Saturday, January 10, 2015

Upside Down = I Spew on Dud [Upside Down (2012)]

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Some movies are fun because you can analyze the complexity of the movie.  The more you think about it, the more you realize that the writer and director knew what they were doing.  Some movies are fun because they’re simple.  You can follow the story without thinking too much about it.  Then, there are some movies that you really shouldn’t think about.  The more you think about them, the more you realize how absurd the premise is.  You start finding plot holes and the questions you start asking are along the lines of, “What were they thinking?”

Upside Down is about a pair of planets, called Up and Down.  Up has all the affluence and nice stuff that comes with it.  Down is analogous to the slums.  There are three rules.   First, matter is affected by the gravity of its own world and not that of the other.  Second, the weight of an object can be offset by matter from the other world, referred to as inverse matter.  Third, if matter comes in contact with inverse matter for more than a few hours, it will start to burn.

Adam lives on Down.  His parents were killed in a refinery explosion, leaving him to live in an orphanage.  He has one remaining relative, his great-aunt Becky.  She has this recipe for floating pancakes that rely on honey from bees that travel to both planets.  One day, while collecting the honey, he meets Eden, a girl from Up.

They talk and seem to hit it off until the border police come for him.  She seems to be killed in an accident.  Becky’s house is burned to the ground.  You see, people from Down aren’t supposed to interact that much with people from Up.  Fortunately, Adam survives and manages to keep Becky’s book, which has the recipe for the magic honey.  Adam hopes to make this into an anti-aging cream.

One day, while working on it, he sees Eden on TV.  She works for TransWorld Corporation.  He uses his product to get a job there so that he might meet her.  TransWorld is in a building that stretches from one planet to the other.  (The two worlds are impossibly close to each other, maybe a few thousand feet apart.)  Security is strict there.  Matter from Up can’t make it’s way to Down, so Adam is weighed and scanned each time he enters and leaves.

He goes through a lot of trouble to meet her, but he finds out that she has amnesia.  She remembers nothing from before the accident.  He has to see if he can get her to remember without getting caught.  All the while, TransWorld wants the cream product.  Will he be able to get the love of his life to remember him?  Will his cream be a success?

Netflix recommended this movie to me.  I have to wonder why.  As I said, this is a movie where you’re required not to think about it.  The rules, both physical and legal, seem to exist until they’re not needed any more.  If matter and inverse matter cause burning, then how are connecting buildings possible?  Yes, it’s stated that inverse matter can be cooled.  I guess we’re left to assume that buildings spanning both worlds have some sort of cooling system.

However, if you ate something from the opposing world, wouldn’t there be risk of internal injury?  How are the cable cars possible?  Both planets may share an atmosphere, but how are the bees able to collect pollen from both planets?  For that matter, how did humans develop on both planets?  You’d think we’d have different species.  They also seem to have things that we do, like pomegranates and bicycles.  I guess if you can accept that two planets can be so close without crashing into each other, you can suspend disbelief throughout.

The CGI is pretty good, although it is distracting to see people talking while looking up at each other.  The movie seems to be a vehicle for the effects.  Apparently, there’s a 3D version.  There were a lot of scenes that seemed to be filmed for this.  In fact, the only reason I might watch this again is to see it in 3D.

It’s a somewhat slow movie.  There are no explosions and few chase scenes.  This is disappointing in that everything else seems to be a backdrop to this forbidden-love story.  We have two people that aren’t supposed to be together and the movie just ends with them being together, revolutionizing their society.  Um, Ok.

I’d recommend skipping this movie if you have trouble not thinking about a movie.  If you like to, in any way, pay attention to what’s going on, you’ll probably notice various plot holes.  Some could be explained away, as I mentioned, but I found that to be distracting.  The entire time, I was wondering if various things were supposed to be possible.  Unless you can get it streaming, like I did, or can watch it in 3D, I’d say not to watch it. 

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