The Rundown: Upside Down has a promising premise that it seems the writer had no idea what to do with. The movie pulls you in all sorts of directions, much like the characters themselves. The effects and set pieces are top notch, but the film spends so much time on these it seems to forget about its characters. Upside Down was a movie I was really looking forward to watching. Taking classic stories and giving them a bit of a sci-fi twist, or some kind of reinvention can be really fun and entertaining to watch. With a top-notch cast, and gorgeous effects, the only thing wrong with the movie is pretty much EVERYTHING ELSE. Upside Down takes place in a solar system where two planets orbit the sun on top of one another. What makes this possible is the mysterious ‘double-gravity’ which the film spends a good five minutes explaining. The three laws of double gravity are: 1) Things and people from each planet are always pulled to their point-of-origin’s gravity, 2) You can counteract the pull of an object or person’s gravity with opposing force from the other side, and 3) If matter from one planet spends too much time on the opposite planet it starts to heat up and eventually combusts. Because of… something, Up-Top is rich, and Down-Below is poor, and the two societies are viciously segregated. Down-Below can’t afford off-world material to heat and power their homes, so they often try to steal it when they can, which creates further animosity from Up-Top. The main story follows Adam and Eden, Adam (Jim Sturgess) from Down-Below, and Eden (Kirsten Dunst) from Up-Top, who meet when they are very young at a point where the two worlds are very close together As they grow older, they fall in love and carry on a secret romance until one day they are caught. On trying to return Eden to her own world, Adam is shot and Eden falls, cracking open her head. Adam flees, thinking she is dead. Ten years later, Adam sees her on TV, and is determined to go Up-Top to find her and reunite with his lost love. One angle I could have seen them going with this movie was the disparity in living stations between Up-Top and Down-Below, maybe make a statement about class-inequality. Something like what Elysium seemed to be about. While this aspect is touched upon, there is very little of any type of politics present in the film at all. Mostly they show what a low opinion all the people Up-Top have for people from Down-Below. Some insults, a bit of inequality, the whole ‘don’t talk to people not from your planet’ thing; just a lot of discrimination. There are other ways I could see a story about parallel worlds going down. With the way the film was advertised, I was thinking they would go with a Romeo and Juliet angle. The two worlds are separate-but-equal, and the two lovers must beat the odds and find a way to be together even though they can’t even stand on the same piece of ground together. Unfortunately, if this was what they were going for, it’s a really horrible version of that love story. The film spends no time letting us see the two friends grow into lovers, and so we have no real sense of what they mean to each other. We get a couple of shots of them making out on a cliff in opposing gravities, but we really get nothing in the way of intimacy or history between them. All the film gives us is that they met, and they really like making out with each other, before the two are viciously separated by the tragic accident. Add that to the fact that Adam seems to have no problems with the disparity between the two cultures they come from. No drama is added to their interpersonal dynamics as a result of the discrimination that is clearly present in her society. This contributes more to the overall blandness of the story. Besides a lack of common history for a ‘star-crossed-lover’ story, the film also goes into great detail about the separation of the two gravities, and some of the science and how it all works, but then it pretty much breaks every single rule that it just spent a half hour explaining to us. Most of the film is Adam finding ways to cheat his way Up-Top, while we get some shots of Eden… dancing? What the fuck? Why do we even care? Oh yeah, and she has amnesia now because of her accident. So much for reunited lovers. Surprise Adam, you just spent weeks and weeks finding a way to talk to her with Ocean’s 11 levels of planning only to have her just stare at you blankly like you’re a crazy person. Awesome. Among all this ‘tragedy’ there is also a subplot about, uh, pink bees, and some kind of corporation that is run by a bunch of dicks from Up-Top who want Adam to make them magic facial cream. For a film with such potential, and with such talented actors in it, Upside Down is a huge disappointment. It can’t quite decide what kind of film it wants to be, and when it can’t resolve it through plot points, it uses sloppy writing and a senseless deus ex machina to tie up any loose ends. I really have no problem with ‘soft’ sci-fi that uses a set piece to help tell a story, but then please don’t discuss all the rules of your fake technology/scientific phenomena and then shit all over them. I could write an entire article just about the inconsistencies this movie has within its own premise. Stay away from this one, it is godawful. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related George Right, I loved the concept of this film. It could have gone the sci-fi route, the big-metaphor route, the love-story route, or the surreal-dream route – any would have been fine, if it fully committed to it. Instead, it did… nothing. In the hands of a Terry Gilliam or perhaps Richard Ayoade it could have been special. In the hands of a sub-Blomkamp type, it’s “not even bad”.