Sorkin’s ‘Steve Jobs’ Just Scratches the Surface
As I sit here typing this review on my iPad I am reminded, no man has had as strong an effect on modern day society as Steve Jobs. He single handedly changed the technological landscape of the world with his vision. Or so he would have had you believe. Luckily “Steve Jobs” the movie sets things straight and offers insight into one of the most influential minds of the century.
When dealing with a global icon like Jobs, how can you fit all that he has done into a two-hour package? Easy, you shrink it down to the handful of key figures, slather on tons of quippy (yes I made that word up, I’m harnessing my inner Jobs) dialogue, and confine the world to a behind-the-scenes look at three iconic product launches. Add in a dash of family drama in the form of a protract paternity battle and baby mama issues and wa-la, you have a snapshot of what it took to change the world.
Aaron Sorkin penned this film based off the book of the same title by Walter Isaacson. In Sorkinesque fashion we get a first hand view of the legend that is Steve Jobs. Always one for wordplay, Sorkin does stray from his style in this biopic. And while it was certainly an interesting look into the life of a genius I could help but think that if I had a Samsung Galaxy I might not be half as interested. There is a lot of talking and then arguing and then more talking. This all could have been hard to watch but the actors make it so damn fun.
So is this product launch as successful as the iMac or the iPhone after that? Lets take a look.
Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 3
I won’t discuss the camera work or score too much here, as they are pretty serviceable. They are pretty good but nothing ground breaking. They don’t hinder the story but they also don’t drive much of the story either. That isn’t a slight to Danny Boyle, who directed. It’s just that the dialogue and interaction carry the show here. Michael Fassbender channels Jobs so well it’s kind of scary. You definitely identify with him despite him doing some pretty terrible things to the people around him. Kate Winslet is his perfect foil playing his right hand woman Joanna Hoffman. The interplay between the two is pretty darn magical and worth the price of admission in my opinion. Seth Rogen’s Wozniak is spot on and sympathy inducing. And then there is Jeff Daniels. Daniels is to Sorkin’s words what Jobs was to Wozniak’s design, he makes it work so well. His time on the HBO series “Newsroom” goes to show that he and Sorkin are meant to work together.
There is definitely some common themes of control and letting go throughout and each actor shines in their roles. As much as Jobs’ genius is on display here so too is Sorkins’ weaving those emotional threads throughout while not leaving you feeling bombarded with messages. There are plenty there to be sure, you just don’t feel as hit over the head with them as you sometimes do with Sorkin films.
You don’t get to see the products get developed. That’s a bummer but there is enough here to enjoy that it doesn’t feel like as much of an oversight. However since most of the viewing audience are going to be Apple fanboys and girls it may leave little to be desired.
Entertainment Value – 3
As an iPhone carrying member of Apple’s Fanboys and Girls United I was pretty excited for this movie. Because of this fandom I was intrigued and captivated throughout. Seeing the Grand Poobah of tech and getting a first row seat (actually I was quite a few rows back, but I digress) was quite the thrill. Not sure if I was a less enthusiastic tech supporter if I would have found it as fun to watch.
The subject matter can be difficult to deal with in some parts. Especially the bits about his daughter or alleged daughter, those were tough to stomach. While the interaction between actors was fun, seeing an idol basically conduct himself like an ass for the better part of the movie is a bit cringe worthy at times.
There are some memorable, quotable lines throughout, like;
Engineer: “How many options for the clock do they (the users) need?”
Steve Jobs: “Two, buy it or don’t…”
Or Lisa Brennan saying the iMac looks like a Judy Jetson Easy Bake Oven.
“Steve Jobs” is entertaining but beware, if you aren’t as much of a fan of Apple products you may find yourself even less so after seeing the CEO of the company act like jerk for two plus hours.
Rewatchability – 3
While I did enjoy the movie I couldn’t see myself watching it again unless someone else really really really wants to see it and I am there last resort to check it out. I did enjoy the characters and story but it is quite a bit of nothing actually happening. You can only watch a couple argue for so long before tuning out. You get a lot of that here. With that said the words are pretty engaging so if I happened across it on cable I may be inclined to watch again. Sorkin has that effect. The guys got beautiful words.
(My Re-watch –ability chart)
- 0=Pretend I never saw it and have no desire to
- 1=Never watching again
- 2=Would probably sit through if it popped up on HBO or FX
- 3=Would DVR it and watch again or recommend to watch with a friend
- 4=wouldn’t mind killing time to see it in the theater again. In fact I would like to do that
- 5=I am going to see this in the theater again, maybe twice more as well as stop what I am doing and watch every time it is on TV.)
Blu Ray Extras!
For this dialogue driven film, the “Steve Jobs” Blu Ray extras perfectly supplement this biopic. The “Inside Jobs” segment is purely supplementary to the correlation between Michael Fassbender’s portrayal and the actual Steve Jobs. Per usual, the bonus features also include a fair amount of commentary, but this will be seen as an asset only to true cinephiles.
"Steve Jobs" takes a glance into a complex individual and shows just a tiny bit of what makes him tick. While the film isn’t ground breaking cinematically it is interesting to see what went on behind the scenes as history was being made. The actors turn in award worthy performances. While Fanboys and Girls may be disappointed with the lack of Apple product development discussions, the insight into Jobs and his process should be a enough to satiate them. Those not so interested in Apple products might not be as inclined to check it out though. It was nice to get a glimpse into one of the great minds we have lost in recent years but this "Steve Jobs" only scratched the surface.