Jobs is a missed opportunity, a film that barely touches on the life of Apple Inc. co-founder and visionary inventor Steve Jobs instead of diving headfirst into it. Unsurprisingly perhaps, another movie that purports to be less melodramatic and more faithful to Jobs’ life is already in the works – it might be wiser to wait for that untitled project from Academy Award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) rather than expose yourself to this middling effort from director Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote, Neverwas).
It’s underwhelming, covering only the famous tech guru’s life from 1971 to 2000. That said, the film opens with a tease: an overly dramatic sequence depicting the very first reveal of the original iPod in 2001 (I’ve watched the actual reveal and it really wasn’t quite as sensational). After this tease, the film backpedals to an unkempt younger Jobs who appears to lack direction in life and then proceeds to follow him chronologically forward through the next 30 years.
We see Jobs, played by an appreciable but slightly out-of-his-depth Ashton Kutcher (No Strings Attached, Killers), form a close working relationship with friend Steve ‘Woz’ Wozniak (Josh Gad; She Wants Me). The two come up with the idea of a personal computer – a radical notion that many investors didn’t understand at the time because there simply wasn’t a market for such a product. Despite the dire straits, Jobs uses his marketing knowhow to convince entrepreneur Mike Markkula (Dermot Mulroney; Stoker) to support the production of the Apple II computer, thus kick-starting a technology revolution that would change the world.
The story primarily focusses on the early days of Apple, from its humble beginnings in a household garage to the eventual big leagues, where design and innovation give way to boardroom bickering and shareholder interests. Unfortunately, while the film makes it clear that Jobs is a visionary, it doesn’t let us under the hood. We learn little of his personal world outside of a few cursory and rather out of place nods to his family and status as a father. Other details, like Jobs’ involvement in the founding of animation studio Pixar are also omitted.
Moreover, many of Jobs’ most interesting years including his battle with cancer are completely skipped. Specifically, the last decade of his life isn’t even touched on outside of the opening tease. This is a real loss because it was the decade in which Apple returned to success after a long drought, largely owed to Jobs’ renewed direction and the release of new devices like the iPhone, iPad and more. These products have had an enormous impact on modern society and that they shouldn’t even be mentioned in a biographical movie about Steve Jobs is almost criminal.
A disappointing look at Apple co-founder Steve Jobs that fails to do the acclaimed innovator justice.