Upside Down (2012) Poster

(I) (2012)

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Gorgeous Visuals, Awfully Told Story
Ariel Windsor24 October 2012
This movie looked so promising based on it's trailer. Not to mention the visuals were absolutely gorgeous. It had this fantasy quality about it without looking fake; even though you absolutely know its green screen. Also, the plot premise was such an interesting idea; star-crossed lovers separated by the science of their universe. I was excited to watch it because I thought It'd have an "inception-like" quality. HOWEVER, I was horribly wrong.

The character development was just sort of...there. And no real relationship ever seemed to develop between the characters. It went from WE LOVE EACH OTHER to I DON'T KNOW YOU to WE LOVE EACH OTHER again without anything real happening. The romance has a bad back story and the sudden realizations were too flimsy. Adam was adorable in his endless attempts at trying to get to Eden. But thats all. They were so flat in the end and nothing interesting happened. Not to mention, the excitement factor was a bust and it was clichéd and awfully expressed in the end. It felt like I was watching a poem told with gorgeous figurative language, but lacking any substance, heart, or care. The movie needed a better plot, it needed more events, it needed more character development, and it needed a lot of polishing up. Since it's main point of drama was in the romance and even THAT was awfully put together, all in all, it was flop.

However, it was an okay watch and again, the visuals of such a disorientating world totally threw me off whack. For the next ten minutes after the movie, I felt like things should be floating upward and I should be upside was weird but showed that I actually did get immersed into the world.

My recommendation? GET A BETTER WRITER
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Great Visuals, Incompetent Storytelling
moviewizguy2 February 2013
If there is one thing "Upside Down" has going for it, it's the visuals. Good God, the film is gorgeous to look at. We've seen hints of a similar visual style in the "Total Recall" remake and "Inception," but the filmmakers milk the unique look in "Upside Down" in as many frames as possible. At times, the visual puns can be a bit too obnoxious to the point it becomes stupid, but overall, they portray the "dual gravity" idea really creatively. Of course, with fantasy films like this that operate within its own set of rules, you usually have to ignore the implausibilities and just go along for the ride.

However, the story is a whole different matter. As the film opens to explain the world's rules through voice over rather than showing it on screen, I knew I was in for trouble. Within the first five minutes, exposition after exposition is thrown to the audience at such a quick pace it's almost impossible to keep up. It also doesn't help that the dialogue is downright embarrassing. With the film's over-reliance on narration, "Upside Down" leaves little time for its characters to develop which consequently makes the story as a whole feel contrived.

For example, the love interest that grows between the film's two main characters comes out of nowhere. Unfortunately, actors Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst don't have the chemistry to sell their newfound romance authentically as well. Every story development feels fake and mechanical where it should feel natural. Furthermore, the film lacks any real climax, so the last 20 minutes where everything should build up to a resounding resolution, instead, just fizzles out to an anti-climatic, deus-ex-machina-like ending as if the story didn't know how else to end.

"Upside Down" has a great idea that should have been a lot better than it ended up being. However, it's obvious the filmmakers were more interested in focusing on the visuals than actually telling a good story. "Upside Down" proves that as awesome as visuals can be, it can't overshadow incompetent storytelling and a weak plot.
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Beautiful fairy-tale
jcoludar13 September 2012
The film's setting is magnificently beautiful, there are a lot of stunning ideas and images and the main story is good enough to make the two-planet world look real. The one and the only one flaw of the film is that it pretends to be a sci-fi film rather than a fairy-tale in an unusual setting. If you judge it as a sci-fi you will find a lot of "how could it be" things that tear the imaginary world apart. The actors are great and it is fun to see Spall as a protagonist friend rather than foe. Both Sturges and Dunst are wonderful. So if you want to watch a sci-fi film you better avoid "Upside Down". This is a love story set in the fantasy world. No more, but no less.
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Contrast Qualities
Mek Torres7 February 2013
Upside Down creates a fascinating universe beyond our imagination. It is so amazing, it could have been something groundbreaking. The story is a romance that is suppose to defy gravity. It starts with a great promise and many imaginative ideas were featured. Unfortunately, the journey suffers incoherence and leaves several unsettled details. It tries to tell a deeper meaning about love but none of it worked because of its terribly underdeveloped plot and awful romance. It could have at least given some sense to their love but it doesn't provide much exploration to their relationship. The visuals are undeniably breathtaking but the plot gets the opposite which results a story that fails to be compelling.

