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Upside Down (2012)

I sincerely think this movie meant to be better than it was. The concept was there, writers just didn't use the idea to its fullest potential. 
Young Adam grew up in an orphanage where the only good thing about his life were the weekend visits to his aunt’s home until the day he meets Eden. The two children forge a friendship and grow up meeting in secret.  Little do either of them realize what their blossoming romance means; it's one that challenges two very different universes, their love has a complication beyond just being from opposite twinned worlds – the two live on opposite universes. While Eden (Kristen Dunst) grew up in an affluent world with endless possibilities, Adam (Jim Sturgess) comes from “below,” the world underneath Eden’s where poverty is the common and the poor struggle to survive. The world directly above theirs is a place that pulls in the opposite direction with its own gravity. 

Discovery of the two meeting in secret leads to ten years of separation and Adam’s belief that Eden has died. When Adam learns that Eden is working for the one company where both races can co-exist, he attempts the impossible – reuniting with Eden.

 If we cinephiles ask for fresh, snappy ideas which contradict the humdrum normalcy of romantic dramas, then those set in a futuristic world should feel pressure to bring their a-game every time. Stumbling onto this movie was as the result of a familiar cast, beyond that, the plot actually did inspire curiosity. Now, it’s finally on DVD (the film fluctuated between being a limited theater release or a direct-to-DVD title), I was glad to have the chance to rent the movie. During the narrative opening, I was cautionary and optimistic. Adam’s tale of woe sets up his backstory plus shares the reasons behind the universe he and Eden live in. The silly drama made me wince and yet I was still curious to see if or how the dystopian movie could impress, while seeing it through to completion.  

Playing with our imagination, in its conceptual stages, this story seems like it’d have been, admittedly quite good. It could have been pegged as a Romeo and Juliet like story that threw a loop in by not just dividing classes, also a twinned world division. Reminiscing on the film, throughout the runtime, my one wish could be summed up to have experienced “more” from the script in addition to wanting that for it. Upside Down could have been an interesting, unique curiosity. Instead it works against itself as a viewer painfully watches the googly-eyes (add in his atrocious hair and we’ll just say I am not a fan of the dude) Adam makes at lady love, Eden and eventually the sappiness of its ending. There were some good things about the movie. It didn’t bore me and I found in interesting that the characters names were Adam and Eden, mere coincidence? Probably not.  Given it takes place in two opposite worlds, but within that a “forbidden” relationship unfolds, all these subjects only further cements whatever subtleties the script may wish to communicate pulling from a Biblical perspective. Also playing an interesting role in the script is Adam’s work to create a cream that results in ageless beauty and his ceaseless desire to find the right formula to be able to physically be reunited with Eden. Digging deeper, I suspect these covert references aren’t accidental.  

Upside Down isn’t great. But flipping that over and examining some of its intricacies reveals it’s an interesting piece of filmwork. There are some gorgeous frames (like the ending scene) and some dizzying shots (such as the entire film’s spliced two frames of the two worlds), and of course the two opposite gravity universes ups the intrigue. Though it was an entertaining film, it’s not one I’ll be likely to watch again. To its credit, it is also relatively clean and it was nice to see Kristen Dunst in something again, beyond that, everything was forgettable. 

(Rated PG13, parental review; there are some minor “tense” moments when a woman is taken away by force from her home – viewers never learn what happened to her, but suggestions imply it wasn’t good. Men chase characters with weapons and fire on those who are fleeing. Characters kiss and there is an implication [unseen] that they slept together. There may be a minor profanity.)
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  1. I was like 'okay, this doesn't look too bad', but then I found out that Kirsten Dunst is in it and I was like 'nevermind.' haha I do not like that actress!:P The storyline still looks interesting though! haha

    Thanks for the review, hun:) I love your blog.

    1. When one doesn't care for the actors, it can be hard to "like" the movie. For me, I've liked Kristen since Little Women way back when, so it was fun to see her in this, plus as MJ and in miscellaneous other roles. :)

      Thanks for reading, Raquel!

  2. I had not heard of this film before. I love the storyline, it sounds really interesting. I haven't watched any love stories set in a futuristic world before.

    1. It was interesting, Carlyn! Slowly, I'm moving into some dystopian stories - like The Hunger Games or this film. Some I like, others not so much. :)

      Thanks for reading!

    2. I did end up watching this movie some months ago. It's certainly a unique world. It made me feel dizzy watching the topsy turvy world and imagining what it was like living there.

    3. ...that is true! I thought it was a unique concept, it just didn't play out as brilliantly as it could have.

  3. Oh, I remember seeing a trailer and thinking I'd like to see this movie! And then I kind of forgot about it. It does have a very interesting setting.

    1. My interest was piqued because of its cast, Lizzie then I was glad to find it at the video store. While I am not likely to care if ever I see it again, I don't regret watching it. There is something curious about this genre and setting.

  4. I just saw this one! And I agree with your first statement! It has such potential to be AMAZING, but it somehow left me feeling like something was missing or forgotten when the credits began to roll. Oh well, it was still not a bad way spend a few hours! Could have done worse. ;)

    1. For me, I think it was too "sappy" (immature) to be really good, Kellie (glad to chat with someone who saw this one!). That's ironic coming from me I realize since I am obviously a Hallmark kind of girl but... there you have it! ;)

      I watched the movie by myself and was just telling my mom how I found it interesting there were so many "coincidental" references pointing towards Christianity. The story wasn't trying to be Christian but... there were some implications there for the taking.

      Like you say, it was entertaining (don't regret seeing the movie), it's just not one I'll likely care if I ever see again.

  5. I was really intrigued by the trailer of this movie. Pity to hear you didn't think it was very good.

    1. I don't regret watching it... it just lacked flair, Birdie. Not sure I can put my finger on what was missing to be honest, but something was amiss. When you see it, I hope you enjoy! :)

  6. I'm not reading your review just yet because I want to watch the movie first but awesome that you've watched it! And ahhh! Definitely need to get around to it sometime in the near future; I remember being absolutely amazed by the concept of this movie when I saw the trailer. Definitely need more unique/interesting sci-fi movies out there (or movies with sci-fi elements...however you want to interpret that, LOL) :)

    1. Cannot wait to read/hear your impressions, Lianne. And since you don't wish to be "spoiled" about anything in the film, I'll refrain from discussing the movie. :)

      Agree - when done well, sci-fi movies are brilliant and fun!


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