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Steve Jobs: The Man, the Myth, the Legends

Updated on February 21, 2016

Steve Jobs

The man who created the future
The man who created the future | Source

Credits

Steve Jobs: “PG-13“ (2 h. 2 min.)

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg

Directed by: Danny Boyle

The Future is Now

It is probably safe to say there is no individual in the 20th century whose name is more synonymous with technology to the masses than Steve Jobs (Fassbender), the man who gave us the Apple, the Mac, the iPod, and the iPhone. He was a legendary, iconic figure of epic proportions who, as a technological visionary, lead the world into what Apple CEO once described as the most tectonic shift in the status quo since...(ever). To be sure, in addition to being a visionary, Jobs was also a very controversial figure galvanizing people to pledge fierce loyalty or shun him — there was virtually no middle ground. This film focuses on three product launches overseen by Jobs over a number of years, and how his relationship with those around him (especially that of his daughter, Lisa) were affected by Jobs own actions.

Steve Jobs Blu-ray

Steve Jobs [Blu-ray]
Steve Jobs [Blu-ray]

Directed by Academy Award winner Danny Boyle and written by Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs paints an intimate portrait of the brilliant man.

 

The Rise of the Mac

As we see in the film, Jobs, as the iconic name and face of Apple Computers, a company he co-founded with Steve Wozniak (Rogen), always wants to be in control, in large part an outcome of his childhood, where he knew his biological mother willingly gave him up for adoption. That control often places him at odds with those around him, about which he doesn’t care as long as he gets what he wants at the end, including a closed-end computer system for each of his products to maintain his personal vision of what they should be or do, rather than allowing users to be able to transform his products for their own wants.

Steve Jobs Trailer

The Life and Times of Steve Jobs

The film presents the state of Job’s life at three very specific times; the first, in 1984, on the day Apple is preparing to launch the Macintosh computer. The next launch is in 1988 for the NeXT computer (after Jobs had very publically left Apple), and the third time in 1998 for the launch of iMac computer. The launches are all similar in presentation, but as the years have passed between each one, we see how the intervening time has affected both Jobs as well as those around him, especially his daughter.

The Two Steves

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak | Source

Three product Launches

As each of these three different products occurred, we are presented with the various people intersecting Jobs’ life as he brings each of these products to market. Always having a longer view of what he wants than the immediate, Jobs is clearly playing a larger game here and for each of these product launches he secretly has a specific end-goal in mind. At each event the significant people in Jobs’ life are also presented at each of the three launches, including appearances by both the other Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, and John Sculley (Daniels), Apple’s CEO. Now Wozniak has always seen himself more as the nuts and bolts man of the duo as compared to Jobs who was always more of the big picture man. For all three of the launches Woz wants Jobs to focus more (or more specifically some) attention on Apple’s successful brand (the Apple II) which Jobs consistently refuses as he sees that as looking backwards as opposed to looking forward. We also see Sculley and Jobs repeatedly clash over Jobs’ handling of the company and its products.

Backstage at the launch

Backstage at the launch
Backstage at the launch | Source

It's all about the People

Two other individuals who looms large in these encounters is Joanna Hoffman, Jobs’ head of marketing for each of the three launches — and who acted as a combination of surrogate mother/wife/Girl Friday figure as well as his moral center who keeps pushing him to reconcile with his daughter, and Andy Hertzfeld, who is chief engineer for the Mac and who strives to meet Jobs’ every whim for each product, even if he believes that it can’t be done. Finally, there is Lisa Brennan, who the courts decreed to be his biological daughter — a claim which Jobs repeatedly attempted to deny apparently in order, simply to spite Lisa’s mother, Chrisann Brennans (Winslet).

Getting ready

Preparing for the event
Preparing for the event | Source

The Digital Past

Reflecting on the contents of this film as someone who was peripherally involved in the fledgling personal computer industry at the time (we were the managing editor of a pair of magazines, one promoting videogames and a second revolving around the Commodore-64), we recall watching much of the action of the film (although from the outside looking in) and thus, to see it all transpire once again, it was interesting to get a bit of perspective on the events of those heady times. Hence, to us, we found the film to be essentially accurate to the spirit (if not the actual events) of the times (there has been some talk of the artistic license that screenwriter Aaron Sorkin took with the history to sculpt it into a cinematic depiction).

Dealing with the Past

Dealing with the mother of his child
Dealing with the mother of his child | Source

Steve Jobs: the book

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.

 

The Legacy of Jobs

Still, while the film was compelling and quite watchable, there are going to be those who throw shade at both Jobs — for being who he was — and Sorkin — for not having the undying reverence towards Jobs that many of his acolytes have displayed over the years. To those we have this to say. It’s a tool, not a religion. And to revere the man without taking into account his very human foibles is to ultimately do him a discredit. Steve Jobs was many things and rightly or wrongly he will be considered an icon of modern technology, even though — in the words of the cinematic Woz:

Steve Wozniak

“You can't write code...you're not an engineer...you're not a designer...you can't put a hammer to a nail. I built the circuit board. The graphical interface was stolen from Xerox Parc. Jef Raskin was the leader of the Mac team before you threw him off his own project! Someone else designed the box! So how come 10 times in a day, I read Steve Jobs is a genius? What do you do?"

The characters speak

“You can't write code...you're not an engineer...you're not a designer...you can't put a hammer to a nail. I built the circuit board. The graphical interface was stolen from Xerox Parc. Jef Raskin was the leader of the Mac team before you threw him off his own project! Someone else designed the box! So how come 10 times in a day, I read Steve Jobs is a genius? What do you do?"

To which the cinematic Jobs responded “I play the orchestra.”

Jobs vs.Ritchie vs. Gates

Jobs vs.Ritchie
Jobs vs.Ritchie | Source
Jobs vs.Gates
Jobs vs.Gates | Source

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