updated 12:21 am EST, Wed November 27, 2013
Movie drew mixed reviews, but was first in race to capture Jobs on film
Following its national theatrical debut in August, the independent biopic Jobs, starring Ashton Kutcher in the title role of Apple's mercurial co-founder, is now available for sale on DVD and digital formats in stores and online, including Apple's own iTunes. The film, the first full-length theatrical movie to profile Jobs following his death in October 2011, received mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike, but was notable for Kutcher's strong resemblance to Jobs.
The film, which is also available from Amazon for rent or sale, covered Jobs' life from just before he and Steve Wozniak founded the computer firm to the introduction of the iPod in 2001, which went on to help redefine the company as more than just a personal computer and software maker. Critics and Jobs' fans tended to be harder on the film than the general public; Rotten Tomatoes has a critic ranking of 26 percent and an audience ranking of 43 percent.
Both tended to judge Kutcher's performance as above-average for the actor, in part due to the obvious admiration Kutcher had for Jobs in real life (apart from his at times uncanny physical resemblance). Overall, however, the film was seen to have been let down by its budget, its tendency to truncate and amalgamate highlights rather than get in-depth, and its focus on Apple the business rather than Steve Jobs, the man. As with the earlier Pirates of Silicon Valley, Jobs' accomplishments and methods tended to overshadow any insight into how he became the often-emotional and sometimes-cruel genius and visionary that brought out the best in so many others and was responsible for many of the core inventions of 21st-century life.
Another biopic is still in the works, a larger-budget Sony Studios production being scripted by Aaron Sorkin, who penned The Social Network movie about Facebook's genesis. Sorkin has said that the framing device of his movie, which is not expected out for quite some time, will focus on three "backstage" moments (and presumably related flashbacks) just before the debut of the original Mac, the NeXT computer, and the iPod. No casting for the project has yet been announced.
Jobs also boasted a cast of familiar faces playing historic characters in Apple's founding, including Law & Order star J.K. Simmons as early investor Arthur Rock, Book of Mormon star Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak, Dermot Mulroney as co-partner Mike Markkula, Lucas Haas as early employee and Jobs' college friend Daniel Kottke, and Matthew Modine as John Sculley among others. The real Wozniak complained about the time-compression and composite scenes in the film, saying that some key events bore no resemblance to what actually happened, but later softened his criticism somewhat -- he had made similar complaints about Pirates of Silicon Valley back in the 90s -- but said that Jobs portrayed Jobs as much more fully-developed as the man he would eventually become at a much younger point in his life.
The movie is available for rental on iTunes for $5 (HD) or $4 (SD) and sells for $20 (HD) or $15 (SD).