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Upside Down 3D(2012)
Adam is an ordinary guy in an extraordinary universe. He lives humbly trying to make ends meet, but his romantic spirit holds on to the memory of a girl he met once upon a time from another world, an inverted affluent world with its own gravity, directly above but beyond reach… a girl named Eve. Their childhood flirtation becomes an impossible love. But when he catches a glimpse of grown up Eve on television, nothing will get in the way of getting her back… not even the laws of science.
For more about Upside Down 3D and the Upside Down 3D Blu-ray release, see Upside Down 3D Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on June 18, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Jim Sturgess, Stella Maeve, Neil Napier, Timothy Spall, Blu Mankuma
Director: Juan Solanas
» See full cast & crew
Upside Down 3D Blu-ray Review
All is right side up with this release.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, June 18, 2013
What if love was stronger than gravity?
Try to imagine this scenario: A man walks into the gym, his pre workout of choice rushing through his system, the unmissable stench of fresh and stale sweat fouling the air, the grunts of power lifters, the clinking of weight plates, the whir of treadmills, and the idle chatter of social exercisers filling the air. It's earbuds in, iPod powered, iTunes on, and the music blaring. And now, focus. Pure focus. The lifter stretches and heads for the dumbbells. He pulls off a seventy-pound pair from the bottom rack (hey, this isn't Ronnie Coleman here) and lumbers to a free bench for a little chest work. He sits down, places the weights on his thighs, leans backwards, and pushes those weights into the air. One. He exhales, brings his arms back down, focuses for a moment on the movement for two and then finally sees with clarity the area above him where he spies something quite out of the ordinary. Is that a mirror? They're usually only along the walls, not lining the ceiling. He sees a man on a bench, the weights by his side in the same position as his, and his pause begets a heavy flinch as those blocks come hurtling down towards him with a grunt. He nearly drops his own weights and runs, a futile effort, he knows even in a flash, against the weight of the dumbbells and the forces of gravity.
Then, suddenly, the miraculous happens. They move back upwards again, still in the lifter's hands and back down toward his sides. After the moment of panic escapes him, he remembers he lives in the world of Upside Down. And no ordinary world it is. Only yards -- sometimes even feet -- above him is an opposite world where the laws of gravity are the same as his, but flipped 180-degrees. He calms and follows the upside down exerciser's motion, rep for rep, breath for breath, but probably not thought for thought. Who knows where that guy is -- probably thinking "light weight!" -- but Mr. Focus's mind is no longer on three-four-five-lost count but rather on the topsy-turvy world that's unlike anywhere else in the known universe, where two societies co-exist, one above the other though to each, they're both on the "right" side of nature. It's a world that follows the rules but at the same time breaks them, a world where everything is different but one constant remains, and that's that the power of love in indeed a very curious thing, a thought, a feeling, a knowing that can break rules that have already been broken and have yet to be tested, even the "rules" of opposing gravity.
Those rules are threefold. One, all matter is pulled by the gravity from its native world. Two, weight may be offset with matter from the other world. Three, matter in contact with inverse matter will eventually be set ablaze. It's on two opposing worlds -- the Up world and the Down world -- and under the constraints of these laws, where a story of love, exploration, discovery, and danger unfolds. The upper world has grown prosperous. A corporation called TransWorld links the two worlds, selling electricity at an astronomically high rate to the dependent and decaying lower world. It's from that bottom world where a man name Adam (Jim Sturgess) comes. One day, collecting a special pink pollen, he meets a girl from the upper world, Eden (Kirsten Dunst). They fall in love and love as best they can considering their circumstances. One day, however, Adam is wounded after being mistaken for a criminal. His wound causes Eden to fall back to her world. Ten years pass. Adam is a scientist working on a new facelift cream. On television, he sees Eden and learns that she's now working for TransWorld. He sets out to reconnect with her -- he finds employment with TransWorld -- but learns that her circumstances have changed since their last meeting. Now, Adam must fight for the one he loves and by doing so may forever alter the relationship between the Up and Down worlds.
Upside Down is one of the more beautiful films of recent years, not in a traditional sort of way but in its creation of a world on edge -- literally on the edge of another -- that's thoughtfully conceived and visually resplendent, resulting in a picture that's stylistically robust from the top down, through its contrasting elements and the draw of opposites attracting, in this case quite literally. It's a film that's alien and familiar both, different but comfortable, and deep down nothing more than a simple story of love won, lost, and sought again. Here, it's set against a backdrop that's like a broken mirror in which a struggling society exists under the thumb of a superior society, not wholly unlike the world envisioned by H.G. Wells in The Time Machine or any tale of "superior" and "inferior" races coexisting within close proximity, particularly one that capitalizes on the differences in strength, intelligence, and technology over the other. In Upside Down it's a financial separation of the worlds that's morphed into something more, a sense of perfection, invulnerability, do-no-wrong attitude. The visuals do a fantastic job of contrasting the two; the digital effects are largely seamless, showing above a thriving, bright society and below a bleak, crumbling world. The film uses blinding background lights to further the contrast but to also highlight the goodness that comes from the love that's formed where love shouldn't and, by the laws of nature on these worlds, really cannot exist, at least in the physical aspects of love. It's easily one of the year's most visually arresting pictures, but is there more at the core or is Upside Down ultimately a hollow pursuit?
