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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Jupiter Ascending Movie Recap


If you've been following me on social media you know that I'm head over heels for the latest Wachowski movie. I'm working on my review, but while you wait for that here's a something to keep you busy. I got together with a fellow fan and blogger, Jaymee, to write this detailed recap of the film. We've slipped in some of our own commentary and a tone of images. My commentary is in blue, while Jamee's is in purple

Below is Part 1 of the recap. Part 2 of the recap is on Jaymee's blog A Probability of Being. 

Hope you enjoy, and if you haven't seen the movie PLEASE go see it in theaters!

Let’s do this!

The movie opens with a pretty planetary sunrise shot, with Jupiter’s voiceover explaining her origins: “You could call me an illegal alien.”
[There’s also something in this voiceover about being the kind of person who believed in the best in people, which was the kind of person her father was, and which she herself wasn’t, really. And this sets the tone for her behaviour and choices for the rest of the movie.]

The music swells and title floats up in front of the screen.
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Russia in winter.
Jupiter’s voiceover: “My mother and father met when they were both working at the University of St. Petersburg. He a professor of astronomy, she a professor of mathematics. They began when she found him freezing outside, looking at the stars.”

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A man (James D’Arcy) is outside looking through a telescope when a woman (Maria Doyle Kennedy) walks up. He says something about the planets (I think he refers to a planet like it’s a woman), she comments. They share a moment, and some kind of cute/flirty exchange, speaking in a mixture of Russian and English.
[Yes, Jupiter is the love child of Jarvis and Mrs. S. Bring on the crossover fan fic!]

Less than 9 months later in an apartment in Russia
Jupiter, in voice over, says “My father was the son of a British diplomat, named Maximilian Jones.”
Maximilian is looking through a telescope again. This time it’s aimed out the window an apartment. He starts talking about Jupiter, the planet. Aleksa Jones nee Bolonitkov, Jupiter’s mother, enters the room, noticeably pregnant, and says “Jupiter” is not a proper name for a child.

She hands him a tub of Vaseline and says, “My turn" or "get to work." Then she settles down on the couch and pulls up her shirt to expose her swelling belly. Jupiter’s father covers his hands with Vaseline and begins to talk to her belly, address baby Jupiter inside. He explains that she will learn that her mother is “unreasonably practical, but fortunately not immune to her father’s charms.” She giggles indulgently while he rubs her belly. Then two men burst in through the door demanding money. They start ransacking the apartment while Jupiter's father asks them to leave.

One of the robbers picks up his telescope, causing him to stand and protest and beg them not to take it; one of the men shoots him in the chest. He dies instantly. Jupiter's mother cries and tries to get him to respond. He eyes are empty and open, he doesn’t respond. She places one of his hands on her belly and pleads "don't leave us." Then she takes his other hand and kisses it, continuing to cry.

Later, in a Container ship on the ocean.
Jupiter, in her voice over, tells us how she was born on the ship on the way to America: “In her grief, my mother pushed everyone out of her life, except her sister. And that’s how I was born inside a shipping container, in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, without a country, without a home.”

Her mother gives birth standing inside a shipping container crowded with people and stuff. Women gather around to help clean the baby. Jupiter’s aunt Nino holds baby Jupiter, wrapped in blankets, while she sits on the ledge of the open container, and points up into the night sky. She says “Jupiter.” Jupiter, in her voice over, states that she was born with Jupiter at 23 degrees ascendent. Her aunt, who believes in astrology, told her that she is destined for great things and to find her true love.

Present Day: The balcony of an apartment in Chicago.
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Jupiter (all grown up) stands on a balcony overlooking the city.

Jupiter’s voiceover: “the problem with astrology? Total bullshit.”
She turns and walks into an expensive looking apartment. She walks over to a vanity, and picks up diamond earrings, holding them to her ear and looking at herself in the mirror.

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Aleksa, Jupiter mother, calls her from another room. Jupiter replies and drops the earrings. Jupiter walks into another room holding a basket of cleaning supplies, her mother asks if she’s done, and Jupiter replies “almost. Her mother begins to complain as Jupiter rushes from the room. Cut to Jupiter cleaning out a toilet.

Some Alien planet
A young man,Titus Abrasax (Douglas Booth) and an older woman, Kalique Abrasax (Tuppence Middleton) walk along a bridge in an empty city. Vehicles and other assorted signs of life, like a grocery basket and a little doll, lay abandoned. Titus asks, “Have you ever seen a harvest?” Kalique replies, “No, never, but I hear it’s quite humane.” They come to a stop and suddenly a figure steps into the frame, as if out of nowhere. 

