Oh boy… There are bad movies… And then there are movies like this one. It has been far too long since I have really reviewed a movie that is practically across the board terrible on just about ever level with only a few moderately redeemable qualities. Upside Down is a 2012 science fiction film that you probably haven’t heard of and you should consider yourself lucky for not having to be subjected to this level of bad.
Upside Down is the story of Adam (Jim Sturgiss) and Eden (Kirsten Dunst). So already we are in the realms of pretentious with names like that. They are two people from two different worlds that share the same symmetrical orbit. There are three rules of this planet (only three?!) 1) All Matter is pulled by the gravity of its world that it comes from. 2) An object’s weight can be offset by the matter of the opposite world (inverse matter). 3) After some time after contact, matter from the opposite world being inverted burns. Why? Because fuck you that is why.
Instead of exploring the rather bizarre physics of this world, we instead focus on Adam and Eden, two kids from different planets who fall in love with each other when they both meet on mountain tops of their respected planets. But due to the fact that Eden’s planet is more technologically advanced and thus making the other planet subservient to them, their planet forbids them from being together. The movie then follows Adam as he tries to find a way to be with Eden. He decides to take a job where she works at a building that is operated by both planets and attempts to use a set of weights to make his way to the other planet and be with Eden. The rest of the story follows him as he attempts this and conquer the vague prejudices of this world.
Graphics are Superbly Done… And That is Where Their Whole Budget Went
I don’t know if it was the creators insane thought process that if they created a visually stunning world then it would completely distract from the fact that the rest of the movie is God awful… But yeah the visuals are really well done. Not only do both worlds come to life with the beautiful imagery presented, but the constant attention to the two worlds interacting with one another in the same office buildings but at an inverse is a really cool concept as well. The color pallets are eye-catching and pleasing and even though the actual science of these two worlds is all kinds of fucked up, you cannot fault the developers for pulling all the stops when it comes to how the world is actually presented.
The Romance is Contrived
If you are going to focus on a romance… Then make it a damn good romance. This film’s entire premise is centered around Adam and Eden, two star crossed lovers trying to find a way to be together when society and physics are against them. Which would be pretty cool if I were to believe that the two had any chemistry whatsoever past adorable high school puppy love. The two randomly meet on two close up mountain tops as kids and as they grow older have rendezvous on the same mountain top. The only problem with this is that the film cuts from the two first meeting as kids, to the two meeting later as young adults. You see none of their relationship in between this or even how the two really see each other except from ‘I love you more schnookums’ eyes. After they are forced apart and Adam eventually finds her later on in adulthood, he does everything he can to be with her. By taking a job where she works and stalking her even though she has selective amnesia and can’t remember who he is. Of course the powers that be come together and they end up being able to love each other. OOPS Spoilers… But in all seriousness, I’m not going to apologize for this one. Anyone with common sense knows how this movie is going to end.
This would be a decent concept if the romance itself was also explored and given any sort of meaning. But really the only thing I saw was two teenagers who found a ‘forbidden love’ and explored it. They didn’t seem to have any chemistry past that and their only real ‘thing’ they had going for them is that they were from different worlds. Then after Eden obtains her selective memory and Adam goes on his creepy stalker fetish, none of it feels justified except for one boys obsession to be with the pretty blonde from the other world. Even at the end when they can finally be together and it is strangely implied that she is pregnant which that is a whole other can of what the fuck worms. You just can’t feel like the relationship is going to last because it isn’t build on any type of foundation except different worlds = forbidden love = freaky ceiling sex.
The World is Poorly Explained
None of this makes any sense. There is suspense of disbelief and then their is insulting common sense. At the beginning of the film, they give the three laws of the two worlds. Okay that I can accept. It is not Earth, it is two separate worlds with their own set of rules… The two planets are in the same gravitational field, fine and out of the two planets the matter from the planets (including people) is pulled towards its planet of origins… Okay a little out there… But okay cool. Any type of matter that spends too long on the opposing world begins to burn… Now that doesn’t make a damn bit of sense. But whatever, the rules are laid out… And then they don’t even stick to them. Throughout the movie Adam uses a set of weights in his shoes and on a vest in order to go to the other world and be with Eden. But while he is there, the weights begin to grow hot since it is naturally not from that world. Fine. You established this in the rules at the beginning… BUT here is where the movie shits the bed. 1) Why is it that Adam does not begin to spontaneously combust while on the other world? His clothes and the weights he is using seem to have that problem, but Adam himself seems pretty okay and good. 2) When Adam and Eden first meet, he feeds her a type of jelly that apparently can be found on both worlds and cannot harm her. This happens within the first five minutes of these rules being laid out! They discarded the rules they already established mere minutes into the story! 3) Adam’s other world friend that he meets at work, Bob (Timothy Spall) collects stamps and wants some from the other world… How can he keep them? Sure it is cool to see them floating but wouldn’t they eventually catch fire as well? 4) The whole reason Adam is hired at this factory in the first place is to create a wrinkle creme for the women of the other world that when applied to the face naturally lifts the skin to the next world, thus removing the wrinkles… Why wouldn’t there faces begin to melt off a mere hour after applying? This stuff doesn’t make sense, they introduce to these rules and then just decide to pick and choose when they apply them throughout the story!
Then we move on to the second part of the story which once again focuses on the already stupid ‘love story’ these two have going on. For whatever reason, one of these planets has become more technologically advanced then the other and as a result begins to institute its influence on the other world and begins to take a condescending tone to the other world. This of course affects our poor star-crossed lovers whose love is so forbidden that in the beginning when the world realizes the love that is going on between them, soldiers from the other world actively shoot to kill just to prevent it. Okay… Why? This seems like the dumbest idea that two planets with equal orbit could possibly do. I can understand the humans need for a pack mentality but there are just so many benefits to a mutual friendship between the two worlds instead of one just feeling the incessant need to dominate over the other. Then I have to ask, why is this relationship such a bad thing? Fine if this world does exist and one planets finds the other to be inferior I can see this being a problem or something that is frowned upon like marrying your cousin or something like that. But does that really call for them to attempt to kill them just for having what is by all accounts a teenage romance that had no hope of lasting?
The whole point of all of this is that out of all the things that are explained, none of them are explained well. I can believe all of this in a movie as long as it is explained well and keeps to the rules that it lays out. But this film doesn’t. It just seems to hand wave away these obviously big questions and then chooses to focus on this already stupid romance instead of answering the most basic of questions in a remotely plausible way.
The sad thing is that even after all I’ve bitched about, there still is a little something there. The concept of two worlds coexisting in such a bizarre fashion is pretty cool all things considered and is something that in the hands of a better director and writer, could be a decent concept.
This movie is terrible. The effects and visuals are great but that is just about it. The world itself is barely explained and even in the rules that are explained the movie still plays fast and loose with them. Instead of focusing on a rather bizarre universal occurrence and the world that is presented. The film chooses to focus on a puppy love romance between two kids with painfully pretentious names. With the exception of a few minor details, this movie is a universal disaster.
Final Score 1/5
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