by Ken B.
Love. Love love. I love love. Everyone loves love. But what I don’t, nor anyone else, love are movies like this – completely incompetent from a storytelling perspective, and entirely too bloated for its own good.
Juan Diego Solana’s Upside Down has a bunch of impressive visuals and absolutely nothing else. There’s a mildly plagiaristic plot, and then there’s an exceedingly complicated set of inner-movie physics. There are actors that are never really given a chance to shine, and some interesting ideas that are only briefly entertained.
Adam (JIM STURGESS) lives in a universe where there are two very separate planets, one over the other. In Down, where he lives, there is poverty abound. He grew up an orphan, as his parents were killed in an oil refinery explosion, and his only surviving relative was his great Aunt Becky (KATE TROTTER).
In Down, gravity falls down. In Up, it… goes up, of course. Up, in contrast to down, is filled with wealth and fortune. Down sells oil to Up, which converts it to electricity and sells it back to Down for higher prices. The divide between Up and Down is very obvious and the border hostile.
Anyway, one day when climbing up a mountain, Adam meets Eden (KIRSTEN DUNST), a woman from Up. They hit it off immediately, but because they are from two rival social classes, they are forbidden to cross into each other’s world and be together. They are forcefully separated, but years later Adam sees Eden as a representative for TransWorld, the massive company who owned the refinery that killed his family and thousands of others. Against the advice of his colleagues, he gains an entry level job at TransWorld, determined to reunite with Eden and make some technological developments along the way, based on something he found as a child.
It looks fairly straightforward, but this 107 minute movie all too quickly flies off the handle and becomes entirely incoherent by the last act. A while ago, I reviewed Roman Holiday, and mentioned that I liked the melancholy bittersweet ending. No such thing exists here, making this a pointless conclusion that’s mildly infuriating. It in and of itself contain extremely unlikely scenarios that I would describe, but would have to spoil the film even more in the process.
While the special effects, especially those in the wide shots between the two worlds are dynamic and incredible, Up is often shot with the camera upside down, creating an unintelligible and often nausea-inducing result. The music by Benoît Charest and Sigur Rós is nearly entirely generic and unmemorable. The performances are uneventful, mostly because the clichéd script doesn’t really give them much space to shine – or any at all. Upside Down is a colossal waste of time – one hour and forty minutes devoted to a pandering plot, clichés and predictability at every turn, and an insultingly saccharine ending makes this a movie not worth experiencing, regardless of whether you live Up or Down.