Upside down is a recent release film directed and written by Juan Solanas and stars Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess. Upside Down is a sci fi/fantasy love story film about two people who live on separate planets Adam (Jim Sturgess) and Eden (Kirsten Dunst) who fall in love in their early years only to be torn away from each other because they are both from different worlds. The movie is about Adam’s struggle to be reunited with Eden as he overcomes a whole range of obstacles that stand in his way.
I found the movie viewing experience to be somewhat mixed as in some parts of the film everything seems quite good. There are some great visuals and backgrounds along with great use of colour to convey the films theme, the lead actors do well in their roles and the directing of the upside down sequences is an interesting concept as well. Other parts of the film though are horrendously bad though. The plot falls away so much throughout the film that the ending was quite likely the most clichè I have watched this year. The characters were poorly developed and the opening narration was so lame many might wonder what they just rented with their money.
First I’ll go into the opening of the movie and the ending which uses narration to convey to the viewer what is going on. The use of narration is not usually a bad technique, I mean it was good in The Great Gatsby but in this film Sturgess makes everything seem like it’s this magical fairy tale. He speaks in the slowest and most mystical way that it was so annoying I think that the whole movie would have been better without it. Narration was only used in the beginning and the end and I still wonder why it was used at all, the story was so simple to follow it was not needed.
The story’s plot is actually kind of interesting if you can overlook the impossibility of the gravity theory told to us in the narration sequence and used for this movie. Yet somehow the plot fails. I found that the characters of Eden (Kirsten Dunst) and Adam (Jim Sturgess) sort of seemed to be presented as characters meant to be in love. This was well shown when we saw them when they were young. But when they were reunited at a later age and then particularly towards the end it was like the characters were simply playing their part to fall into line with the Upside Down plot rather than being real believable characters. It was like the characters were just made to be in love for the sake of the love story of this film, they didn’t really seem real or emotionally involved characters and simply followed what seemed like a strait line path.
The same goes for all the side characters as well, in fact none of the side characters were anything special at all. It was sort of like they were simply used in certain points of the film to provide a way for either Adam or Eden to move forward yet no character really seemed real. Some characters popped up for a bit had their say and left. Adam had an entire sub plot that was left completely unresolved which revolved around the corporation and the bosses Adam screwed over. Yet by the ending of the film nothing happens to resolve them, it’s like they just disappeared.
Moving away from the negative points, the film does have some redeemable qualities. For one thing there are some beautiful landscapes and environments presented. There are some really well thought through sets and a lot of work has gone into making this movie visually breathtaking. I liked quite a lot of the sequences and the short action moments were good enough for the type of story. I also thought the soundtrack and musical choices was a good fit as well.
I’m not sure if the acting was good or not as the characters weren’t anything special. Jim Sturgess should never do any narrations ever again. I have no idea what the director and Sturgess were thinking when they made the narration and then recorded it and placed it into the movie. Kirsten Dunst was in this movie and was actually okay, but it’s not her best film. Based on what her character was it’s not like she could have done more. I think all the actor’s tried their best even the forgettable side character actors.
The theme of the movie is really similar to rich/poor type of love story themes that have been done many times. The people in the upper world are much better and richer than those of the lower world. Adam from the lower world wants to be with Eden from the upper world. The upside down theme is good and does provide some interesting ideas but it’s just not anything unique.
Overall this movie is the type of thing you could just rent and watch and possibly enjoy. Yet it’s probably not the best choice for everyone as I believe it has way more flaws in the film compared to positives as I have mentioned. I could see how some people might enjoy this movie though, some might like the love story and and visuals so it isn’t completely bad. If you’re just looking for something in the sci fi love story genre I recommend to instead watch Gattaca (1997) which is a much better film than this and has similar themes and character situations.