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Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne), looking older and quite put out, demands to know what Titus has called them together. Titus explains that he was feeling sentimental thinking of their mother, because it is her birthday.
Titus: “Balem, you’re looking rather [worn out]. Could it be that success does not sit well with you?”
Balem: “You are looking well, Titus. Could it be that failure suits you?”
Titus: “You may have inherited Mother’s head for business, but I had her heart.”
Kalique: “And what does that leave me?”
Titus: “Her beauty.”
Kalique (*still smiling*): “Liar.”
Titus: “Her humour.”
Kalique: (raises eyebrow)
Titus: “Her fetish for wrinkles.”
Balem interrupts, making a comment about Titus squandering away his inheritance. Titus addresses Balem, explaining that their mother had intended to give him a small planet that was part of her estate. He says it’s inconsequential, he pretends to not remember the name. Balem provides it, “Earth.” Kalique comments that Earth is worth all the planets in Titus’ holdings, a few times over. Titus feigns surprise, Balem looks annoyed and makes a quick farewell. He touches a button behind his ear and the scene around him dissolves leaving him in an ornate throne room.

[I adore all the coded talk and political maneuvering disguised as friendly family chit-chat, and how it shows so much important information. I wish exposition was handled this well throughout the movie. Key points: Titus is dick broke. Balem has the most money. They both hate each other, and don’t consider Kalique a real threat. Your typical dysfunction royal family. This tells us a lot about their mother too. Even more interesting they don't ever mention their father(s).]
[This is where we get the first exposition about the universe beyond Earth, and it’s so important to note the little details that will be echoed later on. It raises questions about how harvesting actually works. Also, Titus is a little shit compared to the other siblings, who are cordial to each other; as Balem leaves, he gives Kalique a formal little bow, and she returns in kind, as there isn’t any natural antagonism between them as they do with Titus. I need to re-watch it closely, but IIRC Balem cuts Titus off after the latter’s comment on Kalique’s wrinkles.]

Chicago, Jupiter’s house.
A narrow single bed, the occupant is covered by a blanket, feet and a single hand hang out. The alarm clock on the bedside table reads 3:45am. The alarm sounds, the hand slaps it off and Jupiter’s mother calls out to her, asking for her to get up and make the coffee. Jupiter pulls the blanket off her head and groans “I hate my life.” Montage of Jupiter and her family cleaning various luxury apartments, the day always starting with the alarm going off at 3.45am, Jupiter’s mother and aunt getting out of bed, and Jupiter mumbling “I hate my life” -- each time they’re in an apartment, Jupiter admires something in it, holds up a dress to herself, interrupted by her mother who asks if she’s finished the bathroom and hands her a bucket. Cut to several more scenes: Jupiter vacuuming, Jupiter cleaning another toilet, Jupiter taking out garbage from a kitchen and throwing it into the dumpster, Jupiter arranging pillows onto a girl’s bed, Jupiter cleaning more toilets. The cycles of Jupiter cleaning continues, vacuuming, making beds, cleaning a toilet again, and one last shot of Jupiter in bed groaning one last time, “I hate my life.”

[Mila Kunis, in an interview, said that Jupiter hates her life, but is kind of lazy and not very moved to change it for the better. And that could mean all sorts of things, but it might also explain why we don’t see Jupiter attending college or something.]
[I love how relatable she is in that way. I know I was like this in my 20s. Hating life, but unmotivated to do anything about it. Jupiter is such a great YA/NA heroine in that way.]

Chicago, an alley at night.
A shadow figure backlit, walks down the alley toward a doorway. He blows it in, and enters the building.
On the rooftop of a nearby building, Razo (Doona Bae), Asian woman with 3D flower tattoos on her face and electric blue cyber dreads. She crouches on the ledge, while Ibis (David Ajala), a black man with feathers in place of his facial hair stands beside her. Razo identifies the man as a Skyjacker. Ibis asks how she knows, she points, “the boots.” (The boots glow a little.) Another man joins them, Falque (Spencer Wilding), with a telescoping eye-monocle, joins them. He discusses rumors about a hunter who is said to be the best, driven, a unstoppable force.
[Cue mysterious man trope and the unironic gif with said exposition in bold white text.] tumblr_niyg38aMco1twlhteo1_500.gif

Ibis says it doesn’t matter, he’s not going to let this man cut in on their bounty. Razo climbs on a speeder bike, and it powers up lifting off the roof. As she glides over the edge of the buildy the air around her ripples and then she and the bike become invisible.

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Inside the building the man, Caine, is going through files. He stops on a sheet of paper marked with the name Katherine DunLevy. He smells the paper. Flash of an image, a woman’s arm surrounded by orange gold light. He is getting the image from the scent. As he leaves the file room he stops, seemingly noticing something is up. Close up on his hand, buttons appear from his gloves. He seems to punch in a code, and the bottoms of his boots light up. He lifts off the ground. A oval, translucent shield appears on his arm, seemingly generated by his wrist cuff.

