Upside Down (2012)

Upside Down
Director: Juan Solanas
Writer: Juan Solanas, Santiago Amigorena, Pierre Magny
Cast: Jim Sturgess, Kirsten Dunst, Timothy Spall, Blu Mankuma, Nicholas Rose, James Kidnie, Vlasta Vrana, Kate Trotter, Holly Uloth
Seen on: 1.1.2017

The two planets Up Top and Down Below are so close to each other, in some places they are within touching distance. There is even a big building, the TransWorld HQ, that connects both. This is made possible by dual gravity: both planets come with their own gravitational system that pull the things, living and otherwise, that belong to each in opposite directions. Adam (Jim Sturgess) grew up in the mountains of Down Below where he met Eden (Kirsten Dunst) from Up Top. They fell in love, but their forbidden contact was discovered and Adam had to leave Eden behind, believing her dead. 10 years later, he discovers that she is actually alive and works at TransWorld. Adam knows he has to find her again.

Upside Down was a poorly constructed film full of tropes. It just didn’t work for me at all, instead it remained nonsense. It doesn’t even begin to hold a candle to Patema Inverted that works with the same idea.

Look, I’m willing to go along with a lot of rather ludicrous stuff when it comes to world-building, as long as things are done with care and are stringently thought through. In Patema, that works as little on a basis of actual phsyics, this was the case. In Upside Down it just didn’t work. One of the major things was the fact that matter from Up Top and matter from Down Below can’t be in direct contact with each other for a prolonged period – else it starts to burn. Which means that the atmosphere between Up Top and Down Below should be constantly in flames since that is where the uppermost Down Below-particles meet the lowermost Up Top-particles.

We could also squabble about the fact that the both worlds are called what they’re called – because it actually centers the perspective of Down Below, the poorer, obviously less powerful of the two planets that is being exploited by Up Top. To Down Below, Up Top is above them, physically speaking. But to Up Top, Down Below is (in) their sky. That might be nitpicking, but it shows that there is not all that much care that went into the world-building on this one.

The film is preoccupied with creating cool visuals instead. And I will readily admit that a lot of it looked very nice, but in a surprisingly uncreative way – the usual monochrome dystopia. Plus, the CGI is not all that great and sometimes it all looks too much like set pieces.

Unfortunately, those two – the world building and the visuals – are the selling points of the film. And since the fim doesn’t deliver on them and the characters it features are incredibly bland, one is stuck with a rather boring affair all in all.

Summarizing: Watch Patema Inverted instead.

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