumberbatch in the Imitation Game rather than Redmayne here.

    1. As far as I’m concerned, Benedict Cumberbatch can do no wrong! He’s perfect in essentially everything I’ve seen him in, even the lame Star Trek film.

  10. abbiosbiston · · Reply

    Jupiter Ascending only gets worse. The Theory of Everything is… okay. Compared to The Imitation Game it’s a bit meh.

    1. The Imitation Game was such an amazing film. I can’t get over how impressed I was with Benedict Cumberbatch!

  11. Hated JA. Thought TOE was pretty good tho. Think u should give it a go, whats 2 hours of ur life anyway? 🙂

    1. Very true! Maybe I’ll watch it whilst doing some housework.

      1. Thats the spirit!

  12. Victor De Leon · · Reply

    I turned off JA after 25 minutes. But I am willing to finish it one night if I am patient. Never watched ToE. Looks boring. May not be for me despite loving Hawking and his work.

    1. Yeah, I think I expected The Theory of Everything to be more technical or science-y which may be why the romantic drama aspect of it put me to sleep. Like you I’m a bit more interested in Hawking’s mind and work than his romances!

      1. Victor De Leon · · Reply

        Yes, exactly!

  13. I enjoyed The Theory of Everything – Redmayne absolutely deserved that Oscar. But it certainly won’t be for everyone. As for Jupiter Ascending – I have yet to read one positive review on it!

    1. I will give The Theory of Everything another go one day. Maybe I’ll find it easier to engage with when I’m not watching it on a tiny airplane screen!

      1. I think so… the movie needs some focus, and a baby airplane screen is just not the place, you are already strained hahaha.

  14. […] watching on airplanes going to and from London. This post could be considered a direct contrast to the films I had to stop watching on the airplane because they were disappointing and bad. But it’s important to note that I did actually pick […]

  15. This film was pretty good but not great. I’d really appreciate it if you could check out my review:

    http://scribblesofstageandscreen.com/2015/02/26/the-theory-of-hollywoods-imitation-game/

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