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He charges through the doorway and right into a firefight. The hunters are attacking, the two men from the ground and Razo from the air on her speeder bike. Caine uses his anti-gravity boots to skate, flip, and maneuver his way around the alley and up the fire escapes of the building to fend off the attack with his shield and returning fire with his own gun, that makes a barking sound when it fires. [Can we just repeat for you that this gun MAKES A BARKING SOUND because between the boots and the gun, we’re starting to establish certain logicks of the wider universe within this one scene!

He manages to shoot Falque who is knocked down, and escape. Frustrated Razo returns to Ibis, saying, “We should warn Lord Balem.” Ibis glances at Falque in the distance, and then turns to her to say, “I’m working on another deal. Do you trust me?”

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Alien Planet, Kalique’s home.
[I don’t remember any of the dialogue from this scene, but I know the gist of what’s going. Still, don’t take my account of it as gospel.]
Kalique is speaking with her advisor, Malidictes (an owl man) who is explaining that Titus and Balem are close to getting their hands on her mother’s recurrence. He tells her there is an opportunity for her to get Jupiter, and they discuss the danger and benefits of getting involved. She wants to know if hunters can be trusted; Malidictes reminds her that hunters only have their own interests at heart. Kalique emphasizes that her involvement must never be exposed.

As they talk they walk out onto a balcony. Beautifully dressed humanoids and androids stand around (like living decorations) , some serve food on trays. Kalique picks up something that looks like a marshmallow from one of the trays and eats it while she talks, never once acknowledging the servant with the tray or the others around her. Then she turns to Malidictes and says something like “make the deal.” He taps a digital pad in his hand as she walks away, an entourage of pretty people training after her.
[It’s seems pretty obvious from the conversation that Kalique was already aware of Jupiter’s existence. I suspect all three siblings knew about her, but chose not to act until one of the others did so. It’s likely they all enjoyed their inheritance and weren’t going to rush to acknowledge one of their mother’s recurrences and have some of their wealth snatched away. Titus tipped his hand when he mentioned Earth, and now it’s confirmed he and Balem are after Jupiter.]
[This makes me wonder if Titus’ mention of their mother’s birthday had anything to do with them guessing that their mother’s Recurrence was born.]

Space, near Jupiter (the planet).
A spaceship *materializes beside Jupiter (the planet). The ship is massive and menacing.
[*This effect is used for the space travel, cloaking and to allow people to pass through glass (windows and floors). It’s been suggested these might all be different applications of a type of technology that involves manipulate space, moving it around an object. This idea could also work on light, allowing an object to appear invisible.] [My personal theory is, transport portal!]

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Inside the ship, Balem is naked in a pool of liquid, and he now looks much younger: his hair is no longer graying, the skin around his eyes is taut and fresh. Before him is a floor to ceiling window looking out on the space as his ship approaches Jupiter. Lots of sexy lingering shots on his wet naked body from above, and face.

The ship flies into the Jupiter’s atmosphere, passing through the stormy surface to reveal an massive refinery inside. [I say refinery, but it looks like a giant space cathedral.] [It’s still a harvesting facility, just with a ton of baroque decor.]

Balem’s ship docks, he and a massive entourage exit the ship along a long walk way. He is seated in a floating chariot, with a living woman as a golden adornment on the front (built into the chariot). They are greeted by Chicanery Night (a rodent man) who informs that someone has been sent after the recurrence. A winged lizard man, Greeghan, steps forward to inform Balem that the recurrence has been located on Earth under the name “Dunlevy. Katherine Dunlevy.” Balem orders them to kill her.

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Meanwhile back in Chicago
A half naked blond woman, Katherine Dunlevy, is rushing around her bedroom with dresses, holding them up in front of a mirror and then casting them aside. Jupiter enters the room with her cleaning supplies and Katherine calls her over to ask her advice. They talk about the man Katherine is seeing, and how she thinks he’s going to propose. Katherine is excited and terrified. Jupiter advises her to be honest with her boyfriend and ask for more time to think. Saying if he really loves her he’ll understand. Katherine agrees, then asks Jupiter for advice on what to wear.

Jupiter goes to the closet to help Katherine pick out a dress, mentioning “the McQueen”. Once inside the closet she hears a strange sound and is about to call out to Katherine when she see little grey aliens (later we learn they’re called Keepers) surrounding Katherine’s unconscious body. Her body suddenly floats up a few inches off the floor and the Keepers rotate her, putting a some kind of injector gun into the back of her neck. The cylinder in the gun glows red, to the consternation of the Keeper. Jupiter takes a picture of them with her cell phone only to have it suddenly ring, a call from her mother. She silences it, but it’s too late the Keepers run at her and everything goes dark.

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Katherine sits up on her bed when a horn honks. A man’s voice yells at her through the open window. She comes back to herself and calls back to her boyfriend. She seems unphased, as if she has no memory of the Keepers. She turns to Jupiter who is standing just inside the closet holding a dress in her hands, and blinking. She too looks confused, but gives no indication she remembers the Keepers either. [Pretty much your standard mind wipe stuff, like Men in Black 3 only it's the aliens doing it to humans.]

