Upside Down (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 17-Jul-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Featurette-Making Of-Making of Upside Down (26:58), HD mixed ratios.
Interviews-Cast & Crew-The two stars plus set designer (13:13) HD / 1.78:1
Theatrical Trailer-HD 2.40:1 (2:11)
Theatrical Trailer-Vehicle 19 (2:09) 1.85:1/HD
Theatrical Trailer-The Awakening (2:37) 2.40:1/HD
Theatrical Trailer-Melancholia (2:09) 2.40:1/HD
Theatrical Trailer-Your Sister's Sister (2:30) 1.85:1/HD
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 107:41
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Juan Solanas
Upside Down Films
Icon Entertainment
Starring Juan Solanas
Kirsten Dunst
Jim Sturgess
Timothy Spall
Jayne Heitmeyer
Neil Napier
Blu Mankuma
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $34.95 Music Benoît Charest
Mark Isham

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Narration from first second.

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Plot Synopsis

     The trailer for Upside Down is an eye-boggling wonder in which audiences are promised wondrous visions and a love story filled with passion and romance. This French-Canadian production, with screenplay and direction from Argentinian-French Juan Solanos, is a decidedly imaginative work which does deliver an often gorgeous surface, a world of imagination fit to frame a story of romance and flights of sci-fi fantasy. What we find, however, is a pretty basic love story, a story of two lovers who are not really interesting enough to warrant the intricate, imaginative world that Solanos has designed for them.

     These two lovers come from "two different worlds" - literally. What we have basically is Romeo and Juliet, or Tony and Maria - Shakespeare or Bernstein/Sondheim, you choose - but these star-crossed lovers are not separated by family feuds or urban racial tensions. This time it is physically two different worlds, or twin planets. In a rather laborious five minute voice-over prologue, Adam (Jim Sturgess) establishes the existence of two neighbouring planets, each with its own gravitational pull. These planets are so close that the mountains of one almost touch those of the other. One planet is a grimy ghetto, the workers serving the elite of the other planet. As a boy, Adam, while walking in the mountain peaks of ghettoland glimpses a girl above - or is it below? - him on the neighbouring planet. This is Eden - when she is grown up she become Kirsten Dunst. Adam devises means whereby Eden can climb down/up to his planet and the two frolic and fall in love. Eventually Adam thinks Eden has been killed, but ten years later finds that she is working in the tower of the Transworld conglomerate, the building actually connecting the two planets. In this tower there is a floor "Zero" which has desks from one world on the "floor" and desks from the other world on the "ceiling". (These upside-down visuals are amusing at first, but I found them to be ultimately annoying.) Adam has created a miraculous beauty cream and uses that invention to approach Transworld in a strategy to reunite with Eden. The two lovers are pursued by authorities who are intent on ending this illicit union of the two societies. Will the outcome for the lovers be tragic, as in Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story, or will true love overcome all odds? All is rather abruptly answered at the film's close.

     The physical conception of this film is undoubtedly imaginative, if not inspired. There are moments of execution that are visually lyrical and exhilarating. One scene in which Adam plunges Icarus-like into the water in one world, and then bursts out of the waters in the other, stays in the mind's eye. Logic is suspended and the visuals soar. Sadly, though, little is actually made of this dichotomised world that could be such a fruitful basis for comments on society and class. All that we get is a very pallid love story, and a resolution that is so rushed it seems like the makers just ran out of script and money. The lovers are a physically attractive pair, actors who have separately been more than impressive in other roles. Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe) brings a dishevelled warmth to his role, while Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia) has her usual ethereal charm, but not much else. There are no sparks between these two lovers, unlike the sparks between Miss Dunst and her previous upside-down boyfriend, Tobey (Spidey) Maguire. (Maybe that Spiderman kiss was Solanos' inspiration for this film!!) Timothy Spall fares best as a sympathetic Transworld worker who assists Adam and Eden, although his American accent is far from convincing. What will remain with you are the visuals that are amongst the most beautiful seen for many years. This is a disc that I will be getting out when I want to show off my system. It is a stunner.

     There is a lot to enjoy here, with the visuals truly jaw-dropping for the first half hour. It's a pity that the love story is totally swamped by the setting, and opportunities for social and political comment are wasted.

     In the United States, Upside Down is also available in 3D, with the choice between a 3D/2D/DVD Combo or a single disc 3D/2D release.

