While the talk of late has been “don’t bash 50 Shades or moviemakers won’t make love stories,” people seem to be missing the big screen love story that’s not about a stalkery billionaire and his red room of pain. Reviews tend to focus on the fact that the Cinderella story of Jupiter Jones doesn’t quite work out—she starts out scrubbing toilets and she’s still scrubbing toilets at the end.
But the problem with these reviews is that Jupiter Ascending isn’t a fairy tale. It isn’t supposed to end with the heroine marrying well and never having to do a lick of work. No, Jupiter Ascending is a genre romance, and for that there has to be an ending where the heroine does something worthwhile and her lover enhances her life in significant ways but does not remove her from it. She is an active participant in her own life, making decisions and sacrifices, growing and changing. In a romance, it is not necessary that she stop cleaning toilets for a living; what has to happen is that her life has to improve in some fashion and that improvement has to be precipitated by the presence of the hero.
In Jupiter Ascending, it is Caine who literally transforms, and whose daily life undergoes a massive change. Jupiter’s alterations are quieter, not so visible, but just as fundamental. As in all good romances, both grow and learn to find satisfaction in their lives, satisfaction that would not be possible without the other’s presence.
Yes, it was glowing and glitzy and chock full of crazy. Yes, there were plot holes. Yes, you can pick it apart with relative ease if you think about it too hard. But at heart it’s a lovely, romantic story with the trappings of sci-fi.