Steve Jobs – Blu-ray Review

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Those familiar with Aaron Sorkin will definitely recognize his usual tropes in Steve Jobs. It’s filled with Sorkin’s witty lines and snappy, rapid-fire dialogue that is all brought together with Danny Boyle’s stylistic and fast-paced direction. Yet as intriguing as that sounds, Steve Jobs still feels a little flat.

Sorkin, who scripted the more dramatically engaging The Social Network, his characters in Steve Jobs hurry along room-to-room blazingly firing one-liners at each other. After a while, it tends to become a bit cumbersome. Especially since the film’s three-act storyline is essentially the same. Each act takes place backstage right before the three biggest presentations of his life: 1984’s Macintosh, 1988’s NeXT Cube, and 1998’s iMac. Each act goes through the cycle of talking to the same group of individuals. By the third act, Jobs’ personal conflicts will begin to feel repetitive.

The film is actually at its best when it focuses on Steve’s failures as a father. The single overarching storyline throughout the three-act film is Steve’s relationship with his daughter, Lisa. It’s kind of touching to see Jobs’ growth as a father throughout the three acts.

Although he may not look like Steve Jobs, Michael Fassbender offers a captivating performance as the Apple’s iconic founder. Kate Winslet also provides a solid performance as Job’s exasperated confidant, Joanna Hoffman. Although her Polish accent comes and goes, she has a warm friendly relationship with Fassbender. The rest of the cast delivers fine performances, especially the three various incarnations of Lisa.

Overall, Steve Jobs is an unconventional biopic that never attempts to sanctify its subject matter. It’s a smart film led by strong performances by the entire cast. However, its repetitive three-act structure will feel laborious after a while.

Movie rating: 3.5/5 atoms
NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

Video
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Steve Jobs is presented in a 1080P MPEG-4 AVC encoded video with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Although Steve Jobs is presented in 1080p, each act is filmed with a film source that reflects the time period that the act takes place in. The first act is filmed in 16mm, the second act is filmed in 35mm, and the third act is filmed digitally. So it’s worth noting that because of this visual choice that video won’t be as pristine as you’ve come to expect from a Blu-ray. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The visuals that you see are what Danny Boyle envisioned.

With that said, the contrast is strong and stable throughout. The black levels are deep without any loss of shadow detail, even within the 16mm source. The video’s details are clear particularly as the film works its way towards the digital era. The colors are a bit muted in the 16mm section but become more robust as the film moves from shifts from source to source. The video presentation handles each unique visual experience very well.

Video rating: 5/5 atoms
NR-5-Atoms-A

Audio
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Steve Jobs is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround audio track. For such a dialogue-heavy film, the audio presentation is much more immersive than your average dialogue-heavy film. The sound design has to be energetic because this is, after all, a Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin film. The audio is in a constant state of flux and is quite pleasing to hear. With each act taking place during the hectic moments before a product presentation, there are little nuances coming from every channel are surprisingly precise. The crystal clear dialogue promptly pans from one channel to the other as the characters quickly move around the frame. The subwoofer also gets in on the action providing heavy, rolling bass when called upon. The audio presentation is as top tier as the video presentation.

Audio rating: 5/5 atoms
NR-5-Atoms-A

Special features
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Steve Jobs‘s Blu-ray contains the following special features:

  • Inside Jobs: The Making of Steve Jobs
  • Audio Commentary with Director Danny Boyle
  • Audio Commentary with Writer Aaron Sorkin and Editor Elliot Graham

The Blu-ray comes with a three-part look at the making of the film. Much like the film, the featurette is energetic alternating between behind-the-scenes footage and talking-head interviews. It’s a pretty thorough featurette. In addition, there are two audio commentaries, one with Danny Boyle and other with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and editor Elliot Graham. Both commentaries cover a plethora of topics that delve into the various stages of production. Sorkin and Graham’s commentaries offer useful insights while Boyle’s commentary shows his enthusiasm for the film’s development. All in all, it’s a pretty satisfactory set of special features.

Special Features rating: 4/5 atoms
NR 4 Atoms - B


Overall, Steve Jobs is a stylishly dynamic film that would make the late Steve Jobs proud. The film is backed by the phenomenal performances by its cast but don’t come in expecting a typical “cradle to the grave” biopic. This isn’t that at all. The video presentation is top-notch despite the various film source used for the film. The dynamic audio presentation is a joy to listen to as well. Although on paper, the special features may look like it’s lacking, but the featurettes provided offer enough insight to quench any film aficionado’s thirst.

Overall rating: 4.5/5 atoms
NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

About author

Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1271 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.

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