• Mon, Jan 2 2012

The Upside Down Trailer Is Dizzying And Lovely, If A Bit Exhausting

Update: As you can see, the video above got yanked, presumably by the studio. But not to worry, we’ve got a shiny new version of the same trailer here!

The day that you (or at least I) have been waiting excitedly for is here: Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for Upside Down, the story of star-crossed lovers Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst, who live in worlds whose gravity is inverted so that they lay on top of each other. And judging from the trailer… this movie is gonna be something else.

In many ways it resembles Fox’s In Time, which starred Justin Timberlake as a poor man who gets a windfall of years (time = money in that world) and learns how the rich live. Jim’s character Adam is similarly a plebeian, part of the “Down Below” world whose citizens are obviously second-class to those in the more affluent “Up Above” world, including Kirsten Dunst’s Eve.

For such a high-concept movie, the trailer’s visuals do not disappoint at all. My only worry is that the story itself will be too much for audiences to wrap their minds around. Even I had some trouble following along with the story, and I grew up on convoluted dystopian fiction. I will gladly tackle a mind-bender like The Prestige or Inception, but after watching just the trailer I’m anxious that Upside Down will prove to be alienating to many of its viewers.

Here’s what I could figure out:

  • All the Down Below people seem to be the employees, with Up Above citizens the employers; note the uniforms and the way one looks up at the other.
  • The two worlds aren’t supposed to interact, but it’s possible to talk to other people at points like on the tip of a mountain, the way Adam and Eve do. (Interestingly, he calls her “Eden” in the trailer, so maybe IMDb has the character name wrong.)
  • There’s an ongoing “border patrol” plotline that could be a metaphor for either the U.S.’s problems with immigrants or the Occupy Wall Street/99% movement.
  • Adam finds a way to infiltrate the Up Above world, but it’s unclear if it’s as simple as sneaking in (like in In Time) or if he has to physically weight himself down so that he doesn’t go floating back into his own world.

Upside Down comes to theaters sometime in 2012; hopefully by then Warner Bros. will have released more trailers or some sort of alternate-reality game to help establish the rules of these opposing futuristic worlds. And the most important question—will Upside Down have as many gravity-related puns as In Time did time puns?

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