I’m trying so hard to give Dinah Drake a chance and season 5 in general (I’ve seen like 2 episodes bc black siren and turns out I’m still olicity trash). It just reminds me every time I see her that Laurel is dead and how much that physically hurt. I don’t care if people say they’re “just a character” because they can mean so much more to you.
Confession: I enjoyed Jupiter Ascending more than The Matrix
While I watched the bluepill/redpill scene from it when I
was around 12 (for a Religious Education class, no less), I had never seen The
Matrix in its entirety before yesterday. In my post-Jupiter Ascending high, I
rushed out and bought the Matrix blu-ray boxset to see what I was missing out
Now, let me start with this: The Matrix is a good film. It
is coherent, well explained and slickly made, and it has a number of
interesting and thought-provoking themes. Having said that, I didn’t find it
anywhere near as enjoyable as Jupiter Ascending. This statement will almost
certainly seem like blasphemy to many, but it’s the truth – Jupiter Ascending
left me wanting to go back and see it over and over, whereas The Matrix left me
mildly contented but not particularly curious about what was to come next (I
still haven’t seen Reloaded and Revolutions, though I will eventually). To get
into the nitty-gritty as to why, I can think of the following reasons:
1. Over-arching plot. In The Matrix, Neo is the chosen one
and, after getting past his self-doubt, he becomes a God-like being with
mind-bending superpowers. In Jupiter Ascending, Jupiter is a normal girl who is
considered royal because of a bizarre fluke; she has to survive attacks from
all quarters in order to attain her title and make it back to her family. While
I appreciate that this will sound more than a little bizarre, I can honestly
say that the scenario of Jupiter Ascending felt more truthful to me – Jupiter acted
pretty much how any ordinary person in her position would act, making mistakes
and saying and doing stupid things. Nonetheless, she was brave, resilient and
principled – I liked and admired her, and was happy when she succeeded. The Matrix is perhaps the most typical
adolescent male fantasy you can imagine (a tech nerd becomes a superhero!), and
while it was very well executed I simply couldn’t connect with it. Jupiter
Ascending also has a wish fulfilment-esque plot (a maid becomes a space
queen!), but it’s atypical in that the heroine doesn’t prove herself to be
anything extraordinary; she’s a regular person trying to cope with a bizarre
and overwhelming situation, and it’s rare to see that without some kind of
heroic transformation being bolted onto the character arc. Rather than having a
great and grand destiny a la Neo, Jupiter has to figure out her own future
(which was what the final scene on the rooftop was saying, IMO).
2. The world. For obvious reasons, the ‘world’ in The Matrix
is very dark, grim and hostile; it was well realised and neatly explained, but
it didn’t appeal to me. The world in Jupiter Ascending, on the other hand, was
extremely colourful, vibrant and diverse; it felt alive, complex and lived in (unsurprising,
considering the ‘world’ in The Matrix is dead, but still) to a far greater
extent than the world in The Matrix; I was fascinated by it and wanted to discover
more about its history and power structures.
3. Representation. Excluding Trinity and the Oracle (who was
basically a one-scene character), every significant character in The Matrix was
male. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it further underlined
my feeling that I was watching a film that’s basically for guys. Jupiter
Ascending, on the other hand, is full of strong and interesting female
characters: Jupiter, her mother, Kalique, the Aegis captain and so on.
4. Tone/themes. The Matrix is very solemn, and it wears its
philosophical themes and questions on its sleeve; while I like thematically
deep and intellectually challenging movies, I didn’t find the philosophical
questions posed by The Matrix particularly interesting precisely because they
were presented so openly. I didn’t want to engage with them very deeply because
they were right there on the surface; I prefer films where the themes and moral
questions are more obscure. Jupiter Ascending had a much brighter tone and was
nowhere near as self-important as The Matrix; it was a fun adventure and I
found it immensely enjoyable on that level. I also found the questions it
raised about class and family thought provoking, and that was precisely because
they weren’t shoved down my throat.
5. A greater focus on family/interpersonal relationships.
The Matrix came across as a rather cold and austere film to me, and I found the
isolation of all of the characters (which makes sense in the film, since the
inhabitants of the Matrix are presumably created independent of traditional
family units) alienating. The relationship between Neo and Trinity felt far
more forced and artificial than the relationship between Jupiter and Caine
(imo), though I’m certainly not going to pretend the latter is some kind of
epically moving on-screen romance. Basically, the characters in The Matrix didn’t
have much psychological depth; they were archetypes that primarily existed to
serve the plot. While Jupiter and Caine aren’t particularly ‘deep’ characters,
I found the Abrasax siblings and their relationships with Jupiter fascinating
because they were so imbalanced; all of the Abrasax siblings had prior
relationships with their dead mother, and those connections influence how they
treat and interact with Jupiter.
I could go on and on about this, but I’ll wrap it up for
now. To sum up, I prefer Jupiter Ascending because of the traits that so many
people have damned it for: its vaguely conveyed themes, weird plotting and
insistence on introducing characters with little direct relevance to the plot at
hand endeared it to me. I feel quite bored of ‘neat’ plots to be honest, and a
big part of why I enjoy Jupiter Ascending is because it’s the opposite of neat.
So, having said all that, how do you feel the films compare?
Am I alone in this (I honestly wouldn’t be greatly surprised) or does anyone
else have similar feelings?