When I was little, I used to doodle my dreams out on paper. Since the majority of my time was spent watching anime and Sci-Fi, most of my dreams were me as a princess with tons of powers and importance, guys with angel wings, and anything else that falls into the nerdy realm of thinking. And, as a kid, I never found a movie that perfectly explained every one of my pre-teen fantasies. But little did I know, at the age of 25, I’d finally see the movie that would fulfill all those immature wants and wishes. And its name is Jupiter Ascending.
Our film tells the story of Jupiter, a Russian immigrant who works as a house cleaner. We learn that Jupiter is destined to be a special snowflake, the kind that many a fan fiction is written over. She even gets the most epic of introductions, one that involves destiny, telescopes, and awesome fake pregnant bellies. There is also Channing Tatum, who plays Cain, a half wolf half human bounty hunter who is looking for Jupiter and tells her she is the reincarnation of a Space Queen. Also there’s bees that sense royalty, Gargoyles rip-off aliens, and an elephant that flies a spaceship. Cinematic classic? I think so.
Most people will say that Jupiter Ascending could be one of the stupidest of movies they’ve ever seen…. or is it? An article, written by HitFix’s Donna Dickens, explores many of the fascinating reasons why JA is sort of an odd success, in terms of its cult female fan base. This, and many other write ups and Tumblr posts got me thinking…. what exactly stands as a “Chick Flick”?
Let’s begin by looking at a definition, via the Urban Dictionary….
“A film that indulges in the hopes and dreams of women and/or girls. A film that has a happy, fuzzy, ridiculously unrealistic ending.
My best friend’s wedding, Mona Lisa Smile, Runaway Bride, The Wedding Planner, Maid in Manhattan, Josie and the pussycats, Mean girls, A cinderella story, Freaky Friday…. I could go on forever!” (Source)
If you didn’t notice, the movies mentioned as examples of “The Chick Flick” are, by most accounts, Teen movies, Rom-Coms or Dramas. Interestingly, none of them are from the Sci-Fi, Action or Fantasy genre, all three of which describe Jupiter Ascending‘s placement within our internal Blockbuster filling system.
But then let’s examine the definition itself. It says that the film must bring about the “hopes and dreams” of the female audience member, and must end on a positive, completely non-plausible note. Well, Jupiter Ascending fits that criteria quite perfectly. We have a girl who is deemed a special snowflake of magical, space opera epicness, who is important to the industrial system of the entire universe, and by the end abandons the threat that is possibly in store for her planet, so that she can ride on rocket shoes with her angel wolf boyfriend. If that isn’t a Chick Flick, I don’t know what is.
But now the question stands, what exactly is so scary about Jupiter Ascending being labeled with such a title? Well, it depends on who you ask.
Many will say that being labeled a Chick Flick is not a positive thing. And yeah, I’ll be honest, there was a time that I myself in film school would get offended whenever my fellow (
mostly male) students would refer to my favorite movie as such. So why is it so wrong for women to have films that indulge our middle school fantasies, just like guys do with their similar silly and ridiculous traits? Spoiler alert: it’s not.
Gone are the times that women, in their cinematic dreams, only want to find hot individuals on rainy days and go to their swanky high-rise apartments. Dashed away are the thoughts that women only dream of weddings and babies. We now dream in a big scope, where we can be the President, the space queen, the hero and more.
So sure, maybe Jupiter Ascending isn’t the greatest movie of all time, but it did something that most modern films haven’t tried: Changing what we consider to be a movie geared towards women. And Lana Wachowski, for all her weird elephant pilots and gene spliced wolf men, should be respected for that. And if a Chick Flick now means movies that inspire women to think creatively outside the box, I totally support that. Even if that creativity means bees, royal or otherwise.
Have you seen Jupiter Ascending? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!