Jupiter Ascending - 2D and 3D Blu-ray Disc Review

Jupiter Ascending - 2D and 3D Blu-ray Disc Packages
Jupiter Ascending - 2D and 3D Blu-ray Disc Packages. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

From the team that brought you The Matrix, comes another epic Sci-Fi film, Jupiter Ascending, which, unfortunately, didn't do well at the box office ($200 million world wide of a $176 million dollar budget), and did not get the good reviews that they hoped for. However, theatrical films can get a second life on Blu-ray, and although the story is sort of convoluted, the Blu-ray presentation features a stellar visual look and a great action soundtrack. However, is that enough to make you want to buy it for your Blu-ray Disc collection. To further assist in that decision, continue with this review.

Studio: Warner Bros

Running Time: 127 Minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Story, Screenplay, and Characters: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

Executive Producers: Bruce Berman, Roberto Malerba

Producers: Grant Hill, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

Discs (3D Edition: Two 50 GB Blu-ray Discs (one 3D, one 2D), One DVD.

Discs (2D Edition): One GB Blu-ray Disc, One DVD.

Digital Copy: UltraViolet

Video Specifications: Video codec used - MVC MPEG4 (3D), AVC MPG4 (2D) , Video resolution - 1080p, Aspect ratio - 2.40:1, - Special features and supplements in various resolutions and aspect ratios.

3D: The film was shot in 2D and converted to 3D as part of the post-production process. Conversion performed by Legend3D

Audio Specifications: Dolby Atmos (English), Dolby TrueHD 7.1 or 5.1 (default downmix for those that down't have a Dolby Atmos setup), Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Thai).

Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Estonian, Lithuanian, Thai.

Bonus Features:

Jupiter Jones: Destiny Is Within Us - Mila Kunis and Wachowski brothers discuss the character evolution of Jupiter Jones.

Caine Wise: Interplanetary Warrior - A look a the role of Caine Wise, including some backstory.

The Wachowskis: Minds Over Matter - A look at how the Wachowskis approached making Jupiter Ascending which they claim borrows a lot from their fascination with the Wizard of Oz, as well as need to put something on the screen that is original in visual scope. Includes comments from some of the cast and crew, as well as some behind-the-scenes footage.

Worlds Within Worlds Within Worlds - A look at the Jupiter Ascending universe and its population.

Genetically Spliced - A look at the creature concepts in the film.

Bullet Time Evolved - A look at the action scene filming process including some pre-visualizations, stunt work, and fight choreography.

From Earth to Jupiter (And Everywhere in Between) - If you watched the entire film and are still confused by some of the subplot and character interactions, as well as how political concepts are translated within a Sci-Fi universe - this featurette will break it down all for you.

Trailers - A peek at San Andreas and Pan.

Story

Lowly housekeeper Jupiter Jones hates her humdrum life of cleaning toilets, changing bedsheets, and doing other housekeeping chores for others, but her life suddenly takes an amazing turn as she finds out that she finds out that she is part of a ruling intergalactic family and is next in line to inherit and rule over the entire Earth. However, there is a twist, as the Earth is scheduled for "harvesting" and Jupiter must gather her inner strength to outwit her warring "space siblings" in order to assert her authority and prevent the killing of all people on Earth.

Blu-ray Disc Presentation - Video

I viewed both the 2D and 3D Blu-ray Discs using a OPPO BDP-103D Blu-ray Disc player and displayed using an Epson PowerLite Home Cinema Video Prjector.

In terms of video quality, this film is fantastic, definitely one of the better Blu-ray Disc video transfers I have seen, especially the detail of the costumes and make up prosthetics. Also, even though there is a lot of CGI, which can soften things up, the detail balance was well maintained.

Blu-ray Disc Presentation - 3D

This film definitely presented some challenges in the 3D department, but I felt that the execution was done properly. The main problem is that a lot of the action is extremely fast and is combined with a lot of complex elements. Ordinarily, this could cause a lot of haloing and motion blur issues. However, at least on the projector I used to view the 3D version of the film, although the 3D was somewhat subdued in parts, I did not notice any artifacts that would take me out of the action or the story. Also, a lot of the film is dark, but once again, the 3D help up well. In my opinion, this is not the best 3D film I have seen, but is certainly not the worst, and I did feel it was worth watching the 3D version - Although the 2D version would probably be adequate for most viewers.

Blu-ray Disc Presentation - Audio

In addition to the excellent video presentation the audio presentation was both immersive and precise. When watching the 3D version, the placement of sound objects in 3 dimensional space match-up with the visual placement of those object. Also, there no noticeable audio dips as objects in action scenes (gunfire, vehicles) moved from channel-to-channel, side to side, across the front, or from front- to-rear or rear-to-front. Also, the dialog is not buried under the action.

Both the 2D and 3D version of the film provide both a Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel soundtrack. If you have a Dolby Atmos home theater setup, you will experience an even more precise and immersive soundtrack that I did in Dolby TrueHD 7.1. However, the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack is definitely impressive and really pushes the limits of that surround sound fromat (It helps to start out with Dolby Atmos master to mix-down from).

For those that don't have a Dolby Atmos setup - here is how you can still get the best audio listening experience possible. When you go into the disc's audio setup menu - non-Dolby Atmos users just need to select the Dolby Atmos soundtrack and if a non-Dolby Atmos equipped home theater receiver is detected, a real time downmix to Dolby TrueHD 7.1 or 5.1 is applied. All of the directional, height, and ambience information contained in the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is placed within a 7.1 or 5.1 channel framework (whichever is being used).

Also, if your home theater receiver does not provide Dolby TrueHD decoding, the soundtrack will further default to a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 channel mix.

Final Take

Although the Wachowskis claim a heavy Wizard of Oz influence, for me, Jupiter Ascending is an odd combination of Cinderella the Fifth Element, and Dune, with a little Star Wars (the creatures would definitely be at home that Tattoine Cantina!), and even minor touch of Harry Potter thrown in (if you watch the film, see if you can catch my references), which makes fo a very confusing story, but at the same time, something that is both visually and sonically striking.

Although this film has garnered some scathing reviews, and I also felt it somewhat lacking in terms of a meaningful story, there are some segments I enjoyed, and I thought that the final scene was kind of fun (hopefully that is not a spoiler).

Watching both the 3D and 3D Blu-ray releases, I can say that, apart from its story weaknesses, Jupiter Ascending redeems itself as a demo worthy disc that can show off the capabilities of your home theater, and has great impact both visually and sonically. Also, for 3D fans - the 2D to 3D conversion by Legend Films is very effective, considering the challenges this film presented.

The bonus features are brief, but adequate, and are pleasant to watch - It would have great to see something on 2D-to-3D conversion process, but overall the bonus features covered the basics of explaining film's story and showing some of the pre-production and filming/production process..

NOTE: Although this review centers on the 3D Blu-ray version, it is available in a 2D-only Blu-ray and DVD version as well.

3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Package - Check Prices

2D Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy - Check Prices

DVD Only - Check Prices

Components Used In This Review

Blu-ray Disc Players: OPPO BDP-103 and BDP-103D.

Home Theater Receiver: Onkyo TX-NR705

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System 1 (7.1 channels): 2 Klipsch F-2's, 2 Klipsch B-3s, Klipsch C-2 Center , 2 Polk R300s, Klipsch Synergy Sub10.

DISCLAIMER:The Blu-ray Disc package used in this review was provided byt Dolby Labs - The 3D Blu-ray Disc package was purchased by the Review at the standard retail price.

Additional Films on Blu-ray With Dolby Atmos Soundtracks: