HTS Overall Score:78
Ashton Kutcher stars as the venerable Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple Computers, in a biopic that details the beginnings of Apple computer and the man behind its inception. The film opens with Jobs on stage, sporting blue jeans, a black shirt, and wireless-frame glasses, pacing back and forth while preparing to unveil a world changing device. “It’s a music player,” boasts Jobs. His gait, posture, and mannerisms look undeniably familiar (Kutcher has that part of Jobs’ presence nailed). The riveted audience of Apple employees are on the edge of their chairs waiting for Jobs to unload a heap of genius. He tells them this new device will put a thousand songs in their pocket. He then holds up a thick rectangular brick and the audience explodes with excitement.
Jobs is a crash course film crammed with information. Director Joshua Michael Stern force-feeds Jobsian facts to the point that many of the more interesting moments of his life (better detailed in Walter Isaacson’s published biography of Steve Jobs) are given a cursory nod. The information overflow begins with a rewind to Jobs’ youth. Here, the film touches on a number of issues including his hippy roots, drug use, travels to India, interest in Buddhism, and his non-matriculated academic endeavors. What we see is a young man that rejects the status quo and embraces minimalism; we also see a man that is willing to use others for his own gain.
Fast-forward a few years and we find a smelly barefoot Jobs charging around an Atari office. Here, Jobs manipulatively leans on the brains and skill of his friend, Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad), who eventually introduces him to a home-brewed computer that hooks-up to a television. Wozniak is an introvert interested in the computer world because he finds it fun; Jobs sees dollar signs. The duo eventually team-up to sell fifty computer units to a local retailer and Apple computers is effectively born. As the business picks-up steam, Jobs grows from a hippie into a three piece suit wearing corporate head. Ironically, he eventually falls victim to the very machine that he helped to create and then returns to save it.
To put it bluntly, Steve Jobs is presented as an unlikeable punk. He’s selfish, self serving, petulant, obsessed, and has a short-fused temper. In some of his less glorious moments we see a man that is willing to outright deny his involvement in creating a child, and a man that is willing to give fake smiles to those that befriend him while pulling strings behind their backs. On the flip-side we also see a man that is able to leverage the best from those around him while having the vision to marry technologies into products that people want. It’s hard to root for him, but at the same time impossible not to be uncomfortably impressed.
We all know the Apple story and Jobs’ vitriolic temperament isn’t a secret – no real surprises there. This goes without mentioning that many of the other interesting facts about his life were discussed in the media ad nauseam just after his untimely death. Stripping those away, we are left with a film that’s a basic chronological rollout of Apple from birth to the iPod...and let’s be honest, there’s nothing desperately interesting about it. We were presented with a similar character study in David Finchner’s 2010 exposé about Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook. But that film was riveting because it revealed a character that the public hardly knew, not to mention it did so with with a dark and infectious artistic vibe. Jobs is rather bland in comparison. Aside from a toe-tapping classic rock sound track, there’s nothing necessarily vibrant about the film in content or presentation. Originality is sorely missing. The release’s special features are pitifully thin, which is ironically odd for a film about a man such as Steve Jobs. He would undoubtedly be unimpressed.
Rated PG-13 for some drug content and brief strong language.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news/jobs3.jpg[/img]Jobs is presented in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio with a solid MPEG-4 AVC encode. The image’s characteristics change throughout the film to identify periods of time. The film’s first act (depicting Job’s youth) features a muted color palate with sepia overtones, giving the image an aged feel. Colors are subdued and whites are far from crisp; golds and yellows dominate and blacks suffer slightly with a muddy appearance. The film’s second act portrays later stages of Jobs’ life and the visual veil is lifted. A robust crispness becomes the dominant characteristic of a neutral palate that maintains some semblance of warmth. Whites are extraordinarily vibrant, blues and reds pop, and blacks shift to a thick inkiness. Shadow detail is good, however crush is somewhat evident. Lens flair appears from time to time, but shouldn’t bother viewers adverse to the effect.
The duration of the film features clean sharp lines and a stunningly detailed image. This is particularly noticeable in up-close shots of the characters’ faces.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news//jobs4.jpg[/img]For a dialog driven film, Jobs’ DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio presentation is surprisingly spry and utterly smooth. There are loads of subtleties, such as blowing wind, birds and other outdoor ambient sounds, and the buzz of office environments, that keep the film sounding lively. Rears are effectively used to present sounds like a car pulling away or an auditorium door slamming, with pinpoint directionality. Dialog sits mid-screen (and dead center) and is easily understandable from start to finish. The film’s music track and original score are sensational. Loads of classic rock tracks spring to life with hammering bass while John Debney’s (Evan Almighty, Iron Man 2) moving original score gracefully envelops the room through all channels.
• Deleted Scenes
• The Legacy of Steve Jobs
• Feature Commentary with Director Joshua Michael Stern
I struggle with the reasoning behind producing a movie like Jobs. This is no knock on Kutcher who does an admirable job bring Jobs back to life. But let’s be honest, the movie lacks revolutionary substance and is rather bland. So Jobs dropped acid and had a little issue with anger management? Yup. Nothing new there. What would have been interesting is a character study about Steve Wozniack or perhaps another key figure closely related to Apple's inception, viewing Jobs through their glasses. Jobs isn't a film that should be too high on your list of "must watch films." It isn't dreadfully bad, so don't fear giving it a chance. But if you're truly interested in learning more about the man behind Apple's inception and resurrection, you'd be better served reaching for Isaacson’s written word and giving your home theater set-up a chance to rest. Better yet, download the book from iTunes and give it a play on your favorite i-device. I'm sure that'd make him happy.
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad
Directed by: Joshua Michael Stern
Written by: Matt Whiteley
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 128 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: November 26, 2013
Buy Jobs on Blu-ray at Amazon