Upside Down: 3D [Blu-Ray] Juan Solanas

Upside Down: 3D [Blu-Ray] Juan Solanas
6
As indicated during the opening 3D animation, the realm of Upside Down is one of class system distinction — two parallel worlds with inverse gravity fields are connected only by a central corporate tower. The more affluent planet takes oil from the poor one to create energy they can't afford, which, even considering the distraction and visual wonder of two worlds sharing each other as a skyline, has rather obvious socio-political implications that were similarly evident in director Juan Solanas's native Argentinean debut, Northeast. Here, Adam (Jim Sturgess), a downtrodden orphan, disobeys the rules about climbing above a certain altitude, meeting Eden (Kirsten Dunst) at a young age. Fraternization between the worlds is strictly forbidden, giving their budding love story a relatively standard dual purpose, utilizing romance as a metaphor for Communist idealism. While this fantastical, self-consciously biblical and resultantly predeterminist work is fuelled by universal concepts via an accessible fable, the preoccupation with politics over humanity leaves everything feeling cold. After Eden suffers an early injury, resulting in amnesia, Adam goes into invention mode, using pink bee pollen, which has a contrary gravitational pull — in relation to the laws of physics, bumblebees shouldn't be able to fly, considering their weight and wingspan — to invent beauty products for youthful rejuvenation. Though his motivation eventually becomes that of a reunion with his long lost love (once he realizes she isn't dead), the quotidian arguments about politics bog down much of the narrative. His friends and inventor peers respond with hostility when they find out he's selling out to "the man," taking a job working for the rich domain above, just as his friendship with overhead buddy Bob (Timothy Spall) serves as another time consuming contrivance, existing to reiterate the importance of people from all walks of life working together and treating each other as equals. Bob also reiterates corporate psychosis, being unceremoniously laid off over a loudspeaker after having given a third of his life to the company. This leaves the central love story between Adam and Eden with surprisingly little screen time to blossom. When they do finally connect, Adam's twitchy, sweaty and altogether creepy disposition makes her interest in him rather perplexing. But she's written merely as an empty vessel; she's a wispy, beautiful cipher for Adam to desire while he strives to free himself from the social confines the rich have relegated him to. If she were given more dimension and their relationship added thought, the eventual climactic chase and dramatic outcome would have possessed more intensity and a greater effect. Instead, the sun-bleached landscapes and constant visual reminders of geography are all there is to behold in this didactic tale. Unfortunately, in 3D, the flatness of the animated backdrops and skylines is exaggerated by the definition in the foreground. The visuals aren't discussed much in the special features, but the casting process and the political undertones are. Everyone's prefabricated commentary doesn't add much dimension to the experience of the movie. (eOne)