In 2005 Steve Jobs gave the commencement speech at Stanford University. Since then it has been immortalized via YouTube and popularized with his passing in 2011. In it he has meaningful, inspirational words about forward thinkers, “troublemakers” and what he has learned about life as the creator and eventual CEO of Apple, Inc.
Sadly, I was more inspired from this speech than I was from watching “Jobs” in the theatre. The movie made me feel like I was at work, participating in meetings, getting frustrated with those who had helped build Apple in its early stages like Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad). Wozniak is someone I could root for, someone who had a brilliant mind boosted from creativity. Then again, Wozniak did not become the much celebrated/maybe somewhat hated Steve Jobs.
I didn’t seem any glimpses in this story of genius or passion that made me believe that Steve Jobs was an innovator. Ashton Kutcher who at the very beginning of the movie looked the part of Steve Jobs volleyed back and forth between the mannerisms he was supposed to depict and his own signature squeaky voice. The one time I saw a spark of smart was in his dealing with his original investor Mike Markkula (Dermot Mulroney). Jobs' business savvy and smooth talking seemed right on the money, but I kept thinking, why would people believe in his product, his vision? He didn’t even create it; he just pointed at something his friend did and said, “Cool.” He talked a lot about vision, but didn't show a lot of it in this film.
For those who don’t have any history of Steve Jobs or Apple, Inc., “Jobs” does take the audience back to the very beginning and shows the pioneering efforts he made in technology. This was shown in a slow-moving, uninspired way. It follows him through his first successes and his eventual boot out of his own company, but rather than diving into any one part full force, it glossed over several milestones like a history film you might watch in a museum.
I do think Steve Jobs was a fascinating person, but “Jobs” shows what’s already been reported in the media: his ego, his quirks, etc. and it was far more interesting reading about it than watching it. The movie portrays these things as props more than real-life characteristics. Apple in the here and now is still at the forefront of major technology, however, at times it seems like it may pass into nothing more than a fad. Through the development of products and innovative spirit, his legacy should live on, but as far as Ashton Kutcher’s performance of Steve Jobs, it should quickly be forgotten.
Final words: Invest in the biography rather than the biopic.