It's such a shame, when you have millions of dollars, top tier production design, a talented cast and a pair of directors with creativity and (occasionally) some semblance of a clue; that a film could turn out to be such a complete buggers muddle and spectacular disappointment. Like Godzilla, this had all the ingredients to be great, but its squandered all its potential on a laughable storyline, atrocious script, dull characters, bland performances and by-the-numbers action especially towards the end. It doesn't help either that the story is disjointed, poorly paced and bizarrely edited; or that some of the Wachowski's creative choices were just bewilderingly poor. There's one scene in particular in which the cast arrive at the galactic capital planet; a breathtaking visual tour de force- only for the narrative to abruptly segue into a stupid Hitchhikers-esque sequence in an old fashioned sorting office where our heroes have to queue to fill in application forms and tax returns. Then there's the Kunis' annoying family on Earth who no one cares about either- a whole bunch of sequences that should have been left on that cutting room floor (where presumably a half decent edit of the film must be lying). And don't even get me started on Eddie Redmayne's preposterously hammy stock villain.
There's no denying its visual majesty however; a spectacularly epic looking space-operatic aesthetic that would be mind-blowing if only it was in service of a better story (Herberts' Dune or Banks' Culture novels for example). There are lots of sexy spacecraft and vehicles to ogle (not withstanding CT's over-used hoover boots), and some of the action scenes have flashes of Matrix-quality thrills. Indeed, the night-time chase and dogfight across the Chicago skyline that is as jaw-to-the-floor awesome as any action set-piece I've seen in the last few years. Stunning. Unfortunately the action and effects become more and more overcooked until its all a big visual mess. You get an arcadey space dogfight (that looks a little like the recent Enders Game, and a kitchen-sink finale where everything collapses and explodes, complete with all the usual clichés. And Mila Kunis falls from things. A lot.
Better luck next time guys (& guy-esses). But it's unlikely to be in the sequel.