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I consider myself pretty tolerant to the artistic expression,
reasonably open minded and full of good will toward movies that try to
be something different and approach well exploited story lines from
In this case, "Upside Down" seemed like a very interesting piece, presenting the concept, of two planets orbiting like siblings, in their direct vicinity. Okay I thought, this makes no sense if we think about the basic physics known to our kind. This could never happen in our universe. Of course, but perhaps it could happen in some parallel world? That's the benefit of science-fiction. You can come up with any idea and actually sell it to the viewers, providing, that you put enough work into it to make it plausible and logical.
In this case, "Upside Down" script writers decided they don't need anything else than the initial concept of two worlds being opposite to each other. Although the visuals are stunning and the story set up offers a great chance of developing a vast and complex background, neither the above mentioned writers or director exploit these possibilities. It's like everything was left to the cameraman and his CGI buddies. I could imagine some of the stills from this movie used as a background picture on my desktop, or as a illustration to a novel. They are really lovely and detailed. But apart from visuals, everything else is a total disaster. Acting? Both Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess are so not into their roles it hurts watching them squirt and put up fake smiles, trying to overcome the poor material they had to work with. Although I'm becoming to seriously doubt they actually can play. It's not much different for the rest of the cast although Timothy Spall tries really hard to improve the situation. Sadly he fails in that attempt.
The love story itself is weak and uninteresting. Being set up in a world that has no sense makes it hard to watch. I'll give you an example of some plot holes (not a spoiler). We know it's a different universe, so why do they dance tango? Why do we hear Latin songs? Do they have Argentina in there as well? In theory, there are some governments and authorities but we never learn more about it and from what can be seen, their actions make no sense at all. Physics in this universe? Forget it. There are none (not even some different than ours). Gravity is a concept far beyond grasping for this movie. Do you see what I'm getting at? You can sell any lie at all, but it has to be consistent. Oh, and speaking about lies. Don't let yourself get fooled by the action-packed scenes from the movie trailer. This is a very slow paced movie that could last for 60minutes and would not loose an inch of the story.
On top of that, who ever told Jim Sturgess to read his lines as a narrator with such an exalted voice that is unbearable to listen to, should be sentenced to mandatory story telling classes. Preferably not in kinder-garden, as that kind of narration may be actually adequate for a 5 year old.
My verdict, 4 out of 10 and that is just for the initial concept and visuals. I'm probably too generous. Watch at your own risk.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What if the world was divided into two? What if the person you loved
belonged Up There, while you lived Down Below? What if you could invent
an amazing scientific formula (a beauty cream, to be exact) that could
make a huge killing, made especially for those who lived Up There? Or
invent another formula so that you could stay longer Up There? Will
your love for each other be strong and sturdy enough to overcome many
daunting odds -- a 10-year-old accident that gives the girl you love
amnesia; a law of gravity that keeps humans glued to their 'world;' a
greedy corporation ready to kill for your scientific breakthroughs?
Such is the fantastic world in the film UPSIDE DOWN (with some spoiler summary subplots) that reminded me of earlier adventures like Andrew Niccol's GATTACA (1997), Alex Proyas' DARK CITY (1998), Michael Bay's THE ISLAND (2005) and Gil Kenan's CITY OF EMBER (2008). Written and directed by Juan Solanas, UPSIDE DOWN is a visceral treat for the eyes as well as for the emotions (somehow, you have to admit, once in your lifetime you've imagined such a scenario as this!), with an appealing cast, so it was a bit saddening for me that the French producers failed to recoup their $50 million budget.
