Steve Jobs was a lot of things to a lot of people. As a loyal Apple user I wanted to understand this enigma of a man. I wanted to spend 2 hours understanding his genius, contemplating his philosophy, comprehending his demons. Unfortunately, the screenwriter failed to bring me this side of the story. I can't even call it a story because there was none. Jobs suffers from a debilitating lack of character motivation. The writer never bothered to answer the question "Why?" in any of the scenes and scenarios of a recent history we're all expected to know. The movie presented itself like a glossy visual PowerPoint with bullet points as the dialogue.
Take the beginning. There are three of them. We fade from black to see Steve Jobs introducing the device that did in fact revolutionize society as we know it: the iPod. This fantastic scene never, ever, comes back into the 2 hour story. Then there's a scene with Steve bare-footing around Reed college where he's dropped out but still goes to philosophy and calligraphy class and gives freelove to random co-eds never hiding the fact that he has a girlfriend. If you know some of Jobs' story, you know that calligraphy inspired him in the digital world, but that point never comes up again in the 2 hour story. And finally, there's a third attempt at exposition where we meet Woz, Steve's right hand man. Woz helps Steve solve an engineering problem and the two decide to build a personal computer for the everyday man or woman. This is really where the story starts. But by then I was already wary.
The problem is, from there until 2 hours later, the movie becomes a documentary about the evolution of early Apple products. We see the Apple, the Apple II, the Lisa, the Macintosh. We hear a lot of technical jargon that went right over my head so I couldn't appreciate the complexity and beauty of what was doin' on the screen. I think the writer didn't consider that lay people outside of Cupertino, CA were coming to see this movie. There were too many facts and not close to enough emotion or connecting drama.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had a Kirk and Spock type of relationship where they fueled each other to explore brave, new worlds where no one even dared dream were possible. There are attempts -brittle attempts- at exploring this relationship. But it fell so short. Watching the scenes between Ashton Kutcher's Jobs and Josh Gad's Woz you feel them delivering a performance that makes you lean forward. There are these pregnant pauses, these deep, penetrating glances and glares, these witty battles of wits between the two actors. But they just weren't given the words to say.
The same can be said for every character that revolved around Jobs from the rest of the founders of Apple who were cheated of their company bonds after bleeding in the Jobs' family garage to Jobs' issues with his adoption and his own absentee parenting which they glanced over. All of the elements of a great story were there. But the writer never went there.