Ever since Apple co-founder and tech visionary Steve Jobs died in 2011, many works about his life have been commissioned. One of those works was the 2013 movie “Jobs.”
I recently purchased the 2015 Steve Jobs movie (aptly titled “Steve Jobs”) and was originally working on a review for that movie. Then it dawned on me to compare the two movies in one post. For sake of making things manageable (unlike my WWDC 2019 post) I decided to separate the two reviews.
Therefore, I’ll (try to) talk about this movie independently of the other movie, discussing my thoughts on this movie as if I hadn’t watched the 2015 version. I will also try to keep this short and sweet – not a book
This was the first Steve Jobs movie I watched. I can remember watching clips on YouTube and, around that time, a subtitled version was rolling around YouTube that I happened to watch.
This film was good enough that I went ahead and purchased it. Which leads perfectly into my review.
Before I talk about my thoughts, lets talk about how others felt about this film. Professional critics generally disliked this movie, giving it reviews that hovered between “poor” and “fair.” IMDb was a little more favorable to this film, with a 5.9/10 score – placing it just slightly above average.
Reading through some reviews on IMDb, I saw some recurring complaints: bad acting and slow pacing. I even saw a review criticizing the movie for being a “PR puff-piece” for Apple Computer and Jobs.
Now let’s talk about what I thought about this movie.
I have an unpopular opinion about this movie: I actually liked it. As mentioned, I saw it floating around on YouTube and liked enough to purchase the movie – twice. (Once on iTunes, the other when I started using Google Play Movies.)
This movie captures Jobs life between his time at Reed College (1974) and him leaving Apple in 1985, to him returning to Apple in 1997. The film starts out with him introducing the iPod at a town hall meeting in 2001, but it doesn’t capture him in detail here. So you get to see roughly 12 years of his life.
The actors in the movie, in my opinion, did a phenomenal job. Ashton Kutcher not only nailed the role of Jobs – but he has a striking resemblance to 70s/80s Steve Jobs. Dermot Mulroney and Matthew Modine did great jobs portraying Mike Markkula and John Sculley respectively, and we can’t forget Josh Gad as Job’s fellow Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak.
The story of this movie is very nicely done, but is one of my criticisms. This movie does a good job showing the two sides of Jobs – the “reality distortion field” side where he’s charismatic, and the troubled side where he is hungry for power and is unsupportive of Chrisann Brennan, the woman he impregnated, and her (as well as his) daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs. This movie also shows how Jobs changed – how he would eventually realize his mistakes and change. This is evident in his leadership style and how he treats Lisa.
What was wrong? This movie doesn’t go too far beyond his Apple days. This movie failed to mention Jobs involvement with Pixar, and this movie briefly mentioned Jobs’ other company, NeXT. I wish this movie did a better job showing Jobs involvement outside of Apple; BUT – I understand. When you have a two hour limit, you can’t feature everything.
As for the production of this movie, I feel the editing and cinematography was good. I really enjoyed the score for this movie – the songs used were really good.
I feel the historical accuracy in this movie was good. Sure, there were some issues here and there – which three of the people portrayed in the movie (Woz, Daniel Kottke and Andy Hertzfeld) discuss on an episode of “John Wants Answers” – featured below.
I don’t expect a film to be 100% true to what happened, as a film has to capture an audience and keep them intrigued. But compared to the other Steve Jobs film (I know, I’m breaking my promise to not mention that film in this review) this film does a better job, at least from what I noticed, sticking to the truth.
This movie was also good on keeping me interested and intrigued. I never got bored with the film and wanted to turn it off. So, at least for me, the pacing was good. But I also feel that varies from person to person – ask someone who isn’t interested in tech history or Apple and they probably get bored with this film easily.
I showed this movie to my father, who isn’t interested in computers. He enjoyed the movie and felt it was well paced, too.
Lastly, I disagree with the “PR puff-piece” critic – this movie wasn’t a “puff-piece” for Apple. As far as I know, Apple had no involvement in either Jobs film. Saying that this is a “PR puff-piece” for Apple is like saying a movie about Henry Ford is an advertisement for Ford Motor Company.
This movie is a good movie displaying the two sides of a man who revolutionized the tech industry. Love him or hate him, love Apple or hate Apple, you have to acknowledge one thing: the tech world would be much different without Jobs and Apple’s influence. From the Apple II to the Macintosh to the iPhone, Apple may have not invented a lot of things themselves – but they brought technologies that only existed in labs to the every man. Just like how Henry Ford turned the car from a “plaything for the rich” to something everyone had to have.
In another upcoming post, I plan on tackling the next Jobs film – “Steve Jobs” (2015) featuring Michael Fassbender and written by Aaron Sorkin.
This post was written and edited completely on the iPad.