Imagine a world where our planet was connected to an identical Earth, but we both had our own separate gravities. This is the premise of Juan Solanas’s ‘Upside Down’, a tale of two star-crossed lovers living on opposite twin planets – Adam from ‘the Bottom’ and Eden from ‘the Top.’ There are three rules to keep in mind while watching this film: 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); and after some time in contact, matter in contact with inverse matter burns. We are also told that people from either planet are not to fraternize with one another.
The story begins with us being introduced to a young Adam (Jim Sturgess, ‘Cloud Atlas’) sitting on top of a mountain, waiting, looking up at the “sky”, which is basically just an identical mountain. Moments later, a young Eden (Kirsten Dunst, ‘Melancholia’) appears and Adam throws her a rope to “pull” her to his planet, where the two commence to use each other’s weight to offset gravity and jump through the air not unlike two children playing on a playground. Suddenly, men from the border patrol on Adam’s world show up and begin firing on the pair, resulting in Eden falling back to her own world, injuring herself in the process, as Adam looks on in horror while being dragged away.
Fast-forward 10 years – Adam finds out that Eden is, to his dismay, alive and well and working at the underhanded TransWorld Corporation, known throughout to capitalize on the Bottom’s poverty and its lower classes for sustenance and wealth. Throwing caution to the wind, Adam makes it his mission to be reunited with the girl he so loved 10 years prior, and nothing, not the law, not the border patrol, and certainly not the forces of nature, will keep him from his goal.
Unfortunately, this film falls short on too many levels for it to even be recommended. Make no mistake: this is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful films of what will make up 2013, hands down. But that’s about it. A paper-thin plot, one-dimensional characters, literally zero antagonists or bad guys, wasted plot devices, and over-the-top sugar coated “love” clichés riddle the hell out of the ambitiously clever ‘Upside-Down’ to the point of barely being recognizable from itself one moment to the next.
To put it another way, it’s the kind of movie where you are hoping for a character to succeed in the near-impossible… and then they do. Over and over again. Without consequence. ‘Upside Down’’s tagline reads, “What if love were stronger than gravity?” when it should really be, “What if a film director actually knew how to write?” Obviously this is not always the case, but with ‘Upside Down’ it could not be more true.
Borrow ‘Upside Down’ from a friend who wasted their money already (like this examiner), or RedBox it.
‘Upside Down’ has a multitude of special features, but the only one worth watching is The Making Of featurette, not only because you actually learn a lot about the director’s train of thought when making the film (which really is quite fascinating – again, the visuals, which came from a dream Solanas had, are absolutely stunning), but because half of the remaining features basically regurgitate the same information.
This calls for a tangent. If Solanas were to do a sequel, chances are I would go see it because there was just so much that was not touched in the original ‘Upside Down.’ Take a look at the Preliminary Sketches special feature, as well as the History of the World featurette, to see what I mean.
‘Upside Down’ has been rated PG-13, for some violence (pfft!). For more information on questionable content, click HERE.
‘Upside Down’ is available at the following retail stores and online markets:
Target – DVD Blu-Ray
Best Buy – DVD Blu-Ray
Walmart – DVD Blu-Ray
Barnes and Noble – DVD Blu-Ray
Amazon – DVD Blu-Ray
Feel free to comment below to continue this review, or to suggest any films you would like to see reviewed in the future.