The threadbare plot (boy loves girl, will do anything for her, but the world just won't allow them to be together) has been a movie cliché ever since cinema was invented in the 1890s, but beautifully breathtaking visual effects and a nostalgic and glossy texture to the film (picture the film in black and white, with a young Deborah Kerr and James Stewart) makes for rewarding viewing. British actor Jim Sturgess (replacing Emile Hirsch) is an appealing Adam but gives a rather singular performance -- a pity, since the first half shows very little of Dunst and belongs to the male protagonist! Although we see glimpses of the conflicted emotions surging through Adam as his obsession with Eden begins to trump his logic and scientific brilliance, Sturgess seems to have underplayed TOO much. *For Sturgess fans or for those who have a schoolgirl crush on him, he DOES give a star performance in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (2007). Kirsten Dunst, all grown up (30) since her ingénue turn in 1994's INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, usually is too sunny but avoids a syrupy rendition here, although maddeningly low-key! (If you were Adam and you wanted Eden back in your life, would you really sacrifice so much, for such a sedate amnesiac?)
All in all, Solanas' novel premise works well with all that glitter and gloss, giving us twin worlds to ponder while at the same time singlemindedly focusing on the love story that serves as the fulcrum of the whole film. For a dancer like me, the café-and-ballroom where people dance Argentine tango (and where Adam and Eden will meet again and again, a la CASABLANCA) is an added plus -- as well as Benoît Charest's otherworldly musical score, and Pierre Gill's dazzling cinematographical magic, capturing the twin worlds gloriously and vividly. Just watch out that you don't suffer stiff neck (from tilting your head) and forgive Solanas and company the slightly ludicrous ending, which feels like a cop out or an ill-devised afterthought.
Same analysis about Upside Down as about Oblivion, about Solanas as
about Kosinski. You don't make good movies only with a good idea and
good visuals. This time, the film is not set in the future but on
another planet, or two to be precise. Two planets with opposite
gravities. Two planets, and contrasts as subtle as a commercial for a
laundry detergent : you have black on one side, and white on the other.
You have rich people Up Top and poor people Down Below. It is sunny Up
Top and rainy Down Below. And the rich bad guys from Up Top exploit the
poor people Down Below via Transworld, a big company with big bosses
who think they control everything. Of course, Adam, the poor orphan kid
from Down Below that seems to come straight out of a Dickens' novel,
meets Eden, the posh girl from Up Top. Just looking at the two
characters' names, you realize that there is still a lot of work to do
before Science-Fiction finds scriptwriters worthy of it. Of course,
Adam and Eden love each other, but they can't be a couple because of
the laws of men and of gravity. Will they manage to be united and live
happily ever after anyway ? This is a two dollar question. The cruel
lack of originality of the scenario (Solanas did have a good idea to
begin with) and the few incoherences of the film are not its only
flaws. Music constantly interferes with the image and the combination
of the two makes a bad video clip for teenagers (we feel very sorry for
Sigur Rós). Adam's voice-over is supposed to make us understand the
planets' history and to make us feel what Adam feels. In fact, it only
underlines the poverty of the scenario and Solanas' inability to create
emotions. The acting doesn't save the film. It's actually quite the
opposite. Jim Sturgess overdoes the naive and mushy dimension of his
character, and ends up irritating the viewer. So to sum it up, the film
has some nice images, and a lot of soppy scenes. And that's about it.
Read my blog for other reviews: http://filmcritiks.wordpress.com/
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In a distant galaxy, the inhabitants of two planets with opposite
gravitational pull have distinctly different outlooks on life. The
residents of the upper planet take the natural resources from the lower
planet including oil, and live a life of splendor, while those in the
lower planet live a life of squalor. As kids, Adam (Jim Sturgess) from
the lower world meets Eden (Kirsten Dunst) from the upper world. People
from the lower world are not supposed to associate with people from the
upper world. As time goes on, the authorities in the upper world find
out about Adam, and chase him back to the lower world. In the dispute,
Eden gets shot and suffers from amnesia.
When Adam sees Eden on television, he hatches a plan to get a job in the upper world's biggest corporation named Transworld. Adam has an idea to make a homemade facelift cream from pink bee pollen for the rich old ladies of the upper world. Transworld loves the idea, Adam meets Eden, but she has amnesia. Does she eventually remember her childhood sweetheart? What happens when the authorities from the upper world find out that Adam is back?
