Joshua Michael Stern’s bio-pic about one of the world’s greatest tech innovators offers a selective look into the life of Steve Jobs and his first twenty rocky years with Apple. Not only does the film present an informative and somewhat displeasing portrait of one of America’s beloved icons, it’s also very entertaining. As ‘Jobs’ (formerly known as ‘jOBS’) is set to release on Apple’s 37th anniversary, I expect it to appeal to Apple fanboys, admirers and anyone who uses an Apple product.
The first scene shows Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) introducing the first iPod to a select group of people, which basically marks the start of Apple’s rise to become the gigantic international company it is today. We then journey back to the early ’70s to see young Jobs attending but soon dropping out of Reed College. After a few drops of acid, a trip to India and discussions about life, he ends up in Silicon Valley at a little videogame company called Atari. This is where he meets Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad), the future co-founder of Apple.
Jobs and Wozniak leave Atari and, with the help of a few other friends, develop the Apple I computer kit in Jobs’ parent’s garage. This is followed quickly by the Apple II. A business entrepreneur by the name of Mike Markkula (Dermot Mulroney) hears about their product and decides to fully fund the venture. After a few years, the Macinotsh computer is unveiled in the mid-’80s.
Due to the actions of a few asinine CEOs and marketing managers, Jobs gets forced out of the company that he created. However, the company eventually begs him to come back after years of falling behind competitor Microsoft. The movie ends where it began, with Jobs in total control again, introducing the devices that begin with “i” that the world will come to use every hour of every day.
Those looking for a complete biographical narrative may be disappointed, as several key parts of the Jobs story go unmentioned, such as Wozniak’s origins, the feud with Bill Gates, Pixar, or any of the company’s operating systems. Instead, we get a selective glimpse from this period of time where Jobs struggles with his ownership of the company, with abandoning his pregnant girlfriend, and with not taking an interest in his first daughter until a much older age.
Kutcher is phenomenal as Steve Jobs. Not only does he give a commanding performance full of monologues about computer jargon, but he nails the physical aspect of the man, from his quirky walk to his body language. I hate to say it, but he might even be worthy of an award at year-end. Gad also plays Wozniak perfectly, but his character is under-utilized and only seems to be there to push the story forward.
‘Jobs’ may not be the definitive biography about the iconic founder of Apple, but it sure is an entertaining movie that shows more than just the public side of a famous man.
I also had the pleasure to sit down and talk with director Joshua Michael Stern and actor Josh Gad about their work on the film. We discuss some behind-the-scenes details, their influences, some of their favorite scenes from movies and more.