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The first thing I noticed were the fonts in the opening credits. I’m no typography expert, but the fonts bothered me. Clearly, they were trying to be special – yet they floated awkwardly above the screen and lacked depth. You could tell a serious effort was made to create them, but they didn’t do it for me and actually pulled my attention unnecessarily to them.
This ended up being how I felt about the whole film.
Steve Jobs is an inspiring figure, who was in fact obsessed with typography since his days at Reed College. Jobs not only pushed himself and others to greatness, but he drove many other industries to embrace design and create “insanely great” products. We are all better off in our daily lives as a result.
I was hoping the film would inspire me. I hadn’t read any reviews of the film so I was looking forward to seeing it.
On the positive side, the film mainly covers Apple’s early days from its founding to the launch of the Macintosh and then the firing of Jobs. It then jumps to his return in 1996 and, except for the opening sequence where the iPod is revealed in 2001, it doesn’t cover the last ten years of Jobs’ life (he died in 2011) when he and the company saw the most success.
Apple’s recent history is well known to everyone but its early days are not. I am well versed in the entire history of Apple but, even with the screenplay’s inevitable truth-stretching and deliberate omissions (like Apple’s famous “adoption” of Xerox PARC’s graphical user interface), I appreciated watching the story unfold. It is a great story.
And this is what is so disappointing about the film. The history of Jobs and Apple are an amazing tale but, just like the opening credit fonts, the film recounting that tale falls flat.
Ashton Kutcher physically looks pretty close to Jobs and he adopts his key mannerisms like Jobs’s gait and speech patterns. But Kutcher doesn’t embody Jobs. Like the fonts, these mannerisms stick out and detract rather than enhance.
We see Jobs’s famous anger and unfairness to friends and family, but they look like a check box in the performance. Kutcher’s Jobs pushes his employees to greatness, yet it comes out of his mouth not out of his gut. And although we hear some of Jobs’s famous speeches like his 2005 Stanford commencement speech, they fail to cause even close to the emotion I experience when I hear the real Steve Jobs say them in a recording.
What I was really hoping for was the emotion and power I felt when I saw The Social Network. I can’t even remember the actor’s name who played Zuckerberg, but that film really left an impression and yes, in a strange way, inspired me.
And that was a film about a topic I was less interested in then Jobs/Apple. Chalk it up to the talent of the writer Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher and the unusual score by Trent Reznor. In capable hands like theirs, this film and Kutcher’s performance would have been at a different level.
Airplane movie. That is what this Jobs is. You can watch it in seat 21E and be mildly entertained. And you won’t notice the fonts on that tiny screen so you’ll start off on a better foot than I did.
Posted by:Mika Salmi