When the voice over narration begins on this movie, so does the cringing. The science fiction doesn't work at all. There seem to be humans on both of these planets, who have evolved in the very same way as humans on earth, not only that, there are trees, and horses, and guns and television, and not a word about how this parallel universe came into being. As if that isn't bad enough, we humans still use oil, and still have ruthless corporations. I thought Avatar's use of politics was heavy handed, Upside Down is worse. Yes, it's more of the 1% against the 99%. This theme can be artfully done, like the Dark Knight Rises, or it can be poorly done like Upside Down. Upside Down was also obviously trying to get in on the Twilight Sci-fi Romance genre bending popularity and failing miserably. Pattinson is a Brit, Kristen Stewart is an American, put an American girl with a British guy in a sappy love story and watch the money roll in. Not so fast.
Kirsten Dunst's career hasn't moved since she played Mary Jane Watson in 2007 in Spider Man 3. This is the exact same character she played in the Spider Man series, not an iota of difference. And Jim Sturgess' struggles with an American accent make Pattinson look like Laurence Olivier. They are both too old to be in a teen romance. Sturgess is 35, and Dunst is 31, which teenager is going to see these old fogies fall in love with one another? From how quickly this went to DVD, not many people watched at all.
A 6.3 on IMDb? Really? If you're as disappointed by that score as I am, visit my blog reviewswithatude.wordpress.com. You'll be glad you did.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
since the trailer, we knew that this wouldn't be a class of physics. in addition together with the title we get a small lecture about how this world we would see would be. physics from a kid's fairy tale would be much more plausible than this flick. even by trying to accept a few disappointing facts (like :why when an item enters a different gravity field it would have to burn?, or: why there would be more than 1 point where two spheric planets are in touch?) still the movie messes so much with its physics that instead of watching the quite good characters' performances, it is much more enjoyable spotting what would not stand even in a strange world like that. finally, there is no surprise, as since the beginning's lecture, we knew that the end will be rosy
I will keep it simple.
I love science fiction and I understand that sometimes not everything can be logical. For example, any movies where you can jump through time have problems in the fact that they are not really linear and mistakes are made but this is perfectly fine to me.
Science fiction, in my opinion, can make you dream and believe some unrealistic ideas could be real or at least feasible.
This movie is awful. The plot makes no sense and if you are more than 5 years old, knows that planets aren't flat and that to have a sunrise/sunset they need to rotate in some way then this movie is definitely not for you. And it gets worse but I won't spoil the movie.
This movie is absolutely not worth watching. Trailer is kinda catchy but the movie itself is ridiculously stupid and the main actor is really annoying. Without wanting to offend anyone, he looks extremely stupid and his acting is extremely bad. Definitely don't recommend watching, you will just waste 2 hours of your life! Story line does not make sense at all. There are stupid attempts at creating dramatic situations which are so short you don't realize what the hell is going on. Main actor's constant stupid decisions and childish attempts to be with his girlfriend after 10 years of not seeing her add up to the whole nonsense. Really, a complete waste of time.
This movie is a plagiarism of the award-winning short of similar story except it adds on tons of ridiculous cheese elements and found two good looking actors for the main character. The idea of duel gravitation only really works for short movies, not for full length story. It doesn't explain itself from a physic stand point and it doesn't feel romantic because it is simply too long to play the cute idea card - besides because the movie really only use the idea as a plot, not the center piece (which in the short it is a metaphor of relationships - that often bounds two very different persons together), and since the world is so big, too much distractions are involved, questions and conflicts become about life and death, instead of cute and romantic - the drama is too intense, and makes no sense. It turns a cute romantic short film into some big drama that doesn't seem to be necessary at all.
Some sci-fi fantasy films have a premise so clean and simple, they must
cause writer-directors competing in the same genre to vaporize in a
Earlier in 2004, it was as easy as a couple unraveling the mistake of erasing painful memories in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Now, two lovers romance the physics of dual gravity.
