Movie goers often talk about a lack of originality in modern film premiers. Well, the sci fi romance Upside Down directed by Juan Diego Solanas and starring Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess is about to answer their prayers. A brand new world is created in this movie, tagging along innovative imagery, effects, concepts and even language. Let’s just hope viewers will cheer at the prospect instead of clicking their tongues and rolling their eyes in irritation.
A long time ago two planets came so close to each other they are almost touching. Instead of the skyline all its inhabitants see is the terrain of another planet. Each planet has its own gravity laws, with the upper planet being the ruling corporate utopia, drowning in wealth and luxury, sucking out the life of the lower planet, which is plunged into a deep energy crisis.
The people from the two worlds are strictly forbidden to communicate; the punishment of defying this law is death. But they are condemned to a fast demise if they venture into forbidden territory anyway as the laws of gravity of the ‘enemy’ planet will make them burn alive. The premise of Upside Down is indeed a promising one.
A boy named Adam (Jim Sturgess) lives on the dark dystopian lower planet. His parents die in a plant blast, so his Aunt Becky is the only source of comfort in his life.
A girl named Eve (Kirsten Dunst) lives in the opulent ‘heavens’. One day when Adam tosses a paper plane up into the sky, the two meet and become friends, despite the dangers such a friendship entails. That’s the strangest ‘meet cute’ moment in cinema to date.
Romance is rekindled, followed by a string of disappointments, necessary in any love story to build up tension and bring the audience to a satisfactory ending. I will not reveal the last twist for those who do want to see Upside Down in the movie theatre, but let’s just say that two things are clear from it: 1) the couple find a way to irreversibly join the two worlds, and 2) no – there won’t be a sequel (phew).
The visuals are at times breathtaking in Upside Down. The up world is filled with sunlight, gorgeously dressed people and immaculate futuristic architecture. The lows live in a black and white world with an occasional pop of the color pink.
The opening scenes of mountainous terrains and surreal cloud seas in between the two planets are a marvel of CGI, fake snow and all. Vibrant blue upside down cocktails are a fun idea and Kirsten Dunst looks her cute self sipping on them against the dark-eyed Jim Sturgess.
The film is pestered by upside down shots of places and faces, which feel new and fresh at first, but grow pretty annoying by the end of it, which is not helped by the cheesy score. The action is slow-moving, as if the viewer is invited to savor the supposed-to-wow-them visuals. Against such soporific pace, the ending seems crumpled and rushed.
Verdict: Even though the concept is completely new in terms of visual solutions, the story lacks originality, just like the main characters lack chemistry and the conflicts – a realistic poignancy and a sense of danger. Upside Down is a perfect example of the escapism that modern cinema is: perfectly pretty and irreversibly empty. Anyway its a nice change to watch the new. If you are really into sci-fi's you would like to watch it ^_^