DVD Review: Fantasy's visuals outshine a lame premise in 'Upside Down'

I don't know how I missed "Upside Down" when it was released theatrically in March. The plot of Juan Solanas's simultaneously beautiful and stupid fantasy film includes both amnesia and a speculative "what if" reality — both of which are among my three favorite story contrivances.

The basic premise is that, above the earth (or an Earth-like world) there is a mirror planet. Each exerts its own gravity so that each sees the other as upside down. Of course, the same would be true for people in Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro ... if they were in a position to see each other. In "Upside Down," the two worlds seem to be consistently about a mile or two from each other, which — barring some kind of super-non-Euclidean geometry — would mean that they're flat discs.

You don't need an advanced degree to understand the premise. In fact, you need not to have one to ignore the multitude of absurdities in this setup's dynamics. This is decidedly fantasy, not science fiction. And, anyway, you're supposed to be concentrating on the love story between an Up side girl (Kirsten Dunst) and a Down side boy (Jim Sturgess).

That story — which bears a lot of resemblance to "Peter Ibbetson," if anyone remembers the latter — isn't as effective as it might have been. But the film is largely redeemed by the gorgeous visuals, which are a blend of M.C. Escher, Rene Magritte and James Cameron. The 2D Blu-ray presents these images dazzlingly.

The extras include about 45 minutes of interviews, making-of info, deleted scenes, storyboard/film comparisons, and computer pre-visualizations of a few scenes.

"Upside Down" (Millennium Entertainment, Blu-ray/3D Blu-ray/DVD combo, two discs, $34.99; Blu-ray/3D Blu-ray, $29.99; DVD, $28.99)


ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on "FilmWeek" on KPCC-FM (89.3).

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