In this outrageous universe created by Juan Solanas; laws of gravity still apply, except two surfaces run parallel to each other. The affluent rich are flipped and live on the "up side" while decrepit poor live on the "down side"--society (like nature) dictates neither are allowed to mingle nor marry.
Story follows a poor orphan Adam; who falls for a charming girl from the upper crust, Eden. An accident in the mountains separates the teenagers and they part when law enforcement closes in. Eden loses memory from a brain concussion and the years have thundered on before they meet again.
Jim Sturgess (who played Ewing in Cloud Atlas) is Adam Kirk; young cosmetic scientist on the verge of a breakthrough using his Aunt's secret ingredientmagic pink bees! Big corporation TransWorld; wanting to benefit commercially from this miracle anti-aging cream recruits him reluctantly. As for Adam; seeing the chance to honor his family name and traverse Eden's (Kirsten Dunst) world legitimately, accepts their job offer.
A stint attempting to reconcile with Eden (who no longer remembers him) works, but the law of nature opposes courtship. In classic Cinderella crisis, Adam has a one-hour limit before heat and friction angles him back down. He constantly fights to outsmart the natural forces of reality--at one point, bored and friendly co-worker Bob (Timothy Spall) steps in to help.
Upside Down is a highly stylized film rife with passion and romance-- suffused with visual allegories surrounding movement, transformation, stasis. From downlow to the upturn, poor orphan to prince charming, separation to unity. We see how the elements controlling natural and artificial territories aptly fit, compelling the story to its narrative end.
The resolution this film reveals; and its characterization of a hopeless romantic and his manic pixie dream girl may be too generic for some, yet I find it likable, original and entertaining. Solanas applies vastness of space and symmetrical beauty in a creative way; using them as symbolic extensions of the story's themes.
Criticisms that generalize and compare it to Inception are baffling. Both films explore similar material using entirely different strategies: one implores a labyrinth of logic while the other blatantly defies it. Upside Down works because it moves within the paradigm of fantasy without being too uptight about anything--pretty hip stuff for a Valentine's Day flick.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Two Siamese-esk worlds are linked by chance in an endless tandem
existence floating through the galaxy, at some points only about 50
feet separate them. Each has its own gravitational pull that governs
anything that originates on its respective planet. So when Adam (from
the bottom planet called "down-below) and Eden (from "up-above") fall
in love, they have more in their way then just the social differences
that the planets have instituted. Down-below is a poverty stricken
dirge reminiscent of cold war era Russia while those Up-Above live in
the lap of luxury with bright sunshine, wealth and pristine tidiness.
The movie follows Adam as he battles both physical and social odds to
reconnect with Eden, who was injured years ago in an accident and now
has amnesia, leaving her unaware that they had ever shared a love that
could defy gravity.
I so badly wanted this movie to be good. The effects were stunning, the idea was clever and even the mediocre acting was bearable. Now a lot of reviews have bashed the fact that the movie's physics are completely in feasible, but come on. Its a sci-fi movie. Are you going to complain that just because Superman comes from another planet doesn't mean he has the power of flight or have heat vision. NO, its a freaking movie. My main issue wasn't the science, but the writing. If the writing lacks continuity and depth, nothing can be done to keep the viewer engaged instead of just being awe struck at the visuals. It felt as though the writer had an original good idea, but every additional concept watered it down so much so that most of the plot devises are completely disregarded by the end. For example, in the opening monologue/montage, Adam describes bees that make a pollen that is gravity neutral. But the bees and flowers are never shown, rarely mentioned and feel more like an afterthought then a main tie in. It never even shows Adam in a field that could have flowers in them, but yet he has the magical pink powder they produce on him all the time.
Almost every facet of development was left uncovered. It left the characters lacking, the story dependent on coincidental plot devises (guys with guns randomly showing up to halt Adam and Eden's engagements), and by the end of the film you will scratch your head wondering "How/why the hell did that happen?". Like going to the Grand Canyon, for about 20 minutes you will "ooooooo" and "awwwww" but after that you realize you've been staring at a big hole for 2 hours.
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