The idea is wonderful. Who could imagine a world like that? It may be scientifically unbelievable but it doesn't matter. As long as it has a substantial story. Sadly, that story is unable to achieve its message. Even if it's quite gripping, the film calls for something better. The central plot is about a man who risks everything to get his love back. The first and second act really shows a lot of intrigue to the premise but falters when it goes through the rest. The biggest problem is probably the romance. It is poorly portrayed. It's hard to understand why do they love each other. Yeah, they had a childhood together and they are good looking but what else? That's almost the only thing we knew about them because every time when it stumbles to their relationship, it becomes a montage of inaudible chatter thus never really get to know them more. Even the talents couldn't save their love. Jim Sturgess is always charming as a lover boy. He gets a lot of things to do in most vital parts but only did little to the romance. Same goes to Kristen Dunst, except she is mostly underused. In other cast, Timothy Spall appears as an older version of cliché best friend roles in romantic comedies.

It also leaves some unanswered questions in the end but that ending chooses forget almost everything from those questions. Despite of the story's inconsistency, the visuals are the landmark here. It is a brilliantly designed world that can be both trippy and fascinating. Mashing several styles like steampunk and typical futuristic details. Much magnificent is when it take turns between the aspects of the two worlds. There are two sequences that can be goosebumps worthy. These portraits are so gorgeous, it is best to see in cinema. It would still be worth watching if you're one of those people who doesn't care about the story even if its flaws are inevitable, but it still deserves something better.

Upside Down is visually breathtaking but it didn't go beyond that. The romance is beyond bland and it spends most of the time doing stuff that achieved so little to the plot. When I said the romance is beyond bland I mean it has no personality, no depth, no meaning. It's pretty vague. This likely proves that even the most stunning visuals cannot bring justice to a problematic story. It's disappointing because it wastes the potential of the visuals and the first half. Instead of being compelling, it rather shows how beautiful the two's relationship is with a grand scale universe in the background. Aside of the love story, the context between the two worlds are intriguing but there is nothing else about it besides of what it was explained which it isn't enough. It still has its merits. In a nutshell, the film itself is like the two worlds. The visuals are on the top, and the rest are on the bottom. Make sense?
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First there were the Visuals, then someone thought up a story
jarfil19 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Let's imagine an impossible setup, and tell it like it was science. Then start ripping it apart with every action, each one more impossible than the one before it. Add some impossible beings, made impossible by the previous impossible setup, and make them a secret central point of the whole plot. Now throw in some socio-political overtone to everything you say and do. Don't explain it, just throw it in, it doesn't need to make any sense. Also add some romance. No one will know where it came from, or how it got there, but nevertheless this will be the main plot.

Oh, and make some stunning visuals. No matter if the rest doesn't make any sense at all, the few stunning scenes you thought up will more than enough to make up for that. Just repeat each scene a couple of times throughout the movie.

End up with something nobody expects, makes no sense, is completely impossible according to all you told your audience before, and adds nothing to the story... except some stunning visual and a faint political statement.

Makes you think the film was not "written then filmed", but rather the other way around: first there were the visuals, then someone sprinkled some random stuff all over them, and this movie came to being.
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Beautifully done, unique concept; but ultimately senseless
Hamish Joy6 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The romantic/ fantasy/ sci-fi movie is set in an alternate universe where the protagonists' planet is subject to a unique phenomena called dual gravity. There are two distinct societies; one living 'Down Below', a poor slum-like area, and another living 'Up Above', rich, prosperous city-like area. These worlds are connected via a building from a corporate giant 'TransWorld'. Matter from Up Above and matter from Down Below are affected by opposite gravitational forces. People from one society can look up and see beyond the clouds to see the other world. The story is about Adam, an orphan from Down Below, who has been meeting with Eden from Up Above in secret trysts since childhood. This is strictly forbidden in their worlds and authorities respond to one such meeting using guns which result in Eden falling down (up?) to her apparent death. Adam also loses his surviving relative because of this incident.

