Story: Jeff Bezos (Armando Gutierrez) has a vision for the future, one in which he has cashed in on one of the biggest rising trends, the internet. He is convinced that the internet can provide the ultimate bookstore, one that has every book and could be a one stop shop for readers, delivering books right to people’s front doors. He has been not just turned down, but laughed at for his internet bookstore concept, but he remains steadfast. He begins to push forward with his plan, but he knows it will involve great sacrifice and not just from him, but those around him. His partner and even his parents will need to prop Jeff up during this journey, if he hopes to have a chance at success. But with doubts over the internet and a competitive rival to contend with, can Bezos make his vision a reality?
Entertainment Value: You can tell the folks behind Bezos: The Beginning have an affinity for the Amazon founder, as he is given the royal treatment in this biopic. Bezos is presented as quite the kindly figure here, a far cry from the documented stories behind his rise to power. While The Greatest Showman veers even more from the truth than this one, this take on Bezos is such a slice of hero worship, it plays like satire at times. The story sticks close to the real life events at a core level, in regard to some basics around how Amazon was founded, but this has been polished to reflect the filmmakers’ desire to give Bezos a brighter shine than perhaps he deserves. So if you want a gritty, curtain pulled back take on how Bezos founded Amazon, this isn’t going to deliver on that, but it does entertain from time to time. The boot polishing is obvious, but doesn’t often turn into camp or go over the top, with the exception of the Barnes & Noble sequences. Those prove to be the highlights of the movie and I wish the rest of the film carried that sense of humor, instead of an overly warm look at Bezos. Even so, this is fairly brisk and watchable, so if you’re interested, this is worth a look.
Those Barnes & Noble scenes that steal the show are hilarious, thanks to an outlandish performance from Kevin Sorbo, who really takes this material seriously. You would think Sorbo was playing a Bond villain, as he plays the bookstore’s CEO with manic glee, going way over the top. I loved this performance, as it is so hilarious to watch, especially when placed among more grounded, basic type turns. His effort stands out like a sore thumb and seeing him interact with his much more toned down costars is indeed a pleasure. Of course, if you prefer the more muted approach taken by the rest of the cast, then you might be put off by how outrageous Sorbo is here, but I thought it was quite memorable. I also think playing the rival CEO as a sadistic, unhinged lunatic works for the movie’s heroic view on Bezos, since Sorbo gives us that foil to make Bezos look angelic. Armando Gutierrez is fine as Bezos, but doesn’t look a lot like the Amazon kingpin beyond the chrome dome, while his performance overall doesn’t do much to conjure Bezos either. The cast also includes Emilio Estefan, Jr., Eliana Ghen, Marcus Lemonis, Alex Mitchell, and UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal.
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