Jupiter’s home.
Jupiter’s family is seated around the dinner table, everyone eating. Her uncle sits at the head of the table, he tells her mother that he has another house for her to clean on Wednesdays. Aleksa replies that Wednesday is full. He says he’ll give the house to another crew, she relents and accepts the additional work. Jupiter begins to ask her uncle a question, but he interrupts her saying he already knows she’s going to ask for an advance on her pay to buy more expensive things she doesn’t need. Her cousin, Vladie, looks slightly concerned.
Vassily: "You’re a smart girl, Jupiter, that is why you are still not married."
Aleksa: (in Russian) "That has nothing to do with anything!"
Vassily: "English please!"
Aleksa: (in Russian) "I will stuff this latke down your throat!"
Vassily’s wife: (in Russian) "Vassily is right, though."
Aleksa: (in Russian) "I’ve got a latke for you too, bitch!"
Vassily: "Enough, please! Jupiter, what is the money for?"
She looks like she’s going to argue for a second, and then reconsiders, telling him never mind.
After dinner she’s in the basement on a computer looking at an online auction for a telescope that looks like the one her father had owned.

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Her cousin, Valdie, enters the room asking “What was that about? You’re not having second thoughts.” She sighs, and he begins to explain that the arrangement he’s made will be easy and painless. She gets defensive, saying that the wording is creepy, “why do they call it harvesting anyway?” and Vladie snatches the flier from her, “why are you even reading that? This is going to be the easiest money we’ve ever made. Jupiter, with this money, our lives, my life, is going to change for the better, it’s going to mean something.” Convinced, she relents, saying she’s not backing out. Then she asks “Why am I getting five thousand, while you get ten. They’re my eggs.” Vladie smiles and says “Capitalism baby, shit rolls down hill, profits roll up.”

[This scene establishes a few things: the pecking order in the house, the family dynamics, and why Jupiter is the way she is. The way Vassily talks down to her sounds like he’s had to tell her off for wanting unnecessary things before, which makes her longing for a telescope all the more poignant. When folks criticize Jupiter for being “too passive” I suspect this scene contributes to that impression; a “feisty” or “strong-minded” female character might talk back, give some rebellious lip. Jupiter doesn’t, and I also suspect that respect for one’s elders is part of this dynamics, aside from being worn down from dismissal. And all she really wants is that telescope and she’s not terribly ambitious, so she doesn’t see the point in fighting Vladie further on the money thing.]
[I think it also has to do with being working class poor. It's obvious the entire family lives in that small house, that looks over loaded and held together with shoe-strings and duct tape (seriously as much care that's put in to the overblown space cathedrals is present in the set design of Jupiter's home). This felt like a house I grew up in, with too many people and second hand everything. So I see Jupiter's desire for stuff as also an escape from poverty, and the respect she shows her uncle a part of respecting the person who keeps them working, brings in the money.]

Clinic
Jupiter sits in the reception area, nervously toying with her cell phone. The other women around her give her looks, and she turns on her phone to find the picture she took. She stares at the image of the Keepers and Katherine, confused. A nurse appears in the reception area calling Katherine’s name, and Jupiter gets up to follower her.
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In the exam room, Jupiter is on the table confused and resistant to the doctors. The doctors around her reassure her it’s fine, and place a mask on her face. She panics, and the doctors restrain her and put strange bands around her wrists and ankles. The bands light up and she floats off the table. Still confused, she flails in midair, but gets nowhere. The doctors turn her over. One says “check to make sure it’s her.” One of the nurses puts the same kind of injector gun the alien’s had against Jupiter’s neck. The cylinder glows a different color this time. The nurse says “it’s her.” The doctors replies “Good. Kill her.” The nurse fiddles with the settings on the machine connected to Jupiter’s mask and she begins to lose consciousness.

[YOU KNOW WHEN WE TALK ABOUT MEDICAL CONSENT? IF THEY DON’T GET YOUR CONSENT THEY MIGHT BE LITTLE GREY ALIENS WAITING TO KILL YOU. Just sayin’.]
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Suddenly, Caine bursts into the room and begins to fight the doctors who have transformed back into the Keepers. He kills them all, and then pulls the mask from Jupiter’s face, turning her over in his arms. She looks at him “Who are you?” He replies “I’m Caine Wise, I’m here to help.” Jupiter promptly faints.

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Interior of an empty skyscraper under construction
Jupiter wakes up on the floor over a half finished level of a business building. Caine stands at a drafting table, his back to her. She spots a gun on the floor next to her and she grabs it, immediately pointing it at him. He says “I left it there to make you feel more comfortable. You should flip the switch by your thumb though” She demands to know where they are. Caine says “You’re still in Chicago.” She notices she’s dressed in her street clothes again. Caine explains that the clinic gown was very thin, but quickly goes silent when she glares at him.

