Sore over Sorkin’s biopic? Steve Jobs tribute cartoon will make you smile

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Steven Jobs and the introduction of the iMac.
Steven Jobs and the introduction of the iMac.
Photo: QuartSoft

So maybe fans and friends of Steve Jobs think the Aaron Sorkin film was a bit of a hatchet job on the late mercurial genius who started Apple.

An IT company in the Ukraine called QuartSoft released an animated biography of Jobs this week as a way to thank him “for letting us enjoy the perfection of the products you created.”

The black-and-white cartoon timeline runs just under 19 minutes and depicts the key moments in his life, from birth to death and, of course, the evolution of Apple and the products in between. People important to Jobs – all created with heads larger than their bodies – are present, from Steve Wozniak and Bill Fernandez to Bill Gates and Jony Ive.

The animated biography took three months to complete and is a glowing tribute to Jobs, who died in 2011, It glosses over the difficult parts of his personality. But a companion blog on the QuartSoft website fleshes out the story a bit.

“Lots of brilliant minds have been criticized and unappreciated by the general public because of their personality . . . but the fruits of the work make us stand in awe of their talent, intellect, flair, and charisma,” said Dmitriy Nesterov, who works in marketing at QuartSoft and authored the blog. “Yes, Steve Jobs used to be a jerk sometimes. But he was a genius jerk. He seems to be such a genius that Apple employees he treated so harshly are even thankful for his assholeness today because it had helped them push all the limits of the computer world they re-invented.”

A viewer may want to watch the short twice. While important events appear, there is also a timeline running below that explains other key events going on at that same time. The animators call this feature “The Meanwhile Bar” and it shows important moments in technology, game-changing OS updates and key hires made by Apple.

Steve Jobs and the team that worked on the Macintosh.
Steve Jobs and the team that worked on the Macintosh.
Photo: QuartSoft

Some of my favorite scenes are of less-mentioned moments in the life of Jobs, including his taking a calligraphy class at Reed College in Portland with a pop-up quote by Jobs saying if he had not taken the class, the Apple computers may not have had a variety of typefaces.

The animation, created by Nesterov and illustrator Helen Stoyka, gave reverential treatment to little details pulled right from Walter Isaacson’s biography, like Jobs’ head being clean-shaven when he went to India on a spiritual retreat and him in bare feet when he negotiated with Paul Terrell of The Byte Shop to sell the first Apple computer.

“I think animation can let people imagine something that has never been shown on film,” Nesterov told Cult of Mac. “Steve Jobs has become an embodiment of (the) American dream when a simple guy can change the world armed with only his talents and surrounded with free people united with the same idea.”

Keep in mind cartoons can be, well, cartoonish. It strikes what feels like off notes in trying to depict Jobs’ emotions after both his ouster from Apple and his cancer diagnosis. Also, prepare yourself for a somewhat jarring end to the cartoon.