I give it 3 out of 5 stars. It was entertaining and captured my emotions, but it wasn’t what I wanted from a movie about Steve Jobs. My rating of the first 90 minutes is a 2 out of 5, but the last 30 minutes is a strong 4.
What I wanted was a historical biography about computers and the greatest visionary of the Information Age. What I got was a drama about karma and corporate greed. I don’t think Steve Jobs was portrayed in a way that did him Justice. They make him look like a crazy person who just got lucky with the Apple I & II.
The movie shows how the board of directors stifles his genius when they should just let him fail and then strive to do better. He hit a home run with the Apple II, but the suits wouldn’t let him finish batting for the Lisa, and they sent in a pinch runner for the Macintosh. He made those projects too bloated and expensive, but he didn’t get to feel the effects of his mistakes because he was too angry over losing control. Just goes to show how boardrooms ruin art!
I was disappointed that Bill Gates was only mentioned once in the film during a meltdown of a phone call. They made no focus on PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), Xerox, or the Graphical User Interface. Microsoft was only a fleeting thought. Towards the end, the film briefly shows NeXT Computers, but made no mention of Pixar–which is my favorite Jobs project.
I did not like how the film strives so hard to portray the standard “Hero’s Journey.” The basic formula of rise, fall, and redemption doesn’t do the man justice because his life was more than that. Even the cinematic lighting made it over obvious. The first 90 minutes were often dark, grungy, and gritty with uncomfortable cramped rooms while the last 30 minutes had a lot of bright ethereal lighting with gardens and open spaces.
I liked how the film focuses on the process of creativity and making art. Apple was different in that they weren’t building computers, they were making art. I like what Steve said to some designers his first day back at Apple when he told them to stop whatever they were working on and, “Create something, something useful, something you care about.”
I would probably watch the movie again, but it really made me want to re-watch Pirates of Silicone Valley.