PG-13 / 128 mins
Biography / Drama
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad
Director: Joshua Michael Stern
Steve Jobs was not your average guy in the business sphere. He was a smart and quirky young entrepreneur that had his own way of doing things. This often attributed to his brash and narcissistic personality. But, that’s just how he was. He had a knack for design and detail and he always had a grand vision, one step ahead of everybody else. This led to some of his successes, as well as some of his failures. Jobs was a dynamic visionary in the tech world, and his legacy is enormous. There has been extensive looks at his life, but 2013’s Jobs is a lackluster affair that fails to capture that legacy that Jobs left behind.
There is a lot to Steve Jobs and the movie’s star, Ashton Kutcher, does a pretty good job of bringing the Silicon Valley genius to life. He put a lot into the role, mimicking everything down to his voice and the way he walked around. It was a convincing performance that is leaps and bounds above any other actor in the movie. Kutcher could have been the only actor in the movie and I would have been totally okay with that, although it wouldn’t really be a movie then, would it? Unfortunately, Kutcher’s performance is just about the only good thing about Jobs.
The movie carries itself at a breakneck pace, going all the way back to Job’s days at Reed College. We start to see the kind of person that he is and how he started to get involved in technology. From there, we are introduced to his good friend Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad) who later goes on to helping Jobs with creating their first personal computer. Jobs runs his little operation out of the comfort of his parent’s garage, until finally noticed by Mike Markkula (Dermot Mulroney), an entrepreneur and an investor that would provide the initial funding for Jobs’ Apple Computers. The rest was history.
It was by this point that the movie was flying, right when it was in dire need of slowing down. I soon started to realize that this movie wasn’t really about Steve Jobs and the person that he was, but instead, it was the history of Apple…but only at a surface level. What about Jobs’ personal life? What about his personality? What caused him to be this way? Why was his personal life so disjointed? These were the kinds of questions that I was hoping the movie would cover in addition to his dealings in the corporate world. I wanted to see who Jobs really was, but Jobs only swam as deep as the surface level, glorifying Apple’s successes and failures instead.
Perhaps the most glaring omission from the entire movie was the entrepreneur’s time with NeXT Computer. After Jobs’ design philosophies didn’t bode well with Apple executives, he was turned away, forced to go out on his own. During his brief stint away from Apple, he started NeXT Computer, a company that specialized in computers for the higher education and business class. They were top notch computers that were in a market of their own. What’s most important about this time however is the change in personality that Jobs went through. He started to lose the narcissistic behavior and started to become a more influential leader. What we don’t know is why this came to be. What happened that caused him to be this way? Was it his time he spent back with his family, fostering the relationships that he had with them? Jobs almost completely glosses over this time in his life, giving his stint with NeXT Computer a measly minute…if that. Instead, it raced right back to when Jobs came back to Apple. This movie is all about Apple. What about Steve Jobs?
I was left with a lot of answers by the time the movie’s credits rolled. Perhaps I went in to the movie expecting the wrong thing. I was looking for a mirror into the life of Jobs and why he was the way he was. What was the motivation for the way he did things? Instead, Jobs focuses on the history of Apple instead, which was the movie’s largest detriment. There were some nice moments here and there, but the movie was largely uninventive and mundane. Ashton Kutcher gave a wonderful performance as the unique and dynamic tech genius, but that was pretty much the movie’s only true glistening positive. If you want a better story about the life of Steve Jobs, you might want to check out Walter Isaacson’s biography of the man or who knows, maybe 2015’s Steve Jobs will be a better representation of Jobs’ life, although it looks like a mess right now.