She asks if he’s an alien, he says “I’m a Lycantent, bred for the military.” Caine goes on to explain that Splices, like him, are genetically engineered (human dna spliced with animal) to create more efficient/effective soldiers/servants/etc. He is a Lycantent, his human genome has been spliced with the dna of a wolf. The Keepers who attacked her are observers and caretakers of earth. Her records in the clinic tipped them off to her existence. He sits down opposite her and tries to explain, invoking protocols. He says “It can be difficult for people from underdeveloped worlds to hear that their planet is not the only inhabited planet.” Jupiter says it can’t be real. He says that his trainer said she would say that. She says it must be a dream. He says they said she would definitely say that. Then he asks “Do really believe the idea that you’re the only intelligent species in a universe so full of planets that you don’t even have a number to describe how many there are?”
[I LOVE this scene so much. Caine is so at ease doing his whole hunter thing. It’s really interesting to see how his behavior toward Jupiter changes later.]

Jupiter refinery.
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Balem is overseeing the refinery while Chicanery goes over the production report. The floor beneath their feet is translucent, revealing the refinery below. A chamber holds naked human bodies being probed with needles. Balem asks how the sample crop looks. Chicanery reports that they look promising, that this is a very “robust” crop and that their projections say if they allow Earth to seed for another century the harvest will yield an unprecedented profit. Tsalikan enters, the floor becomes solid and Balem takes a seat on a floating count (seems to use similar technology as Caine’s boots). The lizard man informs him that Jupiter has escaped, but they know who took her. A Lycantet named Caine Wise. Balem orders them to “Bring her to me.” 

Then yells “Go.”

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[I could stare at this all day long.]

Chicago, skyscraper

Jupiter’s hand is sticking out of the window of the skyscraper, the glass around it ripples. [That displacement/teleport technology being used. Allowing the glass to be like water for them to step through.] She pulls her hand back into the building and marvels at the technology. Caine activates his boots, and levitates off the floor.

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Jupiter: “Are those flying boots?”
Caine: “They use the force of gravity redirecting into equation slips that you can surf.”
Jupiter: *stares at him obviously overwhelmed* “Yeah, I heard gravity and surf.”
Caine: *chuckles under his breath as if realizing that he’s overloading her with too information* “Up is hard, down is easy.”
Jupiter: *smiles and nods* “Thanks. *She looks back down at his boots as if she’s still coming to grips with the reality that he’s floating off the ground* “Wow.”
A powering up sound, Caine looks at the window.
Caine: “Our ride’s here.” *He turns to Jupiter* “You ready?”
Jupiter: “Ready to walk out a hundred story window with you in your gravity boots on to an invisible spaceship-”
Caine: “This might be easier.” *cuts her off by picking her up*

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Jupiter lets out a yelp and Caine steps out of the window into a tractor beam that begins to lift them up alongside the building toward a decloaked ship hovering above the city. Jupiter is understandably shaken by being so high above the city with no visible connections to anything, then her expression turns to wonder. Then ships fly in and shoot of Caine’s ship destroying it and the tractor beam disappears.

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Caine and Jupiter fall, he’s able to catch her. Jupiter climbs onto Caine’s back, while the alien chase after them. Caine is able to steal one of the ships (Jupiter climbs in with him) and proceeds to dogfight them throughout the city, finally destroying the last enemy ship by crashing his own ship through it. Both ships are torn apart. Jupiter is safe in what’s left of the cockpit which is falls from the sky, Caine is able to pull her from it before she falls, and they gravity surf away.
[This is a long drawn out action sequence that eats up a lot of time. It is visually cool, but I would have been fine with it being half as long if it meant I had more screen time between Jupiter and Caine.]
[There are some very interesting camera angles happening in this action sequence which are super interesting, like when Caine swerves over the train. It’s a bit discombobulating at first, but on a second watch, hella fun.]


Chicago, on the road
Jupiter and Caine are leaving the city in a car. He is driving while she demands answers from him from the passenger seat. She looks out the back window at the city, buildings are still in smoking ruins. “How are people going to not notice we destroyed half the city.” He tells her to look at the city again, she does and the smoke is gone. Caine says the damage will be fixed by the end of the day, and that anyone who saw it won’t remember it. Jupiter asks how that can happened, he responds “You have a picture on your phone you don’t remember taking.” He explains that they fix this issues, and erase the memories of anyone who saw it. “Some are missed, but no one believes them.”

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She notices he’s bleeding, he dismisses it as nothing. Ignoring him, she digs in the glove compartment, and says “You’re lucky the owner of this car is a woman.” She pulls out a sanitary pad and places it on his wound. [The look on Caine’s face when he sees the pad is PRICELESS! For the record: this is the second, time in a film, that Channing Tatum has had a period product used on him as first aid. The first was She’s the Man.]

