When watching any movies it is really up to the viewer whether we want to accept or denied the premise that the film maker offer to us, despite how improbable and preposterous they are. This would be more pronounced when it came to the science fiction genre. So i was pretty excited when i saw the trailer of Upside Down aeons ago. I wonder if it ever screened at the movie theater because i never catch it there. I only watched this once the movie is out in home media format. Let’s see what it has to offer.
Science fiction films often defy the current scientific limitations known to man, it challenges it by creating its own theory in it’s own world. Which is why i am always fascinated by science fiction genre in general. I think the better one did a good job explaining the working of the scientific element it. Very well elaborated even. For example, i accept the looping time-travel dilema in Looper or the layered dream theory in Inception. Sadly i can not say the same with Upside Down. Set up on two planets that co-exists in paralel next to each other. We learn that the more prosperous one is called Up Top, while the other is called Down Bellow. There are three rules when it concerns the gravity issues between the planet.
- All matter is pulled by the gravity of the world that it comes from, and not the other.
- An object’s weight can be offset by matter from the opposite world (inverse matter).
- After some time in contact, matter in contact with inverse matter burns.
Now after learning that (literally shoved down your throat at the beginning of the film), things are supposedly easier to digest on the film. But as the film progress i found myself getting frustrated by the inconsistencies of the said rules of gravity. I think i grew more and more frustrated as i watched the film.
But upside down delivers romantic tale inspite its science fiction approach. A boy named Adam from Down Below met a girl, Eden, from Up Top. They fall in love despite the gravities of their own planet pulls them appart. 10 years after an incident in their youth that force the teenager to separate, Adam (Jim Sturgess) found Eden (Kirsten Dunst), who now worked in Transworld. Aiming to re-ignites the sparks of their adolescent love, Adam sets out to reconnects with Eden. He’s on a mission to, literally, defy gravity.
The love story part is another recycle of Shakesperean Romeo & Juliet story. The setting might be different, the ending might be different but it is the same story where love must conquers what separates them. I feel the performance of the actors also fell flay. So the performances definitely did not help very cliche and problematic script. I wonder if it is meant to be a critic about social gap found in society, because it definitely did not achieve that. But the overall feel i get is just lackluster story that could benefit from a little developement and a lot of finesse.
One thing i can definitely say, this film has a great prospect of creating great set pieces in its production design to convey the interesting gravitational field that become the base of the story. It is visually creative and definitely have a style, as it presented in the form of Transworld bulding (with rows of cubicles both up and down) as well as the dancing ballroom (with its inverted chandelier). But the fact that the film is about two world that is literally upside down, i found myself quite overwhelmed by it. Maybe the fact that it alter between normal upright shots and inverted shots kinda give me a headache. Or maybe the coloring is a bit too highly saturated for my liking.
So, watching Upside Down definitely have been an underwhelming and confusing experience for me. If you like the cast or you like to see the stylistic visual you probably would give it a try anyway. But IMHO, there’s nothing here worth salvaging.
UPSIDE DOWN (2013)
GENRE Sci-Fi, Romance, Drama
DIRECTOR Juan Diego Solanas| PRODUCER Claude léger, Dimitri Rassam, Aton Soumache, Jonathan Vanger, Alexis Vonarb | WRITER Juan Diego Solanas | MUSIC Benoît Charest | CINEMATOGRAPHER Pierre Gill | EDITOR Dominique Fortin, Paul Jutras | STUDIO Onyx Films, Studio 37 | DISTRIBUTOR Warner Bros. (France), Millenium Entertainment (USA) | COUNTRY France, Canada | BUDGET $50 million | RUNNING TIME 107 minutes | RATING R for strong sexual content, language, nudity, drug use and violence throughout | RELEASE August 31, 2012 (Canada), April 17, 2013 (France)
STARRING Jim Sturgess, Kirsten Dunst