Years later, he catches a glimpse of Eden in a TV channel and learns that she is alive. He concocts a plan to meet up with her by joining TransWorld and sneaking visits Up Above. He does this by attaching heavy metals from Up Above to his body - allowing him to counter his natural gravitational pull and walking upside down (which would be right side up in Up Above). He learns that Eden has lost her memory after her fall, and he tries to get her to remember him.

The movie is spectacular. The visual effects of the other world 'Up Above', especially the outdoor scenes, are beautifully rendered. The indoor sequences are also masterfully crafted - seamlessly integrating Up Above and Down Below in the same frames. It can be a bit distracting as we are not used to such visuals, but it is undoubtedly unique.

However, the movie calls for a very specific audience - You have to have a basic understanding/ appreciation of the science of gravity or you may not follow some of the narration, but at the same time, you can't be too involved in science, or you may be hung up on how ridiculous the explanations provided are. They try to explain the dual gravity rules by saying that these are two planets which are perfectly in sync with one another. Simply put - gravity does NOT work that way. Planets are not selective about which matter they exert gravity on. Also, there's a case of selective scaling - The worlds are sometimes close enough to fall from one to the other in a matter of seconds; but at the same time are far enough to accommodate entire mountains. Also, this world has climate - clouds and rain that just do not make sense in the context of the given scenarios. You have to like Science, but be willing to overlook errors of such basic nature. Overall, it is an experiment in showing an impossible world in a unique setting. In this, they succeed.
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An Upside Down Turkey is Still a Turkey.
markrschulz11 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Einstein once famously said, 'If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.' Nothing truer could be said about the writers of this movie as the long, drawn out explanation of the way 'dual gravity' works not only loses the viewer in less than five minutes after the title credits roll, but also shows how the writers don't understand their own physics later. For example: ever tried drinking water upside down? Well, this is exactly what the main characters do as a fad in a club. Mass has no effect in some shots, but is critical to others.

A crude ticking clock device is employed whereby matter from one world will start to burn after some time in the other. Humans are exempt from this, yet every time Adam ventures into the upper world, the effect is used as a cheap gag rather than anything substantial to drive the plot along.

The Evil Corporation's building linking the two worlds together is laughable, and instantly reminded me of 'The Fall' tunnel in 'Total Recall'. The middle level is where both gravity fields meet, but rather than being canceled out resulting in a zero gravity situation, we have the ludicrous image of a split office where the superior 'uppers' work on the ceiling and pass briefs and office supplies 'down' to their 'lower world' people.

The Evil Corporation also has this highly valuable anti-matter that floats in bottom-world but sinks in top-world. It is supposedly so valuable that it is tightly controlled to avoid the 'lower' employees stealing any. In a move totally unexplained, our hero is able to stock-pile about 80 pounds of the stuff and use it to walk around the upper city unchecked.

The editing was terrible. Nothing caused any sense of urgency or suspense. During a chase scene, the hero is edited to safety, and later once his method for entering the upper world is revealed he is just edited there.

The acting and characterization were awful. The male lead takes his style from the Shia LeBouf School of stuttering stupidity. He doesn't tell his love interest who he is for absolutely no reason other than to drag out the movie; telling her who he was before making a mission to see her would have been the logical thing. Dunst's character has amnesia (seriously?!) which may be unintentionally emphasized by the way she says her name.. every.. time. 'I'm Eden... Moore.' There was also no clear antagonist, just a poorly explained 'system' that somehow messed up the two characters' lives. Again, absolutely no suspense is created by this aspect - we can't force ourselves to care about these two fools.

The only redeeming feature was the stunning visuals. The world looked really great, but not nearly enough to raise itself out of the clichéd and derivative muck that holds this movie back. Elements borrowed from Total Recall, In Time and The Fountain ensure that it struggles to find its own definitive identity; a crappy movie made in a laboratory from the rotting and discarded parts of other crappy movies.