As they drive out of the city and into the countryside he explains that the universe is controlled by powerful dynasties, the most powerful one is the Abrasax industries. The primary heirs of which are Titus, Kalique, and the oldest, Balem who wants her dead. She asks why and he confesses he doesn’t know, he had asked Titus about the job, and Titus would only say “it’s personal” but he knows someone who might be able to help.
Jupiter also writers a note to the owner of the car, explaining to Caine “so they know who borrowed it.”

Jupiter refinery
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The scene of the Keepers' attempt to kill Jupiter in the clinic plays, in slow motion. Balem leans down towards the face of the Jupiter sim, reaching a hand out as if to touch her face. "There are murmurs that I miss you... because no one understood the universe as you did... because no one understood me as you did..." He straightens, touches a button behind his ear, and the scene disappears, turning into Balem’s wide window overlooking the Jupiter refinery. Balem demands to know how a single Lycantant could have taken out all of Tsalikan’s Keepers, and Tsalikan rumbles, “It was a mistake, they underestimated him.”

Without turning around, Balem replies over his shoulder, “Then the next mistake, I hold you accountable.” [His face was in such perfect profile here!] [His everything in this scene is perfection.] [One could almost mistake his expression when leaning over Jupiter for All The Eyes of Sad and all the shippers get on board, and then later we find out he’s talking about his mom. Sheesh!]

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Farm house
Jupiter and Caine arrive at a secluded farm house that is covered in beehives. As they approach the house a man, Stinger Apini, emerges from the house with a rifle aimed at Caine. They exchange words, Caine apologizes and Stinger doesn’t seem to be in the forgiving mood. They begin to fight, Stinger clearly bitter about Caine showing up “just after I settled and was beginning to forget what I threw down the shitter for you.” Caine, kicked to the ground, groans, “where’s Kiza? She always heard my side of the story.” “You stay away from my daughter!”
Kiza, Stinger’s daughter, emerges from the house (“Oi, keep me out of your male mating rituals”) and introduces herself to Jupiter, unphased by the brawling men, who destroy promptly half of the porch. As they talk Jupiter becomes increasingly distressed by the bees that are starting to swarm around her her. She starts to yell and swat at them as she runs into the front yard.

Stinger immediately stop fighting, and stare as the bees swarm around Jupiter who has realized that the bees are not only NOT stinging her they’re following the movements of her hands. Stinger immediately drops to one knee and says “Your majesty.” Caine follows suit, looking stunned.
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[The whole time I watched this scene I could hear Eddie Izzard saying “Covered in Bees!”]

The move into the house, the interior is just as riddled with beehives as the outside, and every available surface (doorframes, mantel, shelves) are covered in jars of honey. Tons of rusty bits of Steampunk tech and rustic farmhouse nick nacks are lying in piles all over every available surface. Stinger is fiddling with what looks like a mini-satellite, and explains that he has signaled to the Aegis, but that Balem has set up a blockade around the planet. Jupiter still has a few bees following her hand as she waves it around, and watches like a kid with a new toy, while Stinger explains the bees are genetically designed to recognize royalty. Jupiter doesn’t believe him, but he insists. “Bees don’t lie.”

Stinger rummages around the messy house, complains about Caine bring disgrace on them both, stripping them of their wings. “You guys had wings?” Jupiter asks, while Caine takes off his shirt to reveal to circular scars on his upper back. “Best cybernetics implants the military could buy,” Stinger confirms, and then notices the sanitary pad stuck to the wound on Caine’s chest. Caine looks chagrined. Stinger rips off the pad, and sprays the wound with some kind of fluid in a hexagonal cylinder, marked with a bee. Caine’s wound heals instantly. Jupiter is stunned. Stinger mumbles about the complication of having a Royal, and that the Aegis won’t arrive until the next day. Jupiter receives a phone call from Vladie.

Vladie is at home, playing a game on his new wide-screen TV. “Easiest money we ever made! I told you right? Everyone was worried when you didn’t come home last night but I covered for you.”
Jupiter: Uhm, yeah, it didn’t happen.
Vladie: *drops his game controller, picks up the phone to hold it to his hear* What?
Jupiter: I know, I’m sorry.
Vladie: Oh my god… you have to re-schedule.
Jupiter: I know, I will, just… tell everyone I’ll be home soon, okay? *hangs up*
Vladie, shocked, whispers, “I already spent the money.”
Their little cousin on the floor smiles at home. “You’re in trouble~~”
Vladie makes a face. “YOU’re in trouble!” then rushes up the stairs in a clear panic.

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Meanwhile, Caine and Stinger and discussing srs bzns.
Stinger: We’re going to need a plan.
Caine: We need firepower. If Balem has ordered a blockade, he’s not going to give up without a fight.
Stinger tosses Caine a key, telling him to check the stash in the back. Caine leaves.
[This is where Caine becomes allergic to shirts.] [And all of us sexually attracted to buff male bodies sang “glory glory hallelujah~~”]

Jupiter asks if Caine is angry at her or something, and Stinger says, “if he were mad at you, you’d know.” Jupiter notices the mark on Stinger’s neck, and remarks on it. Stinger explains they’re the Seal of the Splicer, a mark made by the geneticist that bred them. Stinger explains that [something something probably his splicer] loved bees.

