Saturday, April 5, 2014
But seriously, it's not a bad film, it's just a made-for-tv level biopic that somehow got released in theaters. It's entertaining and it's good if all you want is a peripheral, rushed view of the life of Steve Jobs and the impact he had on Apple Computers. If, however, you want to really learn about the man or the impact his company had not only on Computers but on Western society as a whole, it falls flat. Steve Jobs was one of the most pivotal, polarizing, influential, and important creators of one of the most fertile generations the world has yet scene, but that doesn't mean his life story translates to a great film. After all, not everybody's life is Shakespearean. But this film could've tried a little harder.
Structurally, it's just too rushed and kind of disjointed to have any real dramatic impact. We learn a bit about Apple, but only Apple, and if we don't see a view of the computer industry as a whole, how are we supposed to understand how much they changed it? There's one scene where Steve Jobs calls Bill Gates to complain about how he thought Windows was a copy of his Operating System, threatening to sue him and ruin his company, but that's the only mention of Gates or Microsoft. Hey... how did that lawsuit turn out? Did Microsoft go out of business?
Then there's the moment where Jobs was ousted from the company he formed, and then literally five minutes later he's brought back on as the CEO. That was five minutes on screen, but over a decade in real life. I remember when Steve Jobs came back to Apple. It was huge. You just can't get that impact when his exile and eventual return encompass ten minutes of the film. There was also this weird interlude near the end of the film that shows Jobs at him with his wife and kids, which I honestly thought was a dream sequence because these family members had never been shown before, or, if they were, I must've been day dreaming or something.
But there were moments of brilliance in the film, mostly dealing with Jobs's early attempts to sell various venture capitalists on investing in Apple. His growth from a lost hippie to a marketing genius was entirely believable, mostly based on the strength of Kutcher's performance. Nobody is ever going to call Kutcher a great actor, but he really did capture something of the essence of Jobs, not entirely and not throughout, but often enough to let you understand why so many people worshiped his leadership. Unfortunately the rest of the cast was mostly wasted on underwritten caricatures of actual people. The guy who played Woz, for example, was just some random fat guy with a beard. He was ok, but nowhere near as charming and brilliant as the real Woz.
Overall, the movie was fine and held my interest, but I don't feel as though I learned anything about Jobs or Apple that I didn't already know. In fact, I kind of felt as though had I not already known a fair amount about both, I maybe would've been completely lost. It just didn't really come together as a whole, with a story that was rushed and felt like a cliff notes version of a man's life. But I still say it's worth checking out because Kutcher really nailed it, and even though you don't learn much about the man, it did give a sense of what it was like to be around him, and that's pretty cool.