The Apple falls: Jobs movie review
Kutcher’s stellar performance can’t save crucial first biopic of Steve Jobs
Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013
Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013 17:08
Release Date: Aug. 16
Studio: Open Road Films
Open a new tab on your MacBook and try to find a story about Steve Jobs that isn’t totally fascinating.
After scanning through a detailed Wikipedia page of Jobs’ life history, sifting through the footage from any of his exquisitely articulated speeches or browsing the countless web pages that either sing high praise or roar with contempt for the genius Apple Inc. co-founder, it is clear his life has become a vast collection of valuable lessons, triumphs, failures and damn good stories.
Jobs made personal computing affordable, simple and stylish; then he revolutionized the way people listen to music, interact with others and entertain their interests on a handheld device – all in about 20 years.
Jobs died in 2011 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, leaving behind more than just an arsenal of the most innovative personal computing technology of the 20th century; he left behind life stories unmatched in ambition and creativity for entrepreneurs of his time.
It would be fair to assume a biopic of his life, especially the first to make its way into theatres, would have to match Jobs’ ambitious, beautiful life with its own grand display of creativity and innovation, but director Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote) comes up empty with Jobs.
Jobs would have demanded more from a project with his name on it, and this film is missing exactly what he pushed for at Apple.
The film reassures us that Jobs lived a fascinating and extraordinary life, but it misses out on a big opportunity to explore lesser-known details of his life with a closer examination of his character.
There is no focus. Jobs was a man who demanded perfection with a focus on details. He committed everything to one project and then moved on to the next great idea. Ironically, the film reflects these traits in its characterization of Jobs but fails to apply them in its own narrative.
Stern attempts to tell the story of Apple alongside the story of Jobs, but the two are not as interdependent as one might think. Stern should have chosen one or the other.
Jobs was a complex man who experienced times of great success and failure. It seems that the most appropriate way to approach an examination of his life would be to focus on these crucial periods in his life through a series of films rather than one film that briefly examines his life as a whole.
Jobs was not afraid to take years spending over budget to make an Apple product just right. What the film itself doesn’t do is hone in on one particular aspect of Jobs’ life. Instead, it touches on everything without ever taking enough time to dig deeper in any one area.
This is unfortunate because most of the major events in Jobs’ life are already well known to the public. Audiences are craving the small, anecdotal details they don’t know.
For example, the film briefly examines Jobs’ relationship with a daughter he was estranged from for years without showing how they ultimately reunited. The movie illustrates Jobs’ downfall and eventual firing at Apple in the mid ’80s without shedding any light on what he was doing in the meantime before rejoining Apple. And Jobs’ darker side, with its demons of living as an adopted son and his famous temper, is not examined thoroughly enough.
In general, the film is spread too thin with its efforts to get everything about Jobs into one feature-length film. Audiences should have to take more than one visit to the theater to get the details that make Jobs’ story so remarkable.
In a shock to many doubtful critics and fans alike, Ashton Kutcher (New Year’s Eve)shines in the film as Jobs. Those familiar with Jobs’ demeanor and mannerisms from footage of his talks and interviews will notice the time and effort Kutcher put into the role. He doesn’t disappoint in a film that largely diminishes his hard work with its lack of vision.
A large budget and good casting save this film. Audiences entirely unfamiliar with Jobs’ life get a great introduction to this great man’s life, but a significant opportunity to expand on it is missed.