Before I watched Jobs the extent of my Steve Jobs knowledge was that he was The Apple Guy who helped Pixar become Pixar. When I worked as a bookseller at Waterstone’s my knowledge grew to, “yes, he died of pancreatic cancer, very sad. I do recommend the Walter Isaacson biography though, as it is the authorized version and is also in the three for two offer.”
For a long time, following his death, the Steve Jobs biodrama rumours, developments and production updates were everywhere – and then they were not.
Whilst holidaying in Iceland last December I nipped into a convenience store by my hotel and saw Ashton Kutcher’s ‘Steve Jobs’ face looking at me from a DVD bin. At first, what with that Technicolor artwork, I thought I was looking at some Nordic pirated version of a film that was never released. A bit of data roaming on my trusty Android quickly told me the DVD was legit and so I took it to the counter with a pair of sheep wool gloves and a bottle of Appelsin, surprised and happy that I could finally watch The Steve Jobs Movie.
Unfortunately, Jobs (because they must have realized that their original jOBS looked silly) is really quite dull. Let’s not for a moment think that The Social Network owns the corporate biodrama but iPhones and Facebook are related just enough for 21st century idiots to see one and expect the other.
The Social Network had the upper hand in that the worst thing it had going for it was that it was a movie about Facebook whereas Jobs suffered multiple disadvantages such as that it came second, it was made by nobodies, it stars Ashton Kutcher and it could not possibly match the quality of the film that audiences would inevitably compare it to.
To be fair, Kutcher does pretty well with what he is given and helping slightly is the fact that his physical resemblance to Steve Jobs really is quite uncanny. It feels irresponsible though considering the hype and story that it is based on that neither the film’s director nor producers could see that things were not going at all as well as they should have been with production.
Jobs isn’t bad, it’s just no better than a 90s television movie. Too kitsch in style and too rushed in narrative the movie attempts to focus on every bit of Jobs’ personality and career in its 2 hour runtime. The film clearly has ambition but its swarm of hurried plot and character developments makes for a biographical drama that is just too contextually vague and washed out.
The stars manage to carry the film with their myriad of underdog puppy eyes, arguments about Star Wars and frenemy bickering but much of that goes to waste because we are too distracted by the bad production values on offer with ridiculous camera zooms, weird beards and overly eccentric musical compositions being repeat offenders.
It simply seems like such a waste. There is three decades of rich drama to draw on (hey, I’m read up now) and the best the production crew could do was get actors who looked remarkably like those people the characters are based on to stand around whilst they filmed and edited the movie in the most weird and theatrical way they could think of.
If Jobs ever comes onto LoveFilm or Netflix sure, give it a watch, but don’t spend the Icelandic equivalent of £16 on it any time soon.