Was Eddie Redmayne’s Performance in Jupiter Ascending Awful or Brilliant?

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Eddie Redmayne is getting most of his buzz this year for his critically acclaimed, award-winning and Academy Award nominated performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.

But there is another film and performance generating some buzz around the actor—his performance in the sci-fi fantasy film, Jupiter Ascending, which stars Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum. The film first gained notice when its release date was moved from a coveted summer blockbuster spot to a dreaded February release, often called a month where “films go to die.” In addition to moving the release date, it was discovered that more than an hour of material was ultimately cut from the film. These cuts probably had a negative impact on the film in the long run—as most of the criticisms about the newly released movie are that the storyline is not fleshed out and too many things are left unexplained.
There is one performance in the film that has been gaining attention: Eddie Redmayne’s. In the film, Redmayne plays Lord Balem, a space royal who owns the Earth and will stop at nothing to keep it from getting into the hands of Mila Kunis’s character, Jupiter. Redmayne’s performance has been described as many things—awful, hilarious, and even “the only quality performance in the film.”
The character of Lord Balem is a far cry from any role that Redmayne has played before. He is always glad in a long leather outfit, talks in a Voldemort-like whisper or alternatively in a booming screaming voice, and his motivations are murky at best. He killed his mother but sometimes appears to regret it—though he is willing to destroy the Earth before he lets Jupiter, the reincarnation of his mother, inherit it.
The division about the quality of Redmayne’s performance may lie in the genre of the film. Science fiction and fantasy films are often considered childish or “not Oscar worthy,” regardless of the actual quality of the performances. There is a perception that science fiction and fantasy films are not serious films—even though some of the most successful movies of all time have been in the genre.

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Redmayne does manage to emote more than other members of the cast in Jupiter Ascending. And there is something to be said of the almost 90 minutes of missing footage, which may have given the actor—and the film—more to work with. Find other entertainment options here.