When the Steve Jobs biopic, Jobs (2013), was initially released, it was panned by critics and audiences alike. Today, we revisit the film in a time where Apple has had a reputable era without their original leader and master innovator, Steve Jobs. Upon rewatching Jobs, I found myself glued to Ashton Kutcher’s performance.
From his uncanny resemblance to the Apple co-founder to the intricacies he managed to flesh out in the subtle behavioural movements that Jobs was recognized for. He fully dedicated himself into becoming Steve. While that may seem obvious, being that that’s an actors job, it is that much more captivating because of Mr. Kutcher. Ashton Kutcher has dipped into dramatic roles in his past, such as The Butterfly Effect, Spread, and The Guardian, to – well – decent effect.
It is here, though, that you truly see him take on a persona that is not related to his past roles whatsoever. Seven years ago, when the film was released, there was a plethora of interviews in which Kutcher spoke about the preparation for the role. Not only did he dive in head first into becoming Steve Jobs, he was also able to relate Jobs love of technology and entrepreneurship to his own life and interests. It’s a breath of fresh air to see an actor who has been pinned down to a specific archetype for most of their career rise to an occasion to put on an incredibly convincing dramatic performance, which in my opinion is extremely overlooked and underrated.
Those who grew up in the Millennial Generation were most likely introduced to Ashton Kutcher through his portrayal of Kelso on That 70’s Show, a fan favourite character. After finding success and popularity amongst fans he began to appear on the big screen, often playing a similar character to the one he played on That 70’s Show. It takes a lot of hard work to break off any archetypical weight particular actors carry throughout their careers. In Jobs, Ashton Kutcher truly sheds his skin as a handsome, loveable goofball and shows just how powerful he can be in a dynamic role that requires the utmost attention to detail whilst preparing for a heavy role.
In the film in discussion, we see the rise of Apple Computers Inc. from the early days of Jobs’ parents garage with his friend and co-founder, Steve Wozniak, to the tumultuous relationships that fell and broke apart during the rise of the largest technology company in the world. The decision to revisit the film in 2020 was due to recognizing that Apple has had nearly a decade of new leadership ever since Steve Jobs sadly passed away in 2011 after battling with pancreatic cancer for nearly 7 years. During my rewatch, the most recurring thought I had was just how truly innovative Steve Jobs was. The decisions he did and didn’t make were what made Apple Computers stand out so much from their competitors. With Tim Cook, the direct successor to Jobs, as the current CEO of Apple, many consumers and fans of Apple’s societal shifting products seem to have a relatively common complaint. A complaint that often visits my own mind as well, is the recent lack of innovation. While watching the 2013 biopic on Jobs’ life the most reoccurring problem that Jobs had to face was that his employees, co-founders and investors did not see innovation the same as he did. Steve Jobs wanted technology to be an extension of the customer themselves. Personal. Intuitive. Revolutionary. The products invented and released during Jobs’ run as Apple’s CEO shaped and shifted the world of technology as we know it today. From the Mac II to the iPad, each product had new purposes, new personalities, and fresh takes on what he saw as innovative. Under the current Apple CEO, Tim Cook’s, leadership, it seems that Apple is playing catch up in innovation as opposed to what Jobs stood for in leading the market for innovation.
What the 2013 film based on Jobs’ rise, fall and rise again position as CEO of Apple Computers Inc. offers us is a firsthand glimpse into how vital and truly important it was to Jobs to be innovative, something we could all learn from when creating opportunities in our own lives, albeit – perhaps with a kinder approach. During my revisit to this film, I couldn’t help but think about the critics who initially shunned the film for being boring and pointless. What I see in the film is the revolutionary, one of a kind genius that was Steve Jobs during the rise of Apple. A man so unforgiving in his vision that he proved everyone, who ever doubted the method to his madness, wrong. Ashton Kutcher plays this role with ferocity, intensity, and dedication that deserves to be revisited and appreciated for years to come. He is playing the man who created our technological eco-system with a simple vision. That being technology becoming a true extension of the consumer. Every person in my life has some sort of device that is either an Apple product or a device most likely inspired by Jobs’ innovative perspective on technology and the customer. This film allowed me to appreciate the intricate details of Steve Jobs’ mind and approach my everyday devices with a new, profound respect rather than overlooking the privilege it is to own or use such innovative and useful technological devices provided to us by a revolutionary genius. Some consumers may simply use their devices as a phone, or a way to connect to social media and take photos, but what so many seem to have lost sight of is that Steve Jobs’ gave each one of us an extremely powerful super computer that can benefit you in ways people of the past could only dream of.
Revisiting Jobs felt important, like a duty to understand why the devices we store in our pockets are so beloved. The 2015 biopic Steve Jobs was directed by the legendary Danny Boyle and starred Michael Fassbender as the titular genius, also written by highly acclaimed writer, Aaron Sorkin. Steve Jobs was a fantastic film, there is no denying that. It captured three specific moments in Jobs’ life from 1984 to 1998. All of which were behind the scenes, real-time situations that took place before product unveilings. However, what the 2013 Steve Jobs biopic offers that the 2015 film does not is a detailed glimpse into the creation of Apple and the torture that Jobs’ was under in his own mind. If I were asked to choose to watch a film based on Jobs’ life, my decision would easily be the 2013 biopic starring the dedicated and inspired Ashton Kutcher. The film feels almost forgotten in a time where Apple is still arguably the front runner in a seemingly never ending innovative industry we’ve all come to rely on every day for entertainment, art, design and communication. I believe that Jobs deserves to be rewatched, revisited, and re-analyzed due to Ashton Kutcher’s underrated, emotional and extremely dedicated performance.
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