A quick movie review for you today. I recently watched Jobs (2013), starring Ashton Kutcher. I liked this movie much better than the subsequent Steve Jobs (2015), which starred Michael Fassbender.
Say what you will about him, but Ashton Kutcher is a skilled actor. In this movie, Kutcher pulled off one of the most difficult acting feats: He believably stepped into the shoes of a recently deceased figure who is still very much a part of our collective, living memory.
Jobs covers Steve Jobs’s long up-and-down journey from college dropout in the mid-1970s, to personal computing wunderkind of the early 1980s, to corporate exile of the early 1990s. And, of course, his triumphant return to Apple later in that decade.
I’m something of a Steve Jobs fanboy, and I’ve read Walter Isaacson’s biography of the man, published shortly after Jobs’s death. The movie is largely accurate, based on my reading of the Isaacson biography.
Steve Jobs died at the relatively young age of 56, but he packed a lot—and I mean, a lot—into that short life. You’ll probably get more out of the movie if you can manage to read the Isaacson biography first.
Jobs is over two hours long. Despite that length, the film necessarily truncates a large portion of its subject’s life—namely, the years Jobs spent in relative obscurity at NeXT.
The abridgment of the NeXt years is understandable. I would, however, have liked to have seen a bit more detail about how Jobs rescued his old company from near bankruptcy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The new iMac, the iPhone, the iPod….There is a lot to cover there.
The movie does touch on these events. Jony Ives (played by Giles Matthey) makes a brief appearance. But viewers who haven’t read the Isaacson biography will likely miss a lot of this.
I acknowledge the counterargument, though: A full coverage of this final stage of Steve Jobs’s career—and life– would have added another full hour to the movie. The creators of Jobs probably determined (and probably correctly) that this would have been simply too long for the attention spans of twenty-first century moviegoers, no matter how fascinating the subject matter.