Stinger: “Caine is complicated. He’s a Lycantent, without a pack. Bad luck to be born half-albino, runt of the litter. The Splicer who bred him had to sell him off to the legion at a loss.”  Turns out that Lycantents need a pack to feel whole. Without one Caine is kind of broken. It makes him a great hunter, focused, and unrelenting. He and Stinger are on bad terms because Caine attacked an entitled, “ripped out his throat.” Stinger took responsibility, to save Caine from being killed, and they were both kicked out of the legion. He was banished to “this backwater planet.” Jupiter asks him to clarify further what is going on.

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[Cue all the sexy Bee Daddy fantasies.]

Stinger goes looking for some tablets which are like little Hitchhiker’s Guides to the Galaxy, except brass, and he explains that humans did not originate on Earth. The tablet explodes, to his disgust, but he carries on anyway. He explains that humans have existed for many millennia. They’ve seeded planets, like Earth, with human life allow them to overpopulate and then they harvest. Stingers: “Your world was seeded by Abrasax industry roughly one hundred thousand years ago.” He explains that an “extinction level event” was used to wipe out most of the lifeforms on the plant, some were harvested for genetic splicing. Jupiter interrupts to say “wait, you’re talking the dinosaurs. They wiped out the Dinosaurs to make humans.” Stinger finishes his explanation, and Jupiter says she doesn’t understand why nobody knows.
Stinger: "I don’t think anybody would want to know about that."
Jupiter: "I do."
[Remember what I said earlier about Jupiter and believing in people? She thinks she’s cynical, and this is the first we see of something of her core, the part that believes in people.]
[Cynics are just idealists who are beaten down by disappointment.]

Shed out back
Caine pauses in his inspection of the weapons, and his ears twitch. He steps outside to have a better listen.

Edge of the Cornfield near Stinger’s house.
Ibis, Falque, and Razo (on her speeder), joined by the Keepers  lurk near by. They are sneak through the corn, Razo goes invisible.

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[Doona Bae is so much cooler than everyone.]

Farm House
Caine stands in the front yard sniffing the air and growling. [*makes a dying whale sound and fangirl flails*] He runs back into the house to warn them. Stinger grabs a gun and takes Jupiter out of the house, while Caine starts shooting through the wall at something outside. A large chunk of the wall blows away, and he’s knocked over. Caine fights with Falque.

Stinger and Jupiter flee out the front of the house, and are met by Ibis with some kind of Foghorn gun thing that Stinger recognizes before he blows him backward. Jupiter looks stuck, but the bees swarm towards Falque, attacking him and giving Jupiter time. She takes off toward the corn field, the Keepers take off after her. She loses them in the cornfield, and doubles back to the house only to be knocked out by Ibis, with the Foghorn gun. Falque and the Keepers appear to collect Jupiter. Razo shoots them all, except for Ibis, who takes out Falque and says something like “I told you to trust me.”

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Caine emerges from the house as Razo and Ibris take Jupiter into their ship. He runs after them, and manages to grab onto the landing platform, and sneak inside the ship before it takes off. It leaves Earth’s atmosphere and through a wormhole.

Alien Planet, Kalique’s home.
The Hunter’s ship arrives on Kalique’s home planet. As it flies towards her home, Caine slips out of the ship and drops down out of sight. They ship lands, Raze and Ibris collect their fee, a stack of cylinders marked with a bee (Renex?) from Malidictes.

Jupiter awakens in a room. She’s wearing a long purple dress, and the beam of blue light levitates her off the bed (much like the tractor beam used by Caine and the Hunter’s ships). An automated voice greets her, and informs her she’s on a different planet from Earth. Kalique enters and introduces herself.
Kalique: “It’s really quite astonishing.”
Jupiter: “What is?”
Kalique: “It’ll be easier to show you. Come.”

Temple
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Jupiter and Kalique walk through a shrine, covered in lit candles, toward a statue of a woman who looks exactly like Jupiter.
Jupiter: “Could this get any weirder?”
Kalique: “Imagine it for me. Meeting your mother long after she’s passed away.”
Jupiter: *looks at Kalique* “But I am not your mother.”
Kalique: “Your planet is just now entering its genetic age. You understand very little of something that is a vital part of our reality. In our world genes have an almost spiritual significance. They are the seeds of immortality. When the exact same genes in exactly the same order it is for us what you call reincarnation.”
Jupiter: “How could I be a reincarnation of your mother unless your mother was from Earth?”
Kalique: “My mother was born before your cities were built.”

