Watching “Jupiter Ascending,” the latest sci-fi extravaganza from the great Wachowskis, is like taking a sip of a brand new flavor of soda.

Watching “Jupiter Ascending,” the latest sci-fi extravaganza from the great Wachowskis, is like taking a sip of a brand new flavor of soda.

Yes, you’re drinking a soda, and the fizziness of the beverage remains intact. But, for some reason, the flavor of this new soda tastes so refreshingly good that instead of a sip, you guzzle the new soda down and immediately want another.

“Jupiter Ascending” is pretty much like that.

The Wachowskis have taken familiar sci-fi beats (the “Average Person Chosen for Greatness” motif, the “Discovering the Universe is Bigger than You Think” motif, the “I, the Bad Guy, Want to Destroy Earth for Some Reason” motif) and somehow managed to create a wholly original experience, complete with dazzling visual effects, a deftly assembled cast and wonderful craftsmanship.

The plot here goes in so many different directions, but the basics involve Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), a housecleaner, who, by random chance, has the same genetic makeup of the deceased matriarch of a powerful intergalactic family. This, essentially by default, makes her one of the most powerful people in the galaxy.

The Abrasax clan (the scaly Balem, the vain Kalique, the charming Titus) has been searching for Jupiter once they became aware of her status as their reincarnated mother. Jupiter now holds rights to various assets, including good ‘ole planet Earth, and they each want a stake in her fortune. Balem is willing to cut Jupiter out of the picture to get his share, so Titus hires the dangerous hunter Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a man-wolf hybrid of sorts, to track Jupiter down and bring her to him for safe keeping.

As soon as Caine successfully gets Jupiter under his wing, the film shoots off into orbit, exploring the various nooks and crannies of this strange expanded universe. Plenty of twists and turns lie ahead for Jupiter and her newly-acquired royalty, and it’s up to the stalwart Caine to do his best to manage each roadblock that the galaxy has to throw their way.

In other hands, this movie is, more often than not, a bungled attempt. The concepts are dense, the characters are bizarre, the names are unique and the rules of the game are as intricate as can be. But, the Wachowskis already have “The Matrix” trilogy under their belt, a complex series with plenty of world building and heady sci-fi concepts. Similar in form to that dystopian franchise, “Jupiter Ascending” is right up the directors’ alley.

What’s so fascinating about “Jupiter Ascending” is the fact that the Wachowskis were able to get Warner Brothers on board for such a lavish project. The budget here was reportedly $175 million (a lot of money for an original sci-fi project), and it appears that the Wachowskis spared no expense. The film’s visual effects smorgasbord stuns constantly – ranging from the wide shots of the Abrasax’s various homes to the scenes of Caine soaring through the Chicago cityscape in his flying boots.

Even if the plot doesn’t work for some, the visuals will have to. If you throw enough money at something, some of it is bound to stick, and the effects and imagery here are as awing as anything committed to screen in a while. .John Toll’s beautiful cinematography also stands out in the visual presentation department.

On top of the VFX, it helps to have music virtuoso Michael Giacchino handling the score, and his soaring music fits extremely well with the film’s grand sense of scale.

Kunis and Tatum have good chemistry together as the leads, Sean Bean shows up in good use as Stinger, one of Caine’s old space army pals, and Douglas Booth is a nice fit for the sly Titus. But, it’s current Oscar nominee Eddie Redmayne who lights up the screen as Balem. Redmayne walks a delicate line of quite malicious and flat-out ridiculous with his performance, and somehow, he manages to stay afloat despite the hard edge he gives Balem. It’s becoming trite to say an actor throws himself into a role, but gracious, Redmayne cannonballs into the pool here with as much pizazz as an actor can. He, literally, goes all in, and it works.

Part of the fun of “Jupiter Ascending” is the weirdness of it all – some of the film’s time is spent navigating a space community of bureaucrats (the intergalactic DMV), other time is spent watching Channing Tatum’s wolf-eared Caine fight Balem’s minions, talking dragon-people that wear clothes. There’s plenty more to explore here, and the Wachowskis deserve a bundle of credit for making this movie such an entertaining experience. Sure, certain story beats are ones that have been done before, but again, the world the Wachowskis build is the draw. It hides a little bit of the familiarity.

“Jupiter Ascending” is a galaxy-load of fun – the kind of movie audiences don’t get anymore because, for most filmmakers, this is too hard a task to accomplish. But, the Wachowskis’ eye for style and method of world-building thrive in this unique an atmosphere. It’s a movie perfectly tailored for its directors – a flavor of soda I’d love to try again very soon.