It’s all too easily to come out swinging at Upside Down. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that the story does hold a lot of potential. The issues the film faces, and never really overcomes, are two-fold: firstly, the film starts with a long, overly-storybook, poorly-delivered voice over explaining the rules of the solar system wherein the story takes place. This type of exposition can be overcome but when you feel like you’ll be tested on rules and plot points at the end it’s the wrong foot to start on. Second, whether or not the science fiction element of the tale is hokey becomes irrelevant because, and it is honest about this at least, it’s perhaps one the most over-fenestrated love stories yet told.
The science fiction aspect makes shallow, general observations that could apply to any place or time, and they are not the point, which makes the façade quasi-farcical and cumbersome. There are some clever things that occur as the story progresses, which owe their debt to rules-establishing, but it’s little more than smoke and mirrors.
It’s a creative film visually, but it’s the same story that’s been told countless times on fancy, colorful stationery; thus it’s a highly redundant experience of little value save for the superficial.