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Transfer Quality


     Upside Down is a luscious visual experience.

     The film is presented at the aspect ratio of 2.40:1 its original theatrical ratio.

     How much credit is due to cinematographer Pierre Gill is beyond me. There must be so much technical wizardry behind each frame of a film such as this, and all I can do is look at what is on the screen and admire in awe. Although there is the occasional blemish, primarily a little vertical aliasing, visually the film is an engrossing, gorgeous experience, whether it is vistas of Adam's disintegrating world, pristine landscapes or the sterile bureaucracy of Transworld. The colour spectrum is strictly limited, with a bluish black predominance in many scenes. Within these parameters the colour is lush and rich, and skin tones excellent. Detail is exemplary, whether in open panoramas or the stubble on Jim Sturgess's chin. Blacks are deep and black and the detail in almost every frame is stunning. This is a disc I will be using to demonstrate the wonders of high definition.

     There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     There is one audio stream, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.

     The DTS 5.1 soundtrack delivers the basically front and centred dialogue with superb clarity. There is a small amount of movement across the fronts, but the surrounds are used to provide a totally immersive experience. Wind, rain, the drone of mechanisation and the clatter of bureaucracy, all surround us, with the occasional highlight providing some aural surprises. Integrated into the mix is the score from Benoit Charest (The Triplets of Belleville), supplemented by some contributions from Mark Isham, all reproduced in beautiful, rich quality surround. The music ranges from the electronic to the more traditionally symphonic, with plenty of opportunity for solid subwoofer contributions. Though not as impressive as the visuals, the audio side of this release is rich and very satisfying.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     The extra features are a little light on, with quite a difference from those offered on the U.S. release.


     The menu is presented below a widescreen montage of scenes from the film, all accompanied by music from the score.

Featurette : Behind the Scenes (26:58)

     This is a better than most making-of featurette, all in high-definition with scenes from the film at 2.40:1 and 1.78:1 interview footage from Dunst, Sturgess and Spall, as well as the director (subtitled), the producer, the stunt co-ordinator, director of photography, and the composer. (Note that the subtitle translation at one stage refers to Jim Sturgess as "Tim".) The footage of the stars working on wires and in front of green screens is amongst the most revealing and interesting I've seen. Much time is taken discussing working with the complexities of the two worlds, and there is the usual expected back-slapping. The detail regarding the rotating set used so effectively in the film is interesting, though acknowledgement of Fred Astaire's use of the same technique in 1951's Royal Wedding, enabling him to apparently dance on the ceiling, would have been appreciated. Still as far as these things go, this is one of the most enjoyable, mainly due to the natural charm of Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess. Evidently the project was inspired by a dream of the director's, and it was three and a half years from dream to shoot. I wonder if the dream came after seeing the lovely Kirsten's sexy upside-down kiss in Spider-Man.

Extended Interviews (13:13)

     Kirsten Dunst (5:20) , Jim Sturgess (5:15) and set designer Alex McDowell (2:38) with the same material used in the above featurette. There are title cards presenting each question prior to the appropriate response.

Theatrical Trailer (2:11)

     This beautiful looking trailer sure sells the film, but might leave those who paid their admission a little let down. Presented in splendid high definition and at the 2.40:1 ratio, with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.

Madman Propaganda : Theatrical Trailers (9:25)

     Vehicle 19 (2:09) : Paul Walker vehicle, 1080p and 1.85:1, The Awakening (2:37) : Dominic West and a spooky English boys' school, 1080p and 2.40:1, Melancholia (2:09) : Kirsten Dunst in Lars Von Trier's fascinating work, 1080p and 2.40:1, Your Sister's Sister (2:30) : The wonderful Emily Blunt in a truly adult comedy, 1080p and 1.85:1.


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R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There are a few differences in the extras provided on the two releases. The Australian Blu-ray release misses out on:


     Undoubtedly a film that is absolutely wondrous to behold, beneath the imaginative physical world here created in such beautiful detail there lies a rather hollow love story that is really quite mundane. It is not the fault of the two young stars, both having proven themselves capable of great depth and warmth in other roles. These young lovers are swamped by the cleverness of it all, and it ultimately becomes tiring twisting your head to get a good look at things. Still the high definition disc could hardly look any better. Enjoy the visuals, but don't expect any great love story - or comment on society. Extras are limited, but quite enjoyable.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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