The Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending finally opens wide this weekend after being pushed back and delayed multiple times. It’s a movie you’re either going to love or hate—it premiered at Sundance recently and was brutalized—but either way, it’s a wingnut spectacle to behold. It’s like a pulpy, B-grade sci-fi flick from a bygone era, only with a huge budget and no restrictions, which is both an asset and a curse.
As filmmakers, the brother/sister duo wear their influences on their sleeves. There are obvious inspirations, like Star Wars, but you might references or nods any number of other, more obscure films. With that in mind, we thought we’d go ahead and make a list of some of the stranger flicks that might make a nice double feature with Jupiter Ascending, for a variety of reasons. For the most part, this is really a list of movies that, as I watched, I exclaimed loudly (at least in my own head, that would be rude to do in a theater), “hey, that’s just like movie X.”
The Fifth Element
The aesthetic comparisons between Jupiter Ascending and Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element are almost immediately obvious. Crazy crowded, stacked cities on faraway worlds bear a strikingly similar appearance, and they’re both equally filled with all manner of outlandish alien creatures, some humanoid, some, not so much, like the race that looks to be entirely made up of leather jacket wearing, lizard space bikers. But what’s most striking are similarities between the primary antagonists: Eddie Redmayne’s Balem in Jupiter and Gary Oldman’s Zorg in Element. Both have a penchant for going from still and quiet to screaming batshit insanity in the blink of an eye. It’s rare to see to performances shift gears in such sudden, jarring fashion, going from zero to ten faster than you ever thought possible. Someone on the internet needs to splice these two together, because that’s going to be a fun time.