To conclude, both physicists and lovers of great film will be united in their screams of outrage and apoplectic spasms brought on by their utter disbelief of how this film tramples roughshod over both disciplines. Avoid this movie.
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stunning and unique
A_Different_Drummer4 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
There is a film floating around the net called "Upside Down" which was filmed in Canada by some sort of foreign consortium and then held back, even though it was supposed to be released in 2011/2012. It is extraordinary. Some call it an "existentialist love story," which was a bit confusing at first since I did not realize that there is actually a class of films called "existentialist" but if you check the IMDb, there is. And, this is amazing, there are actually "lists" of the best "existentialist" films ever made, and they include titles like the Matrix...! Also confusing because, if you think about it, every love story ever written or filmed has existentialist underpinnings, so upon reflection I think calling this particular film "existentialist" is a red herring. So back to Upside Down. It is extraordinary, The concept is unique, something that cannot be said of 99.9% of the scripts today, and the cinematography is both breath-taking and haunting. It also comes close to being one of the greatest love stories of all time, and here it is the "almost" that is telling ... now in my view, the greatest love story ever filmed is HERE COMES MR. JORDAN (the original, not the two remakes). There is a particular scene that takes place during a temporary power outage which is literally unforgettable, if you have ever seen the film. And if you have not, you should. The scene is less than two minutes in total but movie-goers who saw the film 70 years ago (!) can discuss that specific scene with you as if it were yesterday. It is literally burned into their memory. Not a claim many movies can make today. Which brings us back to Upside Down, a classic case of "almost" film-making. For the first hour of this picture, you have a unique one-of--a-kind movie that is on par with the best of the best ever made. It meets or exceeds all known standards for original script, original story, original cinematography, etc. And, then, about 70 minutes in, it is as if the producer either ran out of money, or the writer ran out of coffee. Or both. And morphs not only into one of the most disappointing endings I have ever seen but -- an odd form of hubris -- the voice-over first-person narration actually apologizes to the viewer for this in plain English, saying, I am not making this up, that "what happens next is a story for another time," ...I know what you are thinking. You are thinking that to recommend a movie where we know in advance that the last 20 minutes sucks, the first 70 minutes would have to be extra-ordinary to compensate....? And that is the point. They are. Amazing film. Highly recommended. A must-see.
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A visually stunning film with an intellectually stimulating plot
Gordon-1126 December 2012
This film is a love story set in a world where there are two worlds separated by different gravities.

On the surface, "Upside Down" is about a man from down below falling in love with a woman from the world above. In reality, the message is so profound, as it describes class and societal segregation. It shows how the less privileged (the world below) are separated from the privileged (the world above), and the upward social movement is impossible. People from one world pretend he is from another but in vain. People's hopes for a better life are shattered by societal limits. This difficult struggle is happening everyday in the world, where people in a country wants to move higher, or people wanting to move to another better off country in search for a better life. We don't normally think about this, but "Upside Down" brings such a problem to the foreground of the consciousness in a way that stimulates thoughts.

Visuals in "Upside Down" is stunning. From the sombre colour schemes down below, to the beautiful lights above; from the macabre buildings below to the majestic buildings above, every scene is beautifully crafted and presented in a surreal manner. Just the visuals alone make "Upside Down" worth watching. The soundtrack is excellent as well, it adds to the beauty of the scenes.

I enjoyed "Upside Down" a lot. I hope it will reach a wider audience.
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Excellent fantasy
lex-cardentey19 August 2013
I want to start by saying this movie is a romantic fantasy and it is a superb, beautifully crafted, incredible movie. This is the kind of movie that really uses this medium (cinema) to help us travel to imaginary and impossible places and situations.

People examining the physics in this movie are starting with the wrong foot, this movie is like a dream meant to be enjoyed. The images in this movie are like extraordinary postcards and will be hard to forget due to its beauty and detail.

The sets in this movie are beyond words and the acting is outstanding. The romantic couple is fantastic together.

I wish there were more movies with this kind of genuine and imaginative subjects.

Great movie, impossible not to recommend.
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