I stumbled across this movie while trying to find something to watch on Netflix. The premise sounded interesting, a story about a world that has dual gravity. How does dual gravity even work? Well, the movie attempts to create its own set of rules about how there are two twin planets, each with its own opposite gravity. Basically, objects are pulled by the gravity it originates from and will ignite after a certain time. This means that if an object was to cross between worlds, that object would now fall up instead of down. It sounds confusing, but the concept allows for some striking visuals. Unfortunately, Upside Down suffers from confusing storytelling and a lack of consistency between the rules of gravity it creates.
If dual gravity was not unique enough, Upside Down sets itself apart by being a romantic science fiction film. I did not even realize that was a genre. Anyways, the lovers in this film are Adam and Eden, played by Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst respectively. They are from opposite worlds which are simply named Up and Down. They meet as children when they both happen to be walking up a mountain in their own worlds. Adam tries to bring Eden down to his world by using a rope. It works and they have a great time together, until they are caught by other people. For some reason, people from opposite worlds are not allowed to interact with each other and it is a very serious offense to do so. Adam attempts to return Eden to Up but she accidentally falls, causing a puddle of blood to rush from her head.
The film then jumps ahead ten years and we see Eden appearing on a TV show, working for TransWorld. I guess she managed to survive the fall. It did not seem likely that her body would be found in time, considering that she was on the top of what seemed to be an abandoned mountain. Maybe authorities from Adam’s world alerted Up about her body. Anyways, now knowing where Eden can be found, Adam also gets a job at TransWorld. The appearance of TransWorld was confusing at first as the film never made it clear that such a massive building exists. It is the only building that stretches across both worlds. I am still kind of confused as to what TransWorld actually does, but Adam is able to finish working on a face-lift cream that he has been working many years on.
With the help of his co-worker, Bob from Up, Adam is able to meet Eden again. Adam escapes the movie’s rules of gravity through the use of weights obtained from Up. This does not prevent Adam’s clothes from igniting, however and has to retreat back to Down. His clothes catching fire are the least of his worries as Eden suffers from amnesia and has no previous knowledge of Adam’s existence. Through a well-timed dream sequence, Eden suddenly remembers who he is, causing a lot of happiness between the two when they meet again.
Upside Down takes its time in developing the plot until the second half where the plot moves so quickly that the wonder of dual gravity starts to fall apart. Adam becomes a fugitive once people from Up realize that he is from Down. He gets threatened by TransWorld for not telling them the secret ingredient in his face-lift cream. Eden gets arrested for interacting with Adam. Bob gets fired and spends his time at home coming up with a way to cross worlds without weights. He also buys the patent to Adam’s cream. The film did not establish that there was even a patent for it and this line was said in passing, which is weird because it ends up solving one of the biggest problems Adam is experiencing. In the final scene, Eden reveals to Adam that she is pregnant and the film abruptly ends by explaining that the pregnancy changed the world and that people from Up and Down are now allowed to interact with each other.
The ending is so abrupt that it makes the entire movie feel like a joke. There is not a scene in the movie that would imply that Adam could even be the father of the child. How exactly did this child form equality between Up and Down? I don’t think there has been such an important child in film since John Connor from the Terminator series. It is probably the film’s way of trying to include biblical parallels. The movie sure does set itself up for one, I mean, Adam and Eden, it is so obvious.
The laws of gravity that make the movie so intriguing to watch are also ruined. There are inconsistencies throughout the film that make it even harder to understand how the gravity is supposed to work. In one scene while Adam is in Up, his tie starts floating. Unless he was wearing a tie clip, his tie should have always been floating. What about the skirts that Eden wears? You would think that they would be impossible to keep down. Another inconsistency is the drinks that Eden orders from a restaurant in Up. The drink floats up, meaning that it is from the opposite world. Matter from the opposite world eventually catches on fire. I just do not understand how she is able to drink without killing herself or how she was even able to swallow the drink in the first place without choking. I think I might be overthinking it, but if the movie took the time to try and create a logical set of rules, it should at least follow them.
Upside Down tries to do way too much in a span of two hours. The plot becomes too convoluted for its own good and becomes confusing for unnecessary reasons. Despite the amazing idea of dual gravity, I have a hard time recommending it. The visuals are incredible, but are the only worthwhile part of the film. I would suggest just watching the trailer just to get a snippet of the visuals without having to be letdown by the weak story.