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Jupiter makes a crack about her being a vampire. Kalique laughs, saying that she is just as human as Jupiter, just gifted with more advanced technology. Though, she admits that they (entitled humans) are the inspiration for some of those stories. She asks Jupiter to guess her age. Jupiter guess late thirties. Kalique laughs and confesses she “recently celebrated her fourteenth millennia.” “You’re 14 thousand year’s old?” “14,004, to be exact.” Jupiter asks if they clone themselves, and Kalique says no, clones don’t have the genetic plasticity, and the last time cloning was popular, humanity almost wiped itself out from lack of genetic diversity.

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Kalique takes Jupiter to her another chamber. She undresses and steps into a pool of liquid, while servants around her push buttons on a control station nearby. Kalique completely immerses herself. When she emerges she is much younger. Jupiter is stunned. Kalique smiles and tells Jupiter that great wonders are in store, while a servant waves a hairstyling wand over her hair and two others dress her. “Feel my skin!” Kalique tells Jupiter. [It’s really interesting to see the difference in how Kalique dresses after she youthens (is that a word? we’re making that a word) She goes from matronly to sexy.] [I thought her previous dresses were pretty sexy. More importantly, I want that hairstyling wand.]

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They walk down a corridor. Jupiter asks, “I don’t understand, how can a single person own the entire Earth?” Kalique explains that Earth is a small part of much bigger industry. When Jupiter asks what industry, Kalique replies that while people on Earth fight over commodities, like land or oil, “ we discovered long ago the most precious commodity is more time.” Kalique explains that once Jupiter claims her title she’ll inherit the Earth. “It is common for people in the first estate to leave a trust for a potential recurrence. My mother wrote her future self into her will. Right now Balem owns the title to Earth, but once you claim it the Earth will belong to you.” She goes on to say that “When you have the power the change the lives of your family for the better, and all you have to do is close your eyes.”
Jupiter: “Close your eyes to what?”
Caine interrupts. He has back up from Aegis, space police. Kalique appears unphased, and wishes Jupiter all the best in her new life, and Jupiter looks relieved to get out there.

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[SEE? How much time has passed and Caine STILL hasn’t bothered to put on a shirt. No time for shirts when there are space princesses to defend!] [And it makes sense as part of the plot!]

Aboard the Aegis Command Ship
Jupiter is welcomed aboard by Captain Diomika Tsing (Nikki Amuka-Bird), and her crew Gemma Chatterjee (Christina Cole), Phylo Percadium (Ramon Tikaram), Nesh (Nicholas A. Newman), and with various other splices and cybernetic beings. Stinger’s there too, and Jupiter gives him a hug.

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Captain Tsing tells Jupiter they’ll be escorting her to Orus, the human homeworld, where she can claim her inheritance. Jupiter thanks them. Then asks if she can change her clothes.
Jupiter: “I’m actually feeling a little over dressed. So, if there’s something I could change into… by myself.” *she gives Caine a side eye* “While I’m awake.”
Caine: *feigns innocence and confusion* “What?”

Jupiter’s quarters
Jupiter is dressed in form fitting pants and top, looking much more comfortable. The door to her quarters chimes and she immediately looks confused. “Come in. I don’t know how to open it.” The door opens to reveal Caine, in a similarly slimming black outfit. He hands her some pills and a bit of water, because space travel can be a bit rough “on the royal bowels.” “My bowels are anything but royal,” Jupiter jokes.
They continue to make some awkward small talk and the Jupiter gets down to business. Thus begins one of the most awkward seduction scene in sci fi history.
Jupiter: “Caine said you attacked an Entitled once.”
Caine: “Stinger talks too much.”
Jupiter: “Is it true?”
Caine: “It doesn’t matter.”
Jupiter: “We all do things we can’t explain.”
Caine: *look guilty and confused* “I don’t remember any of it. They said it was in my genes. A defect of my genome engineering.”
Jupiter: *chuckles sardonically and inches closer to Caine* “That could explain a lot things about me. Like the fact that I have an uncanny ability to fall for men who don’t fall for me. Maybe I have a defective engineering too. If that’s that case is there anyway of fixing it?”
Caine: “You are royalty now. I’m a splice. You don’t understand what that means, but I have more in common with a dog than I have with you.”
Jupiter: “I love dogs. I’ve always loved dogs.”
Caine makes a hasty, awkward exit. Once alone Jupiter repeats her last words to him out loud, as if she can’t believe she actually said them.

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[Look at my beautiful babies! Also, can we talk about how this scene mirrors the time back in the office building in Chicago, only here the power dynamic is flipped. Now, Jupiter is the one with power being all chatty, while Caine is all laconic and out of his depths. Also note how Jupiter kind of enjoys it.] [I still think that when she repeats it after he’s gone, it’s like she just had a revelation!!]

TO BE CONTINUED...

Head on over to Jaymee's blog A Probability of Being for Part 2!