Friday, June 5, 2015

Similarities between Jupiter Ascending and Baroque Space Opera

I finally got around to watching Jupiter Ascending. If there was a movie that espouses the look and aesthetic of Baroque Space Opera, then this comes pretty damn close. I loved the background and concepts, but the story was... trivially weak. It reminded me of Guardians of the Galaxy, another story that was incredibly weak. Both plots could be summarized in 2 or less paragraphs. Unfortunately that is the sad state of Hollywood films these days. :/

This entry is not about the plot though. Jupiter Ascending had many similarities with Baroque Space Opera, and that is why it kept my attention through the movie. I was more interested in the intricate scenes than the weak story.

The following is a list of very strong similarities between Jupiter Ascending (JA) and Baroque Space Opera (BSO):

  • In JA, Balem, the main bad guy, has huge lizardmen who are his shock troops. In BSO, the Tyrant has his Dominars: hulking lizardmen who are the shock troopers of the Dominion.
  • Energy shields in JA are directional and behave like normal shields. In BSO, shunt shields deflect energy and are also directional.
  • The spaceships of the elite in JA are majestic and beautiful, as are the ships of the Pharisto rulers.
  • Looks like teleportation drives are used in JA. In BSO, the Loom Drive allows near instant travel between points in space.
  • Genetics is a strong theme in JA, as it is in BSO. The Splicers/Spliced are similar to the Chimeras -- products of the Genesis Adepts in BSO.
  • Immortality is the most sought after thing in JA, as it is in BSO. The Tyrant has control of the gift of immortality, and he uses it as the ultimate carrot.
  • Planets like earth are ruled by the hidden elite in JA. In BSO this is also similar where the Pharistos pose as gods and deceive entire populations in order to keep their servitude.
  • Many myths and legends of earth are the result of the elite intervention in JA; this is also so in BSO on many Dominated Planets.
  • Gravity is just a word in JA, likewise in BSO.
  • Everything is larger than life in JA, as it is in BSO.
  • Wings are a status symbol in JA, as they are in BSO.
All those similarities were quite striking to me while I watched the film. This kept me interested and watching. At the end, I could not tell whether I was disappointed or not because of the above. One thing is certain, I want to watch it again to look at the backgrounds, ships, and elaborate detail everywhere.