Sadly, the core of Upside Down is just that: hollow. The contrast is really quite striking. On one hand is an amazing world built on a clever idea that's marvelously realized on film. The story, however, is a fairly shallow one, a standard plot that's far too flimsy and unspectacular for the rest of the movie. Opposing worlds are met with a basic story of love, and one propped up and dramatized by one of the oldest crutches in the book. It's a story of little consequence, particularly within the greater prism of the spectacular visuals. Fortunately, Actors Dunst and Sturgess build highly likable characters out of the stock emotions they're given, and that chemistry creates an almost enchanted romance that nearly covers the tracks of an otherwise disappointing story. Almost. The film flops around elsewhere, too, away from the romance. The idea that those who trick gravity and travel to the other world catch fire over time seems wholly contrived, there only to force some drama and excitement where none really needs to exist. The film devolves on several occasions, then, to would-be humorous scenes of Adam attempting to keep others from noticing that his feet are smoking or fully aflame, and there's also the obligatory chase scenes that add some dull action to a movie that really doesn't need it and shouldn't use it. A film of this magnitude, of such visual brilliance, of such high conception, certainly could have found a core story of more novelty and import, but at least the actors carry the burden well and leave Upside Down feeling right side up, flaws and all.
Upside Down 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Upside Down's 2D presentation is gorgeous. The 1080p transfer retains a beautiful film-like texture, accentuated by a light grain field and dominated by wonderfully crisp and authentic details. The image is very clear and accurate. Textures are pure, from faces to clothes and everything else in the foreground and background both. The large number of visual effects, too, look seamless and are themselves very precisely detailed, whether the shiny top world or the dilapidated and cold lower world. Sharpness is constant, and raw definition, too, is faultless. The color palette shifts dramatically throughout the film. It's very cold in spots, dominated by blues and grays, but also almost resplendent and heavenly in others, defined by bright whites and golds and reds. No matter the place, time, or contrast, however, the transfer amazes with its natural color reproduction. Black levels are great and flesh tones are natural. There is a noticeable instance of aliasing across some problematic wall hangings in chapter four, but otherwise this transfer rates very highly. It does most everything right and replicates a pure, attractive cinema feel with nearly every frame.
Upside Down's Blu-ray 3D transfer isn't one that's destined for the highlight reel, but it's a solid, dependable, sometimes stunning presentation that usually takes advantage of the film's unique environments, in some instances a little bit better than others. Sprawling locations seem to stretch on for some length, whether the two-sided office or vast exterior city shots as seen both from above (or below) and on the ground (either ground). Basic depth is this transfer's best asset. There's very little in the way of material that really seems to extend from the screen; it's almost all one direction -- going back into the screen rather than coming out -- but that real sense of depth suits the movie very, very well. Only the opening title graphics really create a forward sense of space; titles nicely hover off the screen and some of the animated material opens up outward rather than inward. Otherwise, this is a standard, but effective, 3D presentation. The rest of the transfer quality is the equal of the 2D picture quality. It's not appreciably darker, even considering how often dark the film naturally appears. Whether the nearly blinding white and blue-hued TransWorld offices or the black-and-blue lower world (note the common color element and consider it a suggestive "connection" of sorts between them where otherwise one does not exist beyond TransWorld), Millennium's transfer holds true. Details remain good and oftentimes striking, keeping a lightly gritty, grainy appearance. Though not a reference 3D transfer, this one's quite good in overall.
Upside Down 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Upside Down features a very well put-together Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. From the outset, listeners will appreciate the track's rather wide, even, detailed, and clear presentation. Everything is delivered in good working order and with precise placement and pitch. Light ambience nicely supports a variety of scenes; a rattly bicycle, chirping birds, distant and up-close thunder, dripping water, and industrial machinery all play with a very real, very accurate sense of placement and precision. Heavier effects, too, dazzle. A few gunshots early in the film explode from the barrel but also linger very well throughout the stage and, at distance, create a highly authentic sense of spacing around the stage, opening up the confines of the listening area to the beautiful outdoor location seen in the film. Music is delivered with superb clarity, flowing effortlessly to the sides and enjoying a balanced surround support. Lastly, dialogue plays crisply and evenly from the middle. This is a tight, often exhilarating, and technically polished soundtrack that supports the movie very well.
Upside Down 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Upside Down contains a making-of and a host of technical featurettes.
Upside Down 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
There's an even better movie within Upside Down, but the one that Writer/Director Juan Solanas has fashioned isn't bad at all. It overcomes a rather trite love story thanks to not only its incredible visuals and novel idea but also a pair of energetic, sincere performance from Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess. The picture is a little overly dramatic and self-important at its bookends, and even if the story proves rather ordinary in an extraordinary world, Upside Down still makes for a success considering both its high novelty and heartfelt sincerity. Millennium Entertainment's Blu-ray 2D/3D release of Upside Down features top-end video and audio. Several extras are included. Highly recommended.
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