Here in the world of sci-fi fandom, it’s intuitive to know that our disbeliefs need to be suspended in order for all-around enjoyment to occur, more so than in any other genre. Cyborgs that travel through time? We like that. Replicants programmed for war and sex? We like those, too. The biggest franchise of them all has characters constantly dodging lasers shot from guns, and we just cheer for the heroes to shoot back. So it is this gleeful abandonment of all preconceptions and knowledge that we must adhere to when considering the film Upside Down.
For his debut feature, director Juan Diego Solanas has picked a whopper of a story, though the general story is one as old as the ages. An average man (Jim Sturgess) in an average life is driven by his romanticized memory of a girl (Kirsten Dunst) he was enamored with as a youth, and once he finds her again as an adult, he makes it his purpose to be with her again. Your average love story, right? Only this takes place on a pair of twin planets that orbit their sun simultaneously, I guess, since they’re relatively side by side. And there is a class war going on between them. Hmm.
The gimmick here is gravity’s strange properties on these worlds, of which there are three main “rules” which seems to be embedded in those from the respective worlds. All matter is pulled by the gravity of the world it comes from, and not the other. An object’s weight can be offset by inverse matter from the opposite world. Matter in contact with inverse matter will burn up after some time. Is your science hat flying off of your head with steam under it? I can’t even begin to explain these things, both because I’m severely uneducated and because I understand it’s a work of fiction. But still. Take a peek for yourself.
My final impressions are somewhat positive. It looks like some really gorgeous cinematography is going to be showcased, and there seems to be enough danger involved to buoy the film above sappy love story territory. And it always helps to have actual adults in a fantasy romance rather than teenagers.
The film opens in the U.S. on March 15, 2013. Having already been released last year in Russia and Canada, Upside Down has received middling reviews, hailing the visuals but panning the story for its